Studenica Foundation is a private American tax–exempt foundation established in 1995 in San Francisco, California, USA. The founding families – Djordjevich (California), Chelovich (Michigan) and Vukovich (Colorado) were guided with the idea that the right education and cultural endeavors are invaluable and have an indispensable role in the progress of any society.
Both our Serbian and American experience attests to the invaluable and irreplaceable role education plays in the progress of society. The Serbs revere St. Sava not only as a creator of peace but also as an active inspiring educator. Similarly, for America’s Founding Fathers, education and learning were at the cornerstone of the nation’s development. Indeed, the productivity of knowledge at America’s distinguished centers of higher learning – the universities – together with the ability to find practical application of this knowledge in a wide variety of fields, are a hallmark of American civilization.
The twentieth century, with its brutal world and local wars, totalitarian ideologies and economical determinism, its vicious economic and environmental imperialism, has led to the destruction of both material and spiritual values. Now in the new century, we are more than ever in need of recovering, as well as vigorously promoting, those moral and spiritual values that have been ravaged yet are the most fundamental prerequisites in the pursuit of life, liberty, and the just and equitable progress for all humankind.
The Foundation bears the esteemed name of Studenica in honor of the illustrious monastery in Serbia. The Monastery has blessed and granted special permission to our Foundation to use the name of the Monastery as well as its unique Studenica Cross. The Studenica Monastery’s picture (see display) shows the Church of the Blessed Virgin, which, completed in the early 1190s, forms an integral part of the splendid Studenica monastery complex.
The origins of the monastery date to St. Sava’s father, the Grand Duke Stefan Nemanja, the founder of the Nemanjic dynasty and ruler of the Serbian lands. During one of his hunts in 1180, he chanced upon “this deserted spot which pleased him” and seemed a most appropriate site “for building a monastery to pursue a life of peace and promote the growth of a monastic community.” After the completion of Studenica, in the spring of 1196, Nemanja abdicated his secular authority and, retiring from the worldly life, entered the monastery. For the Grand Duke, the pursuit of the monastic way of life meant the fulfillment of an even greater obligation placed on man than that of earthy rule.
Architecturally, Studenica represents the successful synthesis of west and east, of the Romanesque and Byzantine styles. The interior too, resplendent with a series of thirteenth–century frescoes that depict biblical themes, reflects the skillful blending of western and eastern elements.
Nestled in the tranquil Serbian countryside, the Studenica Monastery is only a day’s drive from Belgrade and is open to the public all year round.