Kosovo’s Great Martyr

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The Battle and the Nation 

The consciousness of a distinct Serbian ethnic identity had been present among the Serbs since the times of the founder of an independent medieval Serbian state, veliki župan (Grand Duke) Stefan Nemanja (1166−1196).[1] These consciousnesses were further strengthened by both when Serbia became a kingdom in 1217 and with the establishment of an autocephalous archbishopric in 1219 as a national independent (Christian Orthodox) church.[2] However, the Battle of Kosovo (on the morning of June 28th, 1389)[3] which the Serbs de facto lost to the Ottoman Turks and the death of a Serbian ruler, Prince Lazar Hrebeljanović (1371−1389), during the battle had up to nowadays the most powerful impact to the Serbian consciousness about independent state, independent church and awareness of ethnic separateness from other members of South Slavic community. In addition, this battle known also as the Battle of Kosovo Polje, which took place north of the city of Priština is of great patriotic and ideological significance in the history of all Serbs either from Serbia or elsewhere.[4] 

The place of the battle is a geographical region known as the Plain of Kosovo (Kosovo Polje in Serb or Fusha e Kosovës in Albanian) that is a major settlement in the eastern part of Kosovo-Metochia (KosMet)[5] – an autonomous province of the Republic of Serbia. The plain is basically a plateau running from the city of Kosovska Mitrovica passing southward the administrative center of the province Priština and the town of Uroševac going almost to the small town of Kačanik on the border with the Republic of North Macedonia. The Plain of Kosovo has an elevation of between 500 meters and 600 meters and it is the most fertile land within KosMet. In the middle of the plain, one can find a town of the same name – Kosovo Polje, today, in fact, a suburb of Priština. On the place of the battle there are two historical monuments: 1) The memorial to the battle erected by the Serbian authorities after the liberation of KosMet as a consequence of the 1912‒1913 Balkan Wars;[6] and 2) The Turbe of Murad constructed by the Ottoman authorities in order to mark the place of the death of the Ottoman Sultan Murad I (1359‒1389) during the battle. 

Prince Lazar Hrebeljanović of Serbia, allied with Bosnia’s King Tvrtko I Kotromanić (1353‒1391), made in 1389 his last attempt to preserve Serbia’s independence from the rapidly expanding Ottoman Empire in the Balkans. In 1388 both of them succeeded to defeat the Ottoman Turks in three battles when the Sultan Murad I was occupied by pacifying Asia Minor (Anatolia). Next year, Murad I organized a huge military campaign against Prince Lazar’s Serbia attacking this Balkan state with a huge coalition of forces (overall up to 100.000 soldiers according to some historians) which included his vassals from Macedonia, Bulgaria, and Albania. Many of his vassals have been Christians and even the Serbs. The opposing army composed by the soldiers from Serbia, Valachia, Bosnia, KosMet, and Albania (the overwhelming majority of them, however, came from Prince Lazar’s Serbia) numbered up to c. 20.000. During the battle, both leaders, Prince Lazar, and Sultan Murad lost their lives. According to the legend but as well as some Turkish sources, the Sultan was assassinated by some Serbian soldier who appears by different names. The most popular version among the Serbs but also based on the Ottoman sources is that the knight Miloš Obilić (Kobilić), insulted a night before the battle by a feudal lord from KosMet Vuk Branković, penetrated heroically into Sultan’s tent and stabbed him to death before being killed by Sultan’s guards.[7] The defeated and wounded Prince Lazar was basically taken prisoner with his knights and was decapitated by the Ottomans as revenge for killed Sultan Murad I.[8]

Nevertheless, the Battle of Kosovo surely became a focal element of the Serbian patriotism and nationalism up today as no other historical event had a stronger emotional and psychological influence on the Serb people as a nation. In fact, the battle and all different myths and legends around it in the course of time created a modern Serbian nation as an “imagined community”.[9] According to tradition incorporated into the folk songs, before the battle, Prince Lazar was offered by the Sultan the choice between an earthly kingdom (vassalage without battle) and a heavenly kingdom (death in the battle) and chose the second option. That is why the Serbs describe themselves as a “heavenly people” at least within the framework of their nationalist ideology in which the central element is Prince Lazar’s covenant with God. In other words, the Serbs chose in 1389 freedom in a heavenly empire over serfdom and humiliation in a temporal earthly world.[10]

