Ermak Travel Guide

 

 

Ardenica Monastery

Ardenica Monastery

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Description of Ardenica Monastery

Ardenica Monastery

Ardenica Monastery was found in 1282 on the orders of Byzantine Emperor Andronikos II Palaiologos. The emperor recently defeated Capetian House of Anjou that ruled Sicily at the time during Siege of Berat (1280-81). To celebrate his victory and thank God Andronikos chose an ancient chapel of Holy Trinity that was erected on a site of an ancient pagan temple devoted to goddess Artemis. Some scholars suggested that the name "Ardenica" is a derivative of the name of Roman deity. Monastery held an important place in religious and political life of the country. It managed to gather a library of 32,000 books, much of these unfortunately were burned in a fire of 1932. Ardenica Monastery is still active and it is open to the public. It is common rule in the Orthodox monasteries to wear long pants for man and skirts for women.

 

 

 

 

Ardenica Monastery

Ardenica Monastery

Many of the frescoes are made by famous brothers Kostandin and Athanas Zografi in 1744.

 

 

History

Scholars claim that the Byzantine Emperor, Andronikos II Palaiologos started building the monastery in 1282 after the victory against the Angevins in the Siege of Berat. The chapel of Saint Trinity was already there, erected centuries before. A pagan temple, dedicated to Artemis had existed on the site before the chapel, and it is thought that the name of Ardenica stems from Artemis. The monastery site lies approximately 1 km from the Via Egnatia (a major 2nd century Roman road). On April 21, 1451 in this monastery was celebrated the marriage of George Kastrioti with Andronika Arianiti. The archbishop of Kanina, Felix said the mess in the wedding in the presence of all the Albanian princes, members of the League of Lezhë and the ambassadors of the Kingdom of Naples, Republic of Venice, and Republic of Ragusa. This is mentioned first by A. Lorenzoni in 1940.

One of the most important clerics of the monastery, Nektarios Terpos from Moscopole, wrote in 1731 a short prayer in the form of a fresco. The prayer is in four languages: Latin, Greek, Aromanian and Albanian in Greek alphabet. This fact is important because it is the first text in Albanian written in a Greek-orthodox church. The Albanian text reads (Albanian: Vigjin dhe mame e Perendis uro pren fajt orete). At the end the writing is signed Hieromonk - Nektarios Terpos the monk.

In 1743 me with the initiative of the Berat's archbishop, Methodius, who was originary of Bubullimë, Lushnjë District, western Albania, then Ottoman Empire, the monastery was renovated: the paintings from this period of the Zografi brothers pertain to this time.

Since 1780, in the Monastery existed a Greek school to prepare clerics. In 1817, the school became a high school, which had also a student house. From this school graduated the Bishop of Berat, Josif. During the Albanian National Awakening period the school became one of the places where the Albanian Language was taught.

An important cleric of the monastery was Father Mark, who was the priest to find the bones of Saint Cosmas of Aetolia, thrown in the Seman by the Turkish chevaliers.

The monastery had an exceptional library of 32,000 volumes that got completely burned by a fire in 1932.

By the late 1960s in this monastery spent the last days of his life the former primate of the Albanian Orthodox Church, Archbishop Irene Banushi. In 1967, when the atheist campaign in the People's Republic of Albania was in full swing, the monastery was saved from demolition due to the intervention of a local priest who stated that Skanderbeg was said to have been married there.

The monastery was closed for the public and for clerical duties in 1969 as the communist regime declared Albania an atheist state. The buildings and its surroundings were left in a state of decay for many years until 1988 when a partial reconstruction took place for tourism purposes. The Orthodox Autocephalous Church of Albania retook possession of the monastery in 1992 after the fall of the communist regime in Albania.

 

 

 


 

Transportation

 

 

Hotels, motels and where to sleep

 

 

Restaurant, taverns and where to eat

 

 

Cultural (and not so cultural) events

 

 

Interesting information and useful tips