Celije monastery is located on the left bank of the Gradac in the Lelic village district near Valjevo.

According to folk tradition it is the endowement of King Dragutin (1276-1282). Another tradition says that the monastery has built at the end of the 14th century or beginning of the 15th century when Stefan Lazarevic was despot. The monks of this monastery played a grate role in inciting the people to rebel against Turks.

For this reason at the neginning of the 1791 notorius Pasha Busatlija set Celije on fire along with 13 churches in the Valjevo region. The monastery was renovated in 1793. After becoming military hospital in the First Serbian Uprising (1804-1813) the Turks set the monastery on fire again in 1810. It was renovated the very nest year along with the addition of a new dome and nartex.

During the 19th century one of the first elementary schools in literated Serbia was opened in the monastery.

The Celije monastery church is a single nave structure with an unusual dome. Instead of the usual pilasters the dome rests on thick walls and gradually rising arches, and the transition from the square base on the nine-sides drum is executed using squinches. The masonry iconostasis has a structural function and takes part of the weight of the dome. A bell tower in 1926 is located on the northern side of the church.

monastery celije

The iconostas painted in 1798-1800 by Peter Nikolajevic Moler, an artist and duke during the Serbian Uprising, was destroyed in 1810. To the left of the church, towards the altar lies the grave of Ilija Bircanin the prince from under Medvednik who was beheaded by the Turks on the Kolubara bridge in Valjevo in 1804. On the southern side of the altar is the tomb of Ave Justin who dies in 1979.

An icon painting school for the nuns of this monastery has been active since 1966 and publishing activities have also been developed.

Celije is a convent.

The monastery is also well-known for the famous theologian Justin Popovic , D Phil who was a priest there from 1948 to the seventies in the last century. Arhimandrite Justin Popovic is the author of numerous important studies of orthodoxy ond one of the founders of the Serbian Philosophical Society.

Celije together with the nearby Lelic monastery is a meeting place of a grate number of pilgrims thorugh the whole year.