However, historically speaking, the Battle of Kosovo accelerated the disintegration of the Serbian state and opened the direct way to four centuries of the Ottoman rule over Serbia and her south province of KosMet as well as the southern portions of the Balkans. KosMet itself was finally incorporated into the Ottoman Empire in 1455 (when the Ottomans conquered Novo Brdo) and the rest of Serbia with capital Smederevo in 1459.[11] As one of the direct consequences of the Battle of Kosovo was/is that the first substantial wave of the Turkish-speaking immigrants happened to KosMet between 1389 and 1455 but the first Turkish-speaking population appeared to have settled in this Serbia’s province even in the early 14th century under Serbia’s King Milutin (1282‒1321). In other words, after the battle and during the period of gradual Ottoman conquest of KosMet, soldiers, feudal lords (spahees), officials, and merchants began to start to live in major KosMet’s towns. Later, when after 1699 the ethnic Albanians of Islamic faith from High Albania started to occupy KosMet, the distinction between the ethnic Turks and ethnic Albanians became in practice difficult to draw since, with time, many Muslim Albanians regarded themselves as both Albanian and Turkish.[12]                

After the battle, a tradition has developed both the motif of heroism and the cult of Prince Lazar who was proclaimed by the Serbian Orthodox Church as “Kosovo’s great martyr”. In the following centuries, the crucial national task of the Serbs became to revenge to the Muslim Turks for the lost battle, independent state and the death of Prince Lazar – a task for which accomplishment they had to wait for almost five hundred years. This national consciousness of “revenge for Kosovo’s tragedy” is, however, revived since June 1999 as Kosovo-Metochia is once again considered as occupied national soil of the Serbs, but now by the Muslim Albanians and their Western sponsors (USA, EU, NATO).[13] This feeling became stronger after February 17th, 2008 when Kosovo’s Albanians unilaterally proclaimed state’s independence that is recognized by a part of the international community (usually by US’ satellites). Nevertheless, in both cases, when a “national revenge” was directed towards Muslim Turks and now when it is directed towards Muslim Albanians (who settled KosMet from North and Central Albania after the 1690 First Great Serbian Migration from KosMet) the cult of Prince Lazar – “Kosovo’s great martyr” had a crucial impact to the Serbian mind, national feelings, aims, and pride.[14]

A real importance of the 1389 Battle of Kosovo, “Kosovo’s Myth”, “Kosovo’s Legend”, and the cult of Prince Lazar for the Serbs can be seen from the very fact that the Serbs are dividing their national history into two chronological periods: 1) Before Kosovo’s tragedy; and 2) After the 1389 Battle of Kosovo.

The Written Documents about the Cult of Prince Lazar

There are ten survived written documents upon the cult of Prince Lazar. All of them are originating between 1389 and 1419/20. They are:

  1. The Prologue Hagiography of Prince Lazar written by an unknown writer.
  2. The Letter concerning Prince Lazar written by Patriarch Danilo III.
  3. The Hagiography concerning Prince Lazar written by an unknown writer.
  4. The Praise to Prince Lazar written by Jefimia.
  5. The Hagiography and Office of Prince Lazar written by an unknown writer.
  6. The Service to Prince Lazar written by an unknown writer.
  7. The Praise’s Letter to Prince Lazar written by an unknown writer.
  8. The Inscription on the Marble Column in Kosovo written by an unknown writer.
  9. The Letter concerning Saint Prince Lazar written by Andonie Rafail.
  10. The Letter concerning Prince Lazar written by an unknown writer.[15]

Unfortunately, the Balkan historians from the 19th century (most of them have been romanticists) did not use these written documents as a historical source for the very reason that according to their opinion, these documents presented a false chronology of real historical events. However, these documents as historical reports, in fact, are directly challenging their writings upon the Balkan history of the time during the Ottoman conquest of the peninsula (1354−1521).[16] On another hand, a Russian writer Alexander Gilferding expressed the most severe criticism of these documents for the reason that according to him, those documents had a lot of the locus communis and the general phrases. He thought that a chronology was totally absent in these documents.[17] Mainly the same opinion about them expressed as well as several Slavic historians and philologists like P. J. Šafařik, Đ. Daničić, V. Jagić or Lj. Kovačević. Nevertheless, according to their common opinion, neither the role of Prince Lazar in the battle nor the battle against the Ottoman Turks itself, are satisfactory described and presented in the Serbian literature and the Balkan historiography of their time. They urged that these ten written documents upon the cult of the Serbian Prince Lazar deserve to be scientifically investigated according to the valid research methodology and then used as relevant historical sources.

