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Serbia: 900 years since the birth of Stefan Nemanja

Serbia: 900 years since the birth of Stefan Nemanja
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The founder of Nemanjić dynasty and creator of a powerful Serbian medieval country, Stefan Nemanja is one of the most important Serbian medieval rulers. The youngest of four sons of the nobleman Zavide, born on 1113, overthrew his eldest brother Tihomir from the power between 1166 and 1168, and even rejected the supreme power of Byzantium.

The rule of Stefan Nemanja was marked with constant conflict with Byzantium and attacks on its territory in order to expend his power to the surrounding Serbian areas (Kosovo, Zeta, Travunija, Zahumlje and area around Neretva), but at the same time with loyal vassal relationship with Byzantium kings. Territorial conquests of the Grand Prince of Rascian lands, Stefan Nemanja, were finished in 1190 with a defeat in the battle on Morava, after which Rascia became vassal of Byzantium again, but Nemanja retained in his possession most of the territories he conquered.

He withdrew from the power and became a monk in 1196, and on the Council he appointed as a successor his middle son Stefan (known as the First-Crowned), who became a first Serbian king in 1217. Together with his youngest son Rastko (monk name Sava) he became one of the founders of Serbian orthodox church. He died on February 13th 1199 as a monk Simeon in the Hilandar monastery on the Mount Athos, which he rebuilt from the ground with his son Sava.

His relics were moved in 1208 to the monastery Holy Virgin the Benefactor – Studenica, which Stefan Nemanja built to be his mausoleum.

The reign of Stefan Nemanja represents a crucial period in the history and culture of Serbs. This era was marked by the building of monumental royal endowments in an authentic style of sacred architecture – Rascian style. Grand Prince Stefan Nemanja is considered to be the first great patron of Serbian orthodox temples. During his reign he founded and reconstructed several monasteries and churches on the territory of the Principality of Rascia, and in other countries. Except Studenica, Stefan Nemanja also built Monastery Saint Mother of Christ and Monastery Saint Nicholas near Kuršumlija, Monastery of Saint George in Ras (Temple of George's Columns), Hilandar monastery.

He reconstructed Monastery of Saint Archangel Michael in Skoplje, Saint Nicholas church in Niš and Monastery of Saint Martyr Pantheleimon in Niš. He donated to the Christian holy shrines around the world – Church of Lord, Holy Grave and Church of Saint John the Forerunner in Jerusalem, Church Saint Apostles Peter and Paul in Rome, Church of Saint Nicholas in Bari, Monastery of Saint Demetrios in Thessaloniki.

Serbian Orthodox Church celebrates Stefan Nemanja as Saint Simeon the Myrrh-streaming.

Motif on the stamp: St. Simeon Nemanja founder of Studenica, frescoe from 1568. in the Studenica Church of the Mother of God Benefactress.

Graphic realization of the stamp: MA Nadežda Skočajić, academic painter – graphic artist.

 

 

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