Holy Trinity Church, Lavdar

Holy Trinity Church of Lavdar (Albanian: Kisha e Shën Triadhës në Lavdar), also known as the Holy Trinity Church of Tudas[2][3] is a 14th century Albanian orthodox church built in the Byzantine style by the medieval Albanian noble family of Muzaka. It is located near the villages Lavdar and Tudas in the region of Opar in Korçë county, southeastern Albania. Noted for its distinguished architecture and frescoes, it was declared a Cultural Monument of Albania in 1963.[4]

Holy Trinity Church
Kisha e Shën Triadhës (in Albanian)
Religion
AffiliationEastern Orthodox
LeadershipAlbanian Orthodox Church
Location
LocationTudas, Korçë county, Albania
Geographic coordinates40°37′15″N 20°30′12″E / 40.6209°N 20.5033°E / 40.6209; 20.5033Coordinates: 40°37′15″N 20°30′12″E / 40.6209°N 20.5033°E / 40.6209; 20.5033
Architecture
TypeChurch
StyleByzantine architecture (Crossed-dome plan)
FounderChiranna Muzaka, daughter of John Zenevisi
Completed1370
Materialsstone
Designated15.01.1963[1]

LocationEdit

The church is located in a remote setting in the region of Opar in Korçë county, southeastern Albania. It lies at 1220 m altitude, at the feet of Tudas Rock (Albanian: Shkëmbi i Tudasit) and 500 m from the eponymous, nearest village, on the northern slope of Mt. Ostrovica (2383 m). The second nearest but larger village to the church is Lavdar, of the municipal unit of Lekas.[2] The memoirs of Gjon Muzaka, being the earliest documented accounts of the church, mention it as the Holy Trinity Church of Lavdar, near the village Xerje.[5][6]

HistoryEdit

The Holy Trinity Church of Lavdar was built in 1370 by Chiranna (Kiranna) Muzaka,[2] daughter of John Zenevisi, a powerful Albanian lord of Epirus. She married Andrea III Muzaka of the Muzaka noble family and had a son, named Gjin. Gjin Muzaka also built the Saint Mary church in Bungë (English: Sessile oak forest) near the village Zerec, few km from Lavdar. He was buried by this church, as were his wife and his mother Chiranna.[2][5] In the same fashion, their descendants built another church dedicated to Saint George in the nearby Arostë (Erosto).[3]

A representative of the Muzaka family was mentioned since 1090 by Anna Komnene, as a trusted commander of the Byzantine emperor Alexios I Komnenos,[7][8] while in the years 1382[9]–84, Teodor III Muzaka and his brother Stoya, both uncles of Andrea III Muzaka, had founded a new church in Kastoria, dedicated to St. Athanasius.[9] In his Memoirs of 1515, Gjon Muzaka, Chiranna’s grandson and Gjin’s son, describes his family as devout Christians.[6] Following the Siege of Shkodra in 1479 and the Ottoman conquest, Gjon Muzaka left Albania with his family and went into exile in Italy.[10] With the islamization of Albania in the later years, a part of the population turned to Islam, resulting in a religiously mixed community, but the toponymy of the region didn’t change and often reflects a Christian origin.[3] The Holy Trinity Church was preserved, functional and venerated by both the Christian and the Muslim local community. At certain days, many Muslim believers from the nearby villages paid visit to the church, donated money and even kissed the orthodox icons.[11] Besides the frescoes, there is an 18th century inscribed icon inside the church, a gift dedicated to Chiranna by a certain Simo Theodhor.[2]

On January 15, 1963 the Holy Trinity Church of Lavdar was declared a Cultural Monument of Albania.[1] In a report of 1967, it was described as an abandoned church close to the Muslim village of Tudas, but it was noted for its distinguished architecture and frescoes and thus survived the state of atheism that was installed in Albania.[12] In 2013, a restoration and structural rehabilitation project of the church was implemented by a joint cooperation of the Orthodox Metropolis of Korça, the Regional Directorate of the Monuments of Culture and the local government.[13]

ArchitectureEdit

The Holy Trinity Church of Lavdar is an aisleless Byzantine church in the region of Opar. It has a cross-in-square plan, with a tholobate (drum shaped dome) rested on its pendentives, without columns. The interior is rich in frescoes of Byzantine iconography. A dry stone layer of masonry was added by the local stone masons, few years after its construction.[2]