It is necessary to notice that these written documents, in general, did not use a historical chronology at all because the aim of their writers was not to deal with a historical detail or to give us a detailed description of historical fact. However, they are of double validity: 1) for the events which they described, and 2) for the time when they are made. In this case, the validity of these documents is not of the same value for the time before and after the Battle of Kosovo (in the year of 1389 according to the Christian style time-counting, in 6897 year according to the creation of the world time-counting style, and in 879 year according to the Muslim calendar). The documents in regard to Prince Lazar’s cult among the Serbs did not trace and did not back the hagiographies dedicated to the saint Serbian ruling medieval family−the Nemanjić’s (1166‒1371). As a matter of fact, until the time of Grigorije Camblak, in hagiographies of the Nemanić’s, there were no descriptions of the martyr’s death. However, writers of the cult’s documents concerning Prince Lazar put the main stress exactly on his martyr’s death which was the chief point of many literal works. Therefore, the cult’s written documents dedicated to Prince Lazar are, in fact, martyr’s hagiographies and are based on the idea of a continuation of the Bible.[18]

Almost all writers of cult’s documents dedicated to Prince Lazar were contemporaries either of him, i.e. of the 1389 Battle of Kosovo or of the time of the transposition of Prince’s relics after the battle. The last of these ten documents is written by Andonie Rafail (The Letter concerning Saint Prince Lazar) in 1419/20. The rest of them were written earlier and they are closer to the time of the Serbian-Ottoman fighting on the Kosovo Plain. However, the documents which are emphasizing the Serbian military victory are oldest because the first reports with regard to the results of the battle were telling about the Serbian victory, mainly because of the death of the Ottoman Sultan Murad I during the battle. Nevertheless, in the most recent documents, like The Letter concerning Saint Prince Lazar by Andonie Rafail, Prince Lazar was also a winner, but this victory had just a spiritual meaning instead of the real military-political one.[19]

The oldest document, The Prologue Hagiography of Prince Lazar is telling us about the “bright” victory of him and the Serbian army but the use of term “bright” has, in fact, primarily a spiritual meaning of the term. The most “historically” written document concerning the cult of Prince Lazar is The Letter concerning Prince Lazar by the Serbian Patriarch Danilo III. In this document, there are more historical events presented than in others. In the rest of cult’s documents, there were chosen only historical facts which are appropriate to the spiritual aims of the cult and its national ideals. The most information given in this Letter…, which are referring to the feudal families, can be used as historical truth for the sake that Patriarch Danilo was in very close and friendly relations to the court of Prince Lazar and his family.

It is a very interesting remark given by the Patriarch Danilo that the 1389 Battle of Kosovo was finished in the way that both of the armies stopped to fight because they were totally exhausted. The Patriarch Danilo is clearly telling us that the Lazarević’s family originated from the Nemanjić’s dynasty, a ruling Serbia’s dynasty from 1166 to 1371. This information is partially correct because Prince Lazar’s wife (Milica) really traced her origin from Vukan, the oldest son of the founder of the Nemanjić’s dynasty − Stefan Nemanja (1166−1196). However, in comparison to the Patriarch Danilo’s report, the origin of the Lazarević’s family is so ambiguous in the rest of the cult’s written documents.

Some of the authors of cult’s documents presented Prince Lazar’s warship oration before the battle. This oration is actually preserved in three documents: The Letter concerning Prince Lazar by the Patriarch Danilo, The Hagiography concerning Prince Lazar and The Letter concerning Prince Lazar. The last two of them are written by unknown authors. The longest text of warship oration is presented in the Patriarch Danilo’s work in which the crucial dramatic point is not the battle itself but it is the last eve before the battle (a Last Supper motif) in which Prince Lazar’s warship oration had to play a focal role for the future national pride and revival of the Serbs who chose the Heavenly instead of the Earthly Empire.[20]

We can conclude after the investigation by using the methodology of the text comparison that the authors of the Prince Lazar’s cult’s documents knew about the chronicles of Georgie Chamartol and Constantin Manas as well as about The Alexandrida and The History of the Jewish War written by Joseph Flavius.[21] It is obvious that the heroic sentences with regard to the warship orations in The Alexandrida, given by Alexander the Great and in The Letter concerning Prince Lazar, given by the Serbian ruler are very similar. From a political point of view, the warship oration in the work by the Patriarch Danilo belongs to so-called Kosovo’s ideology.[22] Generally, on one hand, a number of real historical facts for the period of the Serbian history with regard to the 1389 Battle of Kosovo in the written documents concerning the Prince Lazar’s cult are very modest but on the other hand, cult’s documents are very appropriate sources for doing research on the state’s ideology, nationalism, cultural history, and ethnic identity.[23]

