DESCRIPTION OF MANASTIRIŠTE LOCALITY
Locality of Manastirište is situated in the center of agricultural complex of fields called Karanovac beneath Kozara. Located on the right bank of the river Lubina, remains of old architecture stand overgrown with forest. River borders the locality from west and north with a very potent spring of clear water found very near the remains. To the east of Manastirište creek Berek flows moating two early Slavic forts – Varošanka and Gradina.
Following news that the locality was damaged by agricultural mechanization, by the end of August of 2004 Homeland museum of Gradiška organized protective and initial explorations. During these exploration remains of walls in eastern part of the locality where unearthed. Walls made from stone were bonded with lime mortar and from technique of construction it was established they belonged to a building from Roman period. In the western part of the locality, foundations of a larger object were discovered and due to these results in 2005 systematic archeological research of these finds started. Exploration lasted for 60 days and in that time remains of roman buildings, Villa rustica and church built from stone, were found. Foundations of a wooden church were discovered north-east from the remains of the stone one. Given these are religious objects, church organization on contemporary area of north-west Bosnia will be explored.
MEDIEVAL CHURCH ORGANIZATION IN THIS AREA
Issue of church organization in area of medieval Bosnia is one of the hardest to answer. Problematic of church history, its organization and church centers in Bosnia from 9th until 13th will be theme for all explorers. Sources regarding this topic differentiate in origin and their interpretations differ with them, depending on certain interests, which usually are not scientific in nature. However, domestic (Serbian), Hungarian, Dubrovnik, Papal curia, Catholic Church and Franciscan order documents provide significant data on church organization in Serbian lands. During Turkish occupation, lack of Ottoman cadastral censuses (defter) makes creation of authentic picture on church organization in contemporary Bosnia and Herzegovina impossible. Interpretation of the mentioned Turkish sources performed after the WWII war by certain orientalists was extremely tendentious and in service of providing clearly defined religious, and more importantly, ethnic image of the medieval Bosnia.
For exploration of church organization on territory between Vrbas river in the east, Una in the west and south from river Sava very important data can be found in letter of Pope Gregory XI from 3rd February 1377 where he mentions city of Glaž. Medieval city of Glaž was located in zhupa Vrbas whose center was in city of “Sastrum Orbaszk” – Vrbas city, which was identified in locality named City of Maria Theresa in Gornji Podgradci.
Glaž is mentioned for the first time in written historical sources in 1285. According to research of Miloš Blagojević, zhupa Glaž was formed partially from zhupa Vrbas, area east from the river Jurkovica and Osorna until Vrbas, and from area from Sava until small river Crkvena in the south, where it bordered with zhupa Zemunik. Papal letter mentions church organization in the area including locality Manastirište.
In his letter, Gregory says that in “areas of Bosnia, almost exclusively inhabit schismatics and heretics, expect those which were, by grace of God, converted…likewise, on the borders of Bosnia towards Hungary, and in place called Glaž and many other places, Christians, schismatics and heretics live mixed; these places have already set up parishes with parochial priests being distant two or three days.” Interesting to note is that in earlier correspondence of Papal curia, dating from 1187 to 1238, Bosnia, which belonged to jurisdiction of Dubrovnik Archbishopric, is referred to as “kingdom of Serbia, which is Bosnia” (regnum Servilie, quod est Bosna).
From this papal correspondence we can see that area of Bosnia was Orthodox all until the half of XIII century and was still dominantly Orthodox by the end of the XIV century. Veracity of this view is confirmed by remains of monastery church found in locality Manastirište in G. Kijevci. Namely, among local populace exists a folk tale monastery Karanovac used to stand in that place and that the name of the monastery was preserved until modern times. In 1958 a stone tablet was found in the Manastirište containing, in Glagolitic, male name in dative – TO RADIN –. According to Marko Vego, inscription was written in round Glagolitic and represents one of the oldest Glagolitic inscriptions in former Yugoslavia. Vego dates the inscription to the 10th or 11th century. Chronology and transcription of the inscription were the subjects of interest to B. Fučić, which dates it to the 12th century.
CIRCUMSTANCES LEADING TO DISCOVERY OF THE INSCRIPTION
Construction style corresponds to one used in medieval practice of building with two sides with space in between being filled up by broken stone and pieces of roman brick, all bonded with somewhat weaker mix of lime mortar. Altair apse is constructed in same manner but wall is wide 0, 60 m. Translation from the northern wall into the apse was done through use of roman brick with dimensions: 42 x 27 x 5 cm.
North-west corner of the narthex holds tombstone plate laying over, most probably, ktetors grave. Numerous fragments of fresco paintings can be found around the grave belonging to frescoes painted on the inner wall of the church, just around the resting site. Stone with Cyrillic text written upon it was found not far from the gravestone.
Presence of multiple architectural units on the locality Manastirište, in village of Gornji Kijevci, was confirmed on the basis of the results from protective and initial survey done in 2004. Results from these explorations demanded systematic research on the complete area of the locality. Museum organized research in period from 1st August until 17 October 2005. Exploration was performed in the western part of the locality where the initial research ascertained existence of church remains. In area with surface of 300 square meters, remains of church were discovered with following dimensions:
- length 16,70 m
- width of naos 5,40 m
- width of narthex 6,20 m
Walls are preserved up to one meter high, 0, 80 m thick and made from limestone with lime mortar. Inscription was done upon yellow limestone with dimensions of 22 x 14 x 16 cm. Inscription mentions priest from Lomnica writing a text in 1301 year of our Lord. This inscription is very important both for dating the age of church in Manastirište and monastery Lomnica near Šekovići.
Entrance to the church was from the southern side and was also made from roman bricks. Numerous marble monuments, gravestone plates and tombstones of different dimensions surround the church from all sides. In these phase of research, resting places were left untouched. Numerous fragments of fresco paintings can be found within the altar space.
Very important Cyrillic stone inscription was found in the north-western corner of the narthex, near the north wall, during excavation of the church:
Inscription mentions priest from Lomnica: “PRIEST FROM LOMNICA WROTE IN 1000th YEAR AND 300th YEAR AND 1st YEAR SINCE THE BIRHT OF CHRIST…”
Importance of the inscription comes from its use in dating the age of church found in the locality and the Lomnica monastery near Šekovići. During research done in 2006, in the south-western part of monastery church interior, two graves were discovered. These are, most probably, graves of church ktetors.
Graves did not undergo anthropological research but are conserved and protected. Conservation of the monastery church was done in 2006 with continuation of the works in 2007.
Taken from: Bulletin of the Association of museum workers of the Republic of Srpska, no.4, Bijeljina, 2006.
Author: Milan Đurđević
Prepared by: Boris Radaković
Translate: Ljubisa Malenica