Gračanica was constructed on the ruins of an older 13th-century church of the Holy Virgin, which itself was built on the ruins of a 6th-century early Christian three-nave basilica. It was located in the center of the Eparchy of Lipljan. Stefan Milutin's ktetor comments are written on the southern wall, including "I have seen the ruins and the decay of the Holy Virgin's temple of Gračanica, the bishopric of Lipljan, so I have built it from the ground and painted and decorated it both from inside and outside". In 1346, when the Serbian Archbishopric was raised to the rank of Patriarchate, the bishop of Lipljan was granted the honorary title of metropolitan bishop, and since that time they were called metropolitans of Lipljan or Gračanica.
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