The Cetinje monastery, just as its name tells us is located in the capital Montenegrin town – Cetinje. It is the legacy of Ivan Crnojevic, who was the ruler of the state of Zeta at the end of XV century. In the last 500 years this monastery was the seat of all Montenegrin bishops. Since its foundation it has been connected with bishops – episcopes, and metropolitans, and therefore it is considered to be the greatest center of Montenegrin education and culture during the past centuries.
Old monastery was built by Ivan Crnojevic in 1484 at the locality which is called “Cipur” (from the Greek kipurion which means a wonderful garden), and the monastery was ruined in 1692 during one of the breeches of Sulejman pasha Busatlija on Cetinje, so about its original appearance there are two testimonies: Engraving from Cetinje Oktoih, and a plan of a Venetian engineer Barbieri. Montenegrin metropolitan Danilo Petovic renewed the monastery at the beginning of XIII century. Instead of renewal of the old monastery, a new one was built in the place of the Castle of Ivan Crnojevic, but the trustee inscription, which is located above the entrance doors of the church, and the herald of Crnojevic family, which is built into the outer side of the altar apsidal have been passed onto. After the reconstruction the monastery complex took up the size of 1400 square meters. Trenches filled up with water and a defensive wall with 62 gun holes surrounded it. Inside the walls there were night chambers, a smaller church of Sveti Petar (St. Peter), and a big basilica of Sveta Djevica (Saint Virgin). Several times additionally built and adapted the monastery acquired the present look in the period between 1925 and 1927. The nucleus of the monastery is the church of Rodjenja Bogorodice (Birth of the Virgin). Entire relics of Sveti Petar Cetinjski (St. Peter from Cetinje), by whom the monastery got the name, have been places inside it.
The hand of Sveti Jovan Krstitelj (Saint Jovan the Baptizer), relics of Sveti Petar Cetinjski. Segment of Honorable Cross, as well as a part of the relics of Teodor Stratilan are preserved in the monastery with which the monastery itself is one of the richest treasuries of the Christian world. Above the monastery you can see a skit of Sveti Jovan Krstitelj that was built in 1997. The construction of the Church of Sveti Jovan Krstitelj in that place is in plan and it will be built in the honor of saint’s right hand that is kept in the monastery.
First primary and secondary school in Montenegro were formed in the Monastery. Petar II Petrovic Njegos (1813 – 1851), the most famous Montenegrin ruler and poet handled a print shop as well as a workshop for producing zinc cannon balls. Cetinje monastery served also as a mausoleum to dynasty Petrovic, and prince Danilo Petrovic, his wife Darinka, his daughter Olga, as well as the great duke Mirko Petrovic, bishop Sava Petrovic and many other have been buried in it.