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|Jurisdiction||Orthodox Autocephalous Church of Albania|
|Founder||Andronikos II Palaiologos|
Scholars think that the monastery started to be built on 1282 by the Byzantine Emperor, Andronikos II Palaiologos, after the victory against the Angevins in Berat. The chapel of Saint Trinity was already there, erected centuries before. A pagan temple, dedicated to Artemis already existed before the chapel, and it is thought that the name Ardenica stems from Artremis. Close to this temple (around 1 km) goes the old Via Egnatia. This monastery is very important in Albanian history because it is where the marriage of Gjergj Kastrioti with Andronika Arianiti was celebrated in April 21 1451 from the archbishop of Kanina, Felix, in the presence of all the albanian princes and ambassadors of the Kingdom of Naples Republic of Venice and Republic of Ragusa. This is mentioned first by A. Lorenzoni in 1940.
The monastery is byzantine-orthodox. It has a surface of 2.500 square meters. It is composed of the Saint Mary Church, the chapel of the Saint Trinity, a mill, a barn ecc.
In 1743 me with the initiative of the Berat's archbishop, Methood, who was originary of Bubullima Myzeqe, the monastir was renovated
The Church of Saint Mary in the Monastery of Ardenica has important frescoes from Kostandin Zografi and Athanas Zografi. These painters from Korca worked on ther church on 1744. The frescoes include an Old Testament and a New Testament, Dogmatica, Lithurgy, Life of Saints, ecc...
The iconostas is wooden and polycromed in gold. It was realized in 1744, with the help of the Moscopole masters. The icons are the work of the XVIIIth century painter Kostandin Shpataraku. Some of the icons are Birth of Saint Mary, Christ on the Throne, Saint Mary and Christ, John the Baptist, Meeting of the Archangels, Crucifiction, ecc.. It is to be mentioned that in the icon of St. Jovan Vladimir of Prespa, can be found the painting of, Karl Thopia, the Albanian prince with a skepter and crown. The painter calls him King of Albania.
One fo the most important clerics of the monastery, Nektarios Terpos from Moscopole, wrote in 1731 a short prayer in the form of a fresco. The prayer is in four languages: Latin, Greek, Aroumanian and Albanian in Greek alphabet. This fact is important because it is the first text in Albanian written in a Greek-orthodox church. The Albanian text reads Vigjin dhe mame e Perendis uro pren fajt orete. At the end of it can be found Hieromonah - the Nektarios Terpos the monk.
Center of Culture
The monastery has been named for the riches of its library. It used to have 32.000 volumes but it got burned in 1932. Since 1780, in the Monastery existed a Greek school to prepare clerics.
During the Albanian renaissance the school became one of the places where also albanian was taught. In 1817, the school became a high school, which had also a student house. From this school graduated the Bishop of Berat, Josif.
All the watermarks are in Greek. The oldest one dates from 1477. It can be found in the principal entry of the monastir. A second one dates 1743 - '44 which pertains to the painting period from the Zografi brothers. In the monastery can also be found two plates pertaining to the XVIIth century. One of them, dated 1754, can be found in the western side of the church, the other, dated 1770 is found in the archs of the stove. Dates can be found also on the church's bells.
The hills of Ardeinca can be found in southern Myzeqe in a dominant position. From this position can be seen Kruja, Mount Dajt, Tomorr, the Adriatic sea, the Karavasta Lagoon and the Labëria mountains.