An Establishment of the Cult

The canonization, or the solemn proclamation of the saints, was introduced in Europe in the 11th century.[24] In the Roman Catholic Church, a decision regarding the canonization from the 17th century onward had to be given only by the Pope (Holy Father). However, the Greek Orthodox Church was allowing the canonization of the local cults by the Bishops and the Archbishops or the Metropolitans alongside by the Patriarch. In the Russian Orthodox Church, the right for the canonization had both the Patriarch and the Emperor.[25] However, the process of the canonization in the medieval Serbian state is not researched in historiography and we do not know exactly how this process was going on.

In medieval Serbia, the church cult was reserved only for the ruling Nemanjić’s dynasty and for the church archpriests. The others did not have right for the canonization. The genealogies of the Nemanjić’s dynasty are presented in three important Serbian medieval monasteries: Gračanica, Dečani and in the headquarters of the Serbian Patriarchate − Peć (in Turkish Ipek). All three of them are located in Kosovo-Metochia − a territory that is a cradle of the Serbian state, culture, and national identity. It is known from the sources that the last member of the Nemanjić’s dynasty was stressing that they as a family were originated from “the holy roots”. It is also known that except highest church dignitaries who were proclaimed as the saints only the members of the ruling dynasty had hagiographies. However, after two centuries of the Nemanjić’s rule in Serbia, Prince Lazar Hrebeljanović became the first secular person out of the ruling dynasty to be declared as the saint by the Serbian Orthodox Church.[26]

The interesting question is: Why the Serbian Orthodox Church never proclaimed as the saints two other Serbian medieval rulers who also were killed in another battle against the same Ottoman Turks − the brothers King Vukašin (1365−1371)[27] and Despot Uglješa Mrnjavčević (1365−1371)? The battle in which they died, regarding the destiny of the Byzantine Empire and other Balkan medieval states, was even more important in comparison to the 1389 Battle of Kosovo. That was the battle in 1371 (6879 from the creation of the world) near the River Maritza in present-day Bulgaria on September 26th.[28] The possible answers to this question are:

  1. The 1371 Battle of Maritza was far from the ancient Serbian lands in comparison to the 1389 Battle of Kosovo which was in the core of the Serbian medieval state.
  2. Prince Lazar was a ruler of the lands which were the core of the Nemanjić’s state of Serbia and, therefore, he was predestined to be a successor of the Nemanjić’s dynasty in Serbia.
  3. However, probably the crucial reason why the Mrnjavčević’s were not proclaimed as the saints is the fact that according to the false tradition, they allegedly killed the last Nemanjić − Emperor Uroš (1355−1371),[29] who, in fact, naturally died in December 1371. Therefore, according to the tradition, their destiny and murder in the 1371 Battle of Maritza were, in fact, divine punishment and consequently their dead bodies have been never found.[30]

It is important to say that for the establishment of someone’s cult the martyrdom death was indispensable, but it was not necessary to be an heroic one. It was the main reason for the fact that in all written documents the martyrdom death of Prince Lazar was always emphasized. The awareness regarding Kosovo’s Great Martyr and his martyrdom is still very alive among present-days Serbs when the whole region of Kosovo-Metochia is crucified by the Muslim Albanians who since June 1999 destroyed all monuments erected to and memories about Prince Lazar.

A Serbian well-known theologian and historian of the church, Lazar Mirković is in the opinion that Prince Lazar with his martyrdom death was automatically involved into the order of the saints because “the martyrs should not be declared for the saints or their holiness to be investigated as they are eo ipso what they suffered for Christ”.[31] In other words, their martyrdom death was undoubtedly the crucial reason for their declaration for the saints. Đorđe Trifunović is in the opinion that Prince Lazar became the saint without any official proclamation by the Serbian Orthodox Church.[32]

However, in the Serbian historiography about the issue of Prince Lazar’s cult, the most contestable question is: Was Lazar’s cult established as an organized one by the church or it started spontaneously? In other words: Was the canonization of Prince Lazar done under the church law or not? It is really beyond any doubt that according to the authors of the cult’s written documents, Prince Lazar became the saint due to two focal reasons:

1) His martyrdom death.

