Preserve Hilandar

Memorial to Georgije Mitrofanović in Hilandar


In the Holy Imperial Serbian Lavra of Hilandar, on Friday 23/12/2022, in the continuation of the evening service, a memorial service was held for the Hilandar monk, founder, and zoographer Georgije Mitrofanović.

This year marks four hundred years since he painted the interior of the refectory of the Holy Monastery of Hilandar.

In the Hilandar dining room, he found the remains of wall paintings created in the third decade of the 14th century. He repainted the dining room at his own expense in November 1622.

Evidence of Mitrofanović’s performing and founding work can be found in the inscription on the inner side of the eastern wall, above the northern door:

“† With the blessing of the Father and the strengthening of the Son and the completion of the Holy Spirit, this refectory was renovated and painted, by the order of the fathers and brothers and the whole council of Hilandar, under the father abbot Kir Ilarion the hieromonk. Through the effort and expense of the smallest and humblest among the monks, poor in charity, rich in sins, called Georgije Zograf Mitrofanović, who took care of this work. Year 7130/31. and ends on the 16th day of November. At that time, the throne of the Serbian lands was held by Archbishop Kir Pajsej, and the Greek scepter was held by the great Sultan Mustafa. Say, oh beloved, eternal wisdom to the humble old man Mitrofan, who passed away in the year 7129.”

His painting in the dining room of Hilandar is one of the most significant frescoes in the whole of Athos. This is a unique example of a painter who was also the creator of such a large fresco.

We do not have much information about the life of Georgije Mitrofanović. Historians believe that he died shortly after painting the dining room.

Today, the Hilandar dining room is the only dining room of a Serbian monastery preserved from antiquity. Her frescoes reveal to us the skills of an outstanding fresco painter who was able to paint complex monumental compositions with a great sense of color.

The central place in the wall painting of the dining room belongs to the cycle of 27 compositions dedicated to Saint Sava. He chose events from Sava’s life, using the saint’s life compiled at the end of the 13th century by the Hilandar monk Teodosije.

The icons of geographer Georgije Mitrofanović in Hilandar form the largest single collection of one author. It consists of a total of 13 icons. The magnificent imperial doors painted by him in 1615-1616 are kept in the monastery treasury.

Photo: monk Milutin Hilandarac; Dragomir Krivokuća; Vlada Džamić