Zitomislic Monastery (Bosnia and Herzegovina)

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Zitomislic Monastery is located near Mostar on the road to the southern border of Bosnia and Herzegovina. Its church is dedicated to the Annunciation of the Mother of God.

In 1566 the Ottoman authority granted the Miloradovic Hraben family a permit to build Monastery at Zitomislic over the ruins of an ancient Serbian church. The monastery took more than forty years to complete with the first reference to monks at Zitomislic in 1606. The monastery boasted a highly artistic iconostasis, and housed a scriptorium of considerable activity and renown in its time. At the height of its existence the monastery was supported by large land holdings worked by the monks themselves.

Early in the 19th century, the prior Simeon Miljkovic, took on improvements to the monastery that included guest quarters, local water, and a new vineyard. A seminary was opened in 1858.

On June 26, 1941 a detachment of Croat Ustashi tortured and killed the population of monastics at Zitomislic and threw their bodies into a pit. The buildings were plundered; the church was razed and the rest of the compound burnt to the ground. The monastery was rebuilt after the war and the bodies of the martyrs were exhumed and placed in a tomb.

In 1992 Zitomislic Monastery was intentionally destroyed by Croation Defence Union (HVO) militants as part of the ongoing warfare after the collapse of Yugoslavia. At that time the library contained dozens of old manuscripts from the 16th and 17th centuries including a small archive of Turkish documents. The treasury was plundered and the buildings, including the cemetery were dynamited and bulldozed to the ground. The stones were left where they fell, however, and when reconstruction of Zitomislic officially began in April of 2002 its prior architecture was meticulously reconstructed. In May of 2005 the regular session of the Holy Assembly of Bishops of the Serbian Orthodox Church began in the fully restored Zitomislic Monastery.

Zitomislic may also appear transliterated as Zitomislici and Zhitomislich, or with the Bosnian accents as Žitomislić and Žitomislići


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