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ a b LISTA E MONUMENTEVE: RRETHI I KORÇËS (in Albanian). Instituti i Monumenteve të Kulturës - Ministria e Kulturës. Archived from the original on November 28, 2016. Retrieved April 20, 2020.
  2. ^ a b c d e f Bitraku, Apostol (July 29, 2008). "Objektet e kultit në Opar të Korçës" [The religious buildings in Opar, Korçë] (in Albanian). korcanews.com. Retrieved April 25, 2020.
  3. ^ a b c "Objekte kulti në Opar" [Religious buildings in Opar]. Ngjallja (Resurrection) (in Albanian). No. 263. Tirana, Albania: Autocephalous Orthodox Church of Albania. December 2014. p. 8. Retrieved April 20, 2020. Kisha më e vjetër është "Shën Triadha" e Lavdarit, që është quajtur edhe kisha e Tudasit, fshat pranë saj. Është ndërtuar nga Kirana Muzaka më 1470.
  4. ^ "Religious buildings with the "Culture Monument" status". Republic of Albania National Committee for Cult. Archived from the original on July 6, 2011. Retrieved October 28, 2010.
  5. ^ a b Elsie, Robert (2003). Early Albania: A Reader of Historical Texts, 11th–17th Centuries. Wiesbaden, Germany: Wiesbaden, Germany. p. 49. ISBN 978-3-447-04783-8.

    According to "Brief chronicle on the descendants of our Musachi dynasty (1515)" by Gjon Muzaka: Do not forget that Lord Gjin Musachi, my father and your grandfather, died in Sereziabunga and was buried at the church of Saint Mary which he himself had built in Bunga. His grave is just outside the church on the south side. My mother and Lady Chiranna, my grandmother, the mother of my father, also lies buried at the said church, on the west side. The said lady, my grandmother, built the church of the Holy Trinity in Laudari (Lavdar) near Ceria (Xerje) and, in the same fashion, our descendants built the church of Saint George in Erosto.

  6. ^ a b Musachi, John (1515). "Texts and Documents of Albanian History - 1515 - John Musachi: Brief Chronicle on the Descendants of our Musachi Dynasty". albanianhistory.net. Robert Elsie. Archived from the original on 2016-03-04. Retrieved April 25, 2020.
  7. ^ Studia Albanica. L'Institut. 1990. p. 179. Dès la fin du XIe siècle, un descendant Muzaka est . compte parmi les fideles de l'empereur Alexis Ier Comnene.
  8. ^ Tase, Pirro (2010). Të huajt për Shqipërinë dhe shqiptarët (in Albanian). Outskirts Press, Inc. p. 101. ISBN 9780557332533. Retrieved April 25, 2020. Për herë të parë, emri i një fisniku nga familja e Muzakajve, është përmendur nga historiania bizantine, Ana Komnena. Është fjala për pinjollin e parë të Muzakajve, i cili në vitin 1090, u bë ndër komandantët më të besuar të Perandorit Aleksi I Komneni i Epirit.
  9. ^ a b Akademia e Shkencave e Shqipërisë; K. Prifti; Xh. Gjeçovi; M. Korkuti; G. Shpuza; S. Anamali; K. Biçoku; F. Duka; S. Islami; S. Naçi; F. Prendi; S. Pulaha; P. Xhufi (2002). Historia e Popullit Shqiptar (Vëllimi I) (in Albanian). Tirana, Albania: Toena. p. 295. ISBN 99927-1-622-3.
  10. ^ Elsie, Robert (2003). Early Albania: A Reader of Historical Texts, 11th–17th Centuries. Wiesbaden, Germany: Wiesbaden, Germany. p. 38. ISBN 978-3-447-04783-8.
  11. ^ Bitraku, Apostol (July 29, 2008). "Objektet e kultit në Opar të Korçës" [The religious buildings in Opar, Korçë] (in Albanian). korcanews.com. Retrieved April 25, 2020. Në disa raste, kur kishat kishin ditën e panairit të tyre, aty vinin jo vetëm të krishterë, po më shumë myslimanë, burra, gra, fëmijë, të moshuar.[...] Dhuronin para e rupa argjendi. Hynin në kishë dhe puthnin ikonat dhe kryenin ritet e tjera.
  12. ^ "Relacioni i 1967, ja se si shpëtuan pa u shembur 77 kisha e xhami". shqiptarja.com. shqiptarja.com. April 18, 2014. Retrieved April 25, 2020.
  13. ^ "Korçë, projekt për rijetësimin e kishës bizantine". top-channel.tv. Top Channel. September 30, 2013. Retrieved April 25, 2020.