2) His relics were complete (not disintegrated) and spreading the holy smell (myrrh).  

The most significant fact with regard to the question of an establishment of Prince Lazar’s cult is that the historical sources are strictly telling us about the organized way of transfer of Lazar’s relics. The transfer itself was the crucial theme in both Letter concerning Prince Lazar by Patriarch Danilo III and Letter concerning Prince Lazar by an unknown author. According to several authors, the transfer of Lazar’s relics was the decisive moment in the process of an establishment of his cult. Patriarch Danilo III remarked that a decision in regard to the transfer was made in the home of the Lazarević’s. The solemn procession started in Priština (nowadays an administrative center of the province Kosovo-Metochia) where Lazar’s relics were buried firstly. From the text of the document, it is obvious that Patriarch Danilo III was present himself in this process of transfer and probably the whole process of transfer of the body was organized and conducted by him.[33] The solemn procession was accompanied by both Prince Lazar’s son-in-law Vuk Branković − a feudal land-lord of Kosovo-Metochia, and by his wife Mara − Prince Lazar’s daughter. On the road from Priština to Lazar’s monastery of Ravanica in Central Serbia, the procession spent a night in the town of Brvenik where, in the monastery of Nova Pavlica, “the holy relics” were put beside the graves of Lazar’s sister Dragana and their sons Stefan and Lazar. The procession was finished in the monastery of Ravanica where Lazar’s relics were buried again, but now as the saint’s relics. At such a way, a wish of Prince Lazar to be buried in his endowment (memorial) monastery of Ravanica was fulfilled.

It is known that for the process of the transfer only one of the cult’s texts was necessary. It is beyond any suspicion that the transfer of Lazar’s relics was organized and directed by the state and the church of Serbia. Prince Lazar’s successors initiated this process and Patriarch Danilo III organized and conducted it according to the patterns of the former transfer of the bodies of the Serbian rulers or the church’s archpriests and, of course, according to the church’s law. For the new martyr and saint Patriarch Danilo III composed the cult’s text.[34] The transfer of the relics of St. Sava (died in 1235)[35] − a founder of the Serbian independent church in 1219, from Trnovo in Bulgaria to Mileševa monastery in Serbia, the transfer of Simeon Nemanja’s relics from monastery of Chilandar in Greece to monastery of Studenica in central Serbia and their attachment to the order of the saints have been very well known to Patriarch Danilo III. He surely read The Hagiography of Saint Sava written by Theodosie in the 13th century and the texts in regard with the canonization of Simeon Nemanja written by Domentian in the same century.[36] 

However, according to the opposite opinion, the church’s council was not met and, therefore, there was no official proclamation of Prince Lazar as the saint. Nevertheless, the unknown author of The Letter concerning Prince Lazar strictly mentioned the church’s council held during the process of transfer. We can think that probably this council held a session without all members for the reason that the church’s councils in Serbia after the death of Emperor Stefan Dušan (1331−1355) were held mainly as rump councils. It can be concluded that probably in the case of Prince Lazar − “Kosovo’s great martyr”, both the process of transfer and the process of canonization have been done at the same time.[37]

Usually and officially, a proclamation for the saint has to be done only after an exhumation. According to the opinion given by Belgrade University’s Professor Rade Mihaljčić, Prince Lazar was proclaimed for the saint at an end of the transfer, just after the solemn procession arrived at Ravanica monastery and just before Prince Lazar’s relics were again buried in his memorial monastery.[38]  After finishing both of processes − transfer and canonization, it was established an annual celebration of the new saint in the church’s calendar. According to those historians who are thinking that the canonization was done during the transfer of Prince Lazar’s relics, this procession of transfer, proclamation for the saint as well as canonization of him were done very early after the 1389 Battle of Kosovo, probably only one or two years after that (in 1390 or 1391).     

