St Nicholas Church, Ramaća

St Nicholas Church, Ramaća

At the foothills of Rudnik mountain, 25 km from Kragujevac, is the picturesque village of Ramaća with its old church, known by its folk name Kumanica, dedicated to Saints Constantine and Helen at the present moment. The church was initially dedicated to Saint Nicholas, as can be deduced from the saint's image within the Founders’ composition and the extensive cycle of his miracles. The time of building and painting the church is unknown, nor the founders' identities, whose portraits are preserved on the south wall of the nave. Dating hypotheses were based on the figures painted on the west wall, below the bust of Christ blessing from the segment of heaven. Some researchers think that figures are portraits of Princess Milica, young Prince Stefan, and Prince Lazar; some consider that on the west wall Despot Stefan and his wife, Helena Gattilusio, are represented, while some believe that Despot Lazar Branković and his wife, Despotess Helena Palailogina, are depicted. According to different hypotheses, the painting of the church in Ramaća can be dated to the last decades of the 14th century at the earliest and 1457 at the latest.

Besides the compositions mentioned above, in the lowest zone of the church, individual figures of saints, mostly Holy Warriors and female martyrs, are preserved, while in the area above are medallions with busts of saints. In the higher zones, in addition to figures of saints and angels, numerous scenes from the cycle of Saint Nicholas are preserved, as well as the scenes from the Life of the Virgin, Great Feasts, and the Passion of Christ. Painting of the dome deteriorated for the most part, yet one can recognize the Twelve Prophets in the dome's drum, the Heavenly liturgy above them, and the representations of the evangelists in pendentives below with the Mandylion in the space between. In the altar apse, the Service of the archpriests, Procession of angels, and the Communion of Apostles are depicted, while in the semi-dome of the apse, the Virgin with Christ and two angels are painted.

In the first half of the 19th century, a large wooden narthex was added to the simple stone church. This structure of a contracted type of a cross-in-square plan with a dome above the central area, unlike other examples of Moravian architecture, does not have decorative sculpture, and its facade is adorned only with pilasters and arches. The dome's drum is slender and tall, eight-sided from the outside and circular on the inside. The central altar apse is circular inside and outside, as is proscomidia, while the diaconicon is square on the outside.


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