“Having survived a turbulent and violent past, withstanding time and nature the Cetinje Monastery still shines in its brightest self. This monastery is the keeper of sacred spiritual treasures like the particles of The Holy Cross, on which Jesus was crucified, the right hand of John the Baptist and the Filerma icon of the Mother of God, painted by the Apostle Luke as well as the relics of St Peter of Cetinje”.
The medieval Cetinje Monastery, also known as the Old Cetinje Monastery, was built by Ivan Crnojević in 1484, and founded on 4 January 1485, at Ćipur, and dedicated to the birth of the Virgin Mary (Hram Roždestva presvete Bogorodice). During the Morean War (1692) the Venetian forces demolished the medieval monastery. Using the stones from the old monastery, Vladika Danilo reestablished the monastery in the year 1701 or 1704, not far from the first location and added a tablet with the coat of arms of the Crnojević family along with a dedication to Ivan Crnojević. Behind the monastery complex is the mausoleum of Bishop Daniel. Before 1714, it was burnt, and then it was reconstructed around 1743 by Metropolitan Sava Ivanović Njegoš. It was the center of spiritual, cultural and political life of the Prince-Bishopric of Montenegro. It has been built on several times, the current appearance dates to 1927.
The history of the Cetinje monastery is connected to the name of the great Serbian saint – St. Peter of Cetinje, who throughout his life fought for the Orthodox religion and the freedom of his country. In order to defend his country from Napoleon’s troops St Peter of Cetinje swore allegiance to orthodox Russia and together with the Russian army fought against Napoleon’s troops.
St. Peter of Cetinje is considered the Russian-Serbian saint. Many pilgrims from around the globe come to Cetinje Monastery to venerate the right hand of John the Baptist, which is kept in the Church of the Nativity of the Mother of God.