The Serbian monastery of Chelandari has the same sentimental value for Serbs as has Constantinople for Greeks. The monastery and its founders, Stefan Nemanya and his son Rastko (who later became monks and took the names of Symeon and Savvas respectively), were directly involved in the creation of the first Serbian state and the Church of Serbia.
Dedicated to Theotokos (the Mother of God), the present katholikon was built at the beginning of the 14th century. Later that century the outer narthex was added at the expense of Lazarus, a prince of Serbia.
It is regrettable that the rare wall-paintings executed between 1318 and 1320 in the interior of the church were painted over in 1803. Those that have been stripped of the later layer of decoration have revealed all the wealth and dynamism of Palaeologan art.
The monastery possesses a considerable number of Byzantine and Serbian documents, as well as collections of Slavonic and Greek manuscripts and of icons.