High Decans ( Serbian. Visoki Decani , Visoki Dečani , unofficially also Decanska Lavra or High Decanski Lavra ) is a male monastery of the Serbian Orthodox Church of Prizren , located 12 km south of Pec at the foot of the Proklete Mountains in the western part of Kosovo.
|Diocese||Rash Prizren Diocese of the Serbian Orthodox Church|
|Founder||Stefan Urosh III|
|First mention||1327 year|
|Relics and Shrines||the relics of Stephen Dechansky, the great martyr Nikita|
|The abbot||Theodosius (Shibalich)|
The main Serbian Orthodox monastery in Kosovo. The main cathedral of the monastery is the largest medieval church in the Balkans , possessing the largest surviving collection of Byzantine frescoes .
The monastery was founded by King Stefan Dechansky in 1327 . The certificate of foundation is dated 1330 year . In 1331, King Stephen died and was buried in the walls of the monastery, which has since become a place of pilgrimage . Indeed, the epithet "Decansky" speaks of the king as the founder of the monastery. The construction was continued by his son Stefan Dushan until 1335 , and the wall painting was completed only by 1350 .
The epoch of the restoration of the Pech Patriarchate in the second half of the XVI century becomes the most favorable period in the history of the monastery. At this time and throughout the 17th century, the monastic sacristy , library and other monastic buildings were replenished with precious relics. Especially important in this period is the work of the monastic scribes who copied liturgical and theological books. During the "Great Serb Settlement" and the reign of Patriarch Arseny III Charnoevich, the Turks rob the monastery. Hard times are coming when the monastery barely managed to keep the number of its monastic brethren.
Prince Milos builds an auxiliary building of the monastery in 1836 , and Prince Alexander in 1849 gives the monastery the relics of the holy king Stephen Dechansky. During the XIX century all the monastic buildings were renovated.
The main cathedral is dedicated to the Almighty Savior (Pantocrator) and is made of purple, light yellow and black marble . The work was carried out by the builders under the authority of the Franciscan monk Vita from Kotor . It differs from other Serbian temples of that time with its impressive size and noticeable Romanesque features. The church of Pantokrator has a complex structure - it is 5-nephal in the central part and 3-nephal in the vestibule of the basilica. Combining the features of the basilica and the cross-domed church, the church is distinguished by its slender, harmonious proportions, richness of decorative furniture (two-colored rows of polished marble on the facades, white marble reliefs with lush patterns).
In the interior of the church are about 1000 images of individual saints, all the main subjects of the New Testament , frescoes with portraits of kings from the Nemanichi clan (XIV century). In the monastery's sacristy there are also works of Serbian jewelry art, about 60 icons of the XIV-XVII centuries. (the richest collection of icons in Serbia), there is a wooden iconostasis of the XIV century , the throne of the hegumen and the carved tomb of King Stephen III.
In 2004, the monastery was listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site . The frescoes of the monastery were characterized as "one of the most valuable exhibits of the Palaeologic Renaissance in Byzantine fine art" and "a valuable reflection of the life of the fourteenth century." In 2006, he was placed on the World Heritage List under threat due to possible attacks by Albanian militants . Protected by KFOR .
March 30, 2007 near the monastery there was an explosion. Bishop Theodosius, the abbot of the monastery, stated that the explosion is a consequence of mortar shelling  .
- Theodosius (Shibalich) (since October 22, 1992)
Stefan Dusan presents the model of the church to Jesus Christ
Reliquary with the particle of the Life-giving Cross
"Vine Nemanich" (pedigree tree Nemanjic )
- Monasteries of the Serbian Orthodox Church in Kosovo and Metohija