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St. Mark's Church, Užice

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

St. Mark's Church in Užice
St. Mark's Church in Užice

The St. Mark's Church (Serbian: Црква Светог Марка, Crkva Svetog Marka) is a church in the town of Užice, in western Serbia. It is noted for its appearance, as an old, small, mostly wooden church in the town's modern urban setting. Originally constructed in 1721, it was rebuilt in 1828 and is the oldest surviving church in the entire Užice region.[1] It was protected by the state in 1951 and declared a Cultural Monument of Great Importance in 1987.[2]

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The church is located in the northeast section of Užice, at 41 Nikole Pašića Street. It is situated at the locality of Rakijska Pijaca ("Brandy Market") in the neighborhood called Carina ("Customs office"), or Stara Varoš ("Old Town").[1][3]


Original church

The bell tower
The bell tower

As an appeasement after the previous acts of oppression, the then ruling Ottomans allowed for several churches to be built in the wider Užice area. Two churches were built in the villages of Sevojno and Seča Reka, while the third was later built in Užice itself, in 1721, and dedicated to the "Holly Apostle and Evangelist Mark".[1][4]

According to the antimins which is preserved in the church's vault, the church was consecrated by the Metropolitan Grigorije of Raška. The church is also mentioned in the Chronicle of the Užice Church Municipality. Traveler Kurt Birnbaum visited the church and made a drawing of it.[1][4]

Local administrator Sheikh Muhamed of Užice, who gave permission to the Serbs to build the churches, so as some other privileges, was later punished by the higher Ottoman authorities. The church is not mentioned after 1739 and was probably demolished by the Ottomans after 1737 when Serbs supported Austria in their 1737-39 war against the Ottoman Empire.[1][3][4]


On the foundations of the old church, a new one was built in 1828, during the reign of Prince Miloš Obrenović. It was originally a small edifice with the steep and tall roof covered with klis - a bit longer parquet-like planks of wood, placed in several layers. The church was built in the bondruk manner - timber construction filled with unbaked bricks and mudbricks. To the west, it had a small wooden tower. It originally consisted only of naos and polygonal altar apse. In 1831-32 a narthex with the gallery was added to the object.[1][2]

During the 1885-90 reconstruction, a 22-metre-tall (72 ft) wooden bell tower was built. The lowest level is masonry made of bricks while the areas between the floors have prominent overhangs in the form of eaves made from shingle.[1][2]

German traveler Felix Philipp Kanitz visited the church in 1888 during the reconstruction and wrote about it.[1][4]

Modern period

The church soon became untended as the Church of Saint George was built in Užice, which was larger, more modern and closer to downtown.[2]

Still, certain protective works have been done on it in 1904, 1922, 1951, 1966, mid-1970s and 1990. During these repairs the original mudbrick bondruk construction was replaced with proper bricks while the roof's klis cover was replaced with shingle.[2][3] It was largely neglected in the second half of the 20th century and the services were not held. From 2004 to 2006, the church has been thoroughly refurbished: iconostasis, bell tower, floors, drinking fountain, etc. The entry section was adapted and the flower garden was arranged. This allowed for the church to be re-consecrated and the services to be reintroduced.[1][3]

During the 2004-06 reconstruction, the new wooden arches were placed, so as the new floor with the underfloor heating, but the old amvon was kept. New iconostasis was placed, made by Ljuban Marić from the wood of walnut tree. Icons were made by painter Vidoje Tucović, expert in woodcut. He also worked on the bishop's throne and on the wooden eagle, used as a Gospel holder during the service.[3]


Today, the church is surrounded by the modern, high buildings.[1]

The influence of the Islamic style of construction is visible in the decorative elements - ornaments on the northern door, divider between the naos and narthex, connection of the gallery with the bell tower, etc.[2]

The church has a rich collection of icons, some of them predating the existence of the church. Especially valuable is the refined depiction of the Christ Pantocrator on golden background, in the Italo-Cretan style. There is also an icon of the Theotokos with Christ and young Saint John, made in some of the artisan shops on the Aegean coast. Both icons are from the 16th century.[2][3]

Other important icons are the one of the Saint Archangel Stephen, from the early 19th century, work of Simeon Lazović, and two of the prophets Isaiah and Solomon in the ovally shaped woodcut medallions, taken from the old church's doors. They are all exhibited in the vault, which consists of oak chests on the western wall. Other valuables include filigree crosses from the 19th century, silver cressets and censers, silk and velvet shrouds woven with gold, etc.[3]

On 15 August 1951 it was protected by the Institute for the protection and scientific research of the cultural monuments (decision 921/51). On 7 March 1983 it was confirmed as a cultural monument and in 1987 officially classified as the Cultural Monument of Great Importance ("State Gazette", No. 47/87).[2]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Branko Pejović (15 April 2018). "Црква међу солитерима" [Church among the high-rise]. Politika-Magazin, No. 1072 (in Serbian). pp. 28–29.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h "Cultural monuments in Serbia - Crkva Sv.Marka" (in Serbian and English). Serbian Academy of Sciences and Arts - Cultural monuments in Serbia.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g Milić Dragović (2018). "Црква Светог Марка" [St. Mark's Church] (in Serbian). Father Milić.
  4. ^ a b c d Branko Pejović (23 November 2016). "Užička crkva vek starija nego što se pisalo" [Church in Užice a century older than previously thought]. Politika (in Serbian).

External links

This page was last edited on 12 June 2019, at 07:48
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