Gradska opstina Palilula

  • PUBLISHED 18.12.2022



    On behalf of the management of Palilula Municipality, Niš and on my own behalf, I congratulate all citizens celebrating the Day of St Nikola with the wish that they celebrate today in peace and happiness.

    Bratislav Vučković, President of Palilula Municipality, Nis


    The Church of St. Nikola (along with the Hilandar metoh) is certainly the most important sacred building in the municipality of Palilula. It is located at the foot of the Svetinikola hill in the western part of Nis, around which this city quarter was later formed. The current temple was built in 1862, when the then city manager, Mithad Pasha, demolished the old church and built a new building slightly further east, adding a minaret. After the liberation from the Turks, in 1879, the minaret was demolished, and on the day of Saint Emperor Constantine and Empress Jelena, the church was consecrated. The iconostasis was painted by Ilija Dimitrijević. Almost half a century later, in 1926, the bell tower was built. The Church itself is actually much older, as evidenced by the mosaic that was discovered in 1907 a little west of the present church, where the remains of the foundations of the imposing building can be seen. Based on these findings, some authors assume that today’s church of St. Nicholas could be the cathedral of the medieval Niš temple that was dedicated to St. Procopius. A church dedicated to this Palestinian martyr was mentioned in Niš in the 11th century. Then, in 1076, the Ugris, reaching Niš, took the hand of this saint from the temple and took it to Sirmium, today’s Sremska Mitrovica. The sanctuary was returned to the city of Nišava almost a century later by the Byzantine emperor Manojlo Comnenus in 1165. The Church of St. Procopius is mentioned as the seat of the newly established bishopric of Nis in 1204. The relics of Saint Prokopius were in this church until 1386, when Nis was conquered by the Turks. Then the life with the relics was transferred to Prokuplje, and the town on Toplica got its current name after that shrine. After the restoration of the Patriarchate of Peć, the church was restored, since the relics of Saint Procopius were no longer in it, it was dedicated to Saint Nikola. The Church of St. Nikola was destroyed several times. In the so-called Great War, the Turks burned the temple in 1690 after the retreat of the Austrian army from Nis, as revenge for the participation of the Serbs in this war on the side of the Austrian army. The temple was rebuilt 30 years later with great difficulty by bishop Janićije with contributions from the wealthier people of Niš. This is evidenced by a stone tablet with an inscription in Serbian and Greek, which dates the restoration of the temple to 1722. The Turks raided the church again in 1737 as a sign of revenge for the participation of the Serbs in the war against the Ottoman Empire, but they did not demolish it, they turned it into a mosque. From then on, the church of St. Nicholas until liberation from the Turks in 1878 was a mosque. The church of Sveti Nikola was generally renovated in the 26th year of the last century, when the bell tower was added, but it retained some Muslim characteristics in the apsidal part. The Church of Saint Nikola, as an important historical monument, was placed under legal protection in 1990. In recent years, the Church of St. Nikola has been renovated with the funds of numerous donors, and among them the City Municipality of Palilula occupies an important place. Since 2000, according to Ivan Dimov project, reconstruction and restoration work has been underway. A new altar, dome, iconostasis were installed, then the temple vestibule, the baptistery and a new porch was built. The gate from Mokranjčeva Street was opened, the parking area was arranged, as was the approach to the church. In the courtyard of St. Nicholas church, a well with a porch was built. the church was consecrated on October 20, 2007 by Bishop Irinej of Nis. (D. Vidojković)CULTURAL HISTORICAL HERITAGE and tourist potentials of PALILULA-NIS CITY MUNICIPALITY, (CIP CATALOGUE, ISBN 978-86-87855-10-6)