The Church of the Holy Apostles Peter and Paul or in short Peter’s Church is doubtlessly the oldest monument in Serbia and Balkans generally. It was built on the top of the prehistoric tombs where the burial was done from the Bronze to the Early Iron Age. Based on the archeological research which was conducted in 1957. with the research of the church’s foundations carried out, there were discovered objects from the early 5th century B.C. including Greek-painted vases, golden pectorals, bronze dishes, amber beads, fibulas, and belts. During current research, which is done in the immediate proximity of the church, there were found objects originating from the Celtic Period which indicated good positioning of the Old Ras.
Stefan Nemanja, the originator of the Nemanic Dynasty and the establisher of Serbia at the same time, was baptized in this church according to the rituals Bizantian Church. Here, Stefan made his son a ruler as well. When taking everything into consideration, it can be said that the Church of Holy Apostles Peter and Paul was the place where history was made, which influenced the present day too.
Based on vernacular tradition and a single ancestry dating back from to the 17th century, Peter’s Church had been built by Apostle Tit, while Saint Sava cited these sources by bearing in mind that in that period of time the church could be a single entity if on its ground existed a temple built by some of Christ’s Apostles. On the other hand, the tradition written by Pope Dukljanin in his Almanac is cited that in the 12th century after Romans conquered Ras, Romans had built their Fortress Bello and a church in honor of the Sacred Apostle Peter. All of these events put the Church’s construction back to the 9th century.
Church of the Holy Apostles Peter and Paul was ruined and reconstructed a couple of times, putting it in the class of buildings that do not date back to a single epoch. The frescos in the church are also the result of the conflicts which lasted for a couple of centuries, hence there can be distinguished layers of frescos while the oldest date back to the 9th or 10th century. These frescos are classified into four layers where the least preserved is the last, the fourth layer.
Church of the Holy Apostles Peter and Paul is not only the oldest medieval church in Serbia, but it is also at the same time the symbol of Christianity in that region.
How to get to the monastery?
It is located at a 10-minute drive, and more than 30 minutes on foot from the city center (see the location here). Unfortunately, there is no public transport that goes there. The church is still active. The curator or priest is usually there on weekdays and weekends from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. The entrance for the foreigners is 2 euros.
Have a look at the video about this incredible monument here.