  

Spreading of the Cult until 1690

The cult of Prince Lazar was established with an agreement between the family of the Lazarević’s and a hierarchy of the Serbian Orthodox Church. One part of the cult’s texts was made by Lazar’s son, a successor of the Serbian throne − Despot Stefan Lazarević (1393−1427).[39] The relatives of the Lazarević’s dynasty have been spreading this cult which was the cult of the new saint who did not trace his origin from the saint Nemanjić’s dynasty.[40] For example, a nun Jefimia, a relative of the Duchess Milica who was a wife of Prince Lazar, wrote with a golden silk well-known The Praise to Prince Lazar. Even in the charter written by the Lazarević’s in 1395/6 and 1400 issued for the Russian monastery at Athos, the Serbian Prince Lazar is mentioned as the saint Prince. Despot Stefan Lazarević ten years later gave a new charter to the monastery of Chilandar at Athos in Greece and mentioned his father “as my parent and gentleman saint Prince”.[41]  The same attribute Despot Stefan used for his father in his well-known The Mine Law. The fraternity of monastery Rusik at Athos, according to the signed special contract with Despot Stefan, was obliged to give annual celebration to the saint Prince. A family of the Branković’s, the rulers of Kosovo-Metochia in the second half of the 14th c. and the beginning of the 15th c., have been mentioning Prince Lazar as the saint Prince particularly when Prince Lazar’s daughter Mara was alive. However, after her death, Prince Lazar was mentioned in official documents issued by the Branković’s as saint Prince very rarely.[42] In the official documents issued by the Republic of Dubrovnik (Ragusa) Prince Lazar’s name was accompanied by the attribute saint, but only when those documents were sent to the Lazarević’s, but even in this case not always.[43]

As an extraordinary event, an establishment of Prince Lazar’s cult was expressed mainly in historical works: in genealogies and chronicles. However, for the authors of the older chronicles and genealogies, Lazar was only Prince, Grand Prince or a sovereign with some additional attributes, but not with the attribute saint. On the other hand, this attribute can be found in the texts which are telling us about the transfer of his relics, the act which happened just before the canonization. The authors of the younger chronicles and genealogies used very often together with the name of the Prince and an attribute saint regardless if they were describing the time before or after the canonization. The same is with some inscriptions.

A spreading of Prince Lazar’s cult can be presented and seen also on the wall-paintings at that time or later on. The saint cult of Prince Lazar was cherished on the whole territory of the Morava (Central) Serbia and in several monasteries at the Mt. Athos during the time of the Lazarević’s dynasty. However, at the time of the Lazarević’s, the portrait of Prince Lazar was wall-painted only once. It was in the endowment of Duchess Milica – a monastery of Ljubostinja. As a matter of fact, in the Serbian monastery Chilandar at Athos, it cannot be found portraits of Prince Lazar from that time. However, together with his portrait in the monastery of Ravanica after his canonization, an attribute saint was added.[44] The Serbian feudal lord Stefan Musić, a founder of Nova Pavlica monastery, did not forget to put attribute saint to Prince Lazar’s title and name beside his portrait on the wall: Blagočastivi i hristoljubivi gospodin Stefan, sin čelnika Muse i gospođe Dragane, sestre velikoga i samodržavnoga gospodina Srbljem i Podunaviju, svetoga kneza Lazara i ktitor svetoga mesta ovoga.[45] The attribute saint can be found in the church of Saint Nicholas in Chilandar where a portrait of the Serbian Prince Lazar was painted in 1667. It was the first Prince’s portrait in one of several Chilandar’s monasteries.[46] In some cases, alongside with the name of Lazar and the attribute saint, he received the title of the Emperor too. For example, in the monastery of Gornjak it is written the saint Emperor Lazar, but it is well-known that Lazar had only the title of Prince (Duke), but never he was the Emperor.[47] In addition, he did not belong to the Nemanjić’s dynasty. According to the opinion given by M. Vasić, this inscription in the monastery of Gornjak dates very after the canonization and, in fact, it is a product of the popular belief.[48]

With regard to the wall-paintings, we can conclude that there was not any Prince’s portrait within the lands which were under his power for more than two centuries after the fall of the Serbian lands under the Ottoman rule in the mid-15th c. It was the first Lazar’s portrait made in Russia. The next one was made in Orahovica in Slavonia (present-day in Croatia) which at that time (1594) was under the Ottoman rule.[49] A revival of Lazar’s cult happened four centuries later, during the time of the Serbian Patriarch Pajsije. He restored in 1633/34 a wall-painted genealogy of the dynasty of the Nemanjić’s. Beside the portrait of the first Serbian King Stefan Prvovenčani (coronated in 1217), Prince Lazar’s portrait was presented as well. After two or three years later, Prince’s portrait was wall-painted in the next monasteries and churches: Blagoveštenje Kablarsko, in the village of Jeđevica nearby Čačak in Central Serbia and in the village of Brezova nearby Ivanjica in South-West Serbia. 

In the favor of a spreading and making stronger Prince Lazar’s cult is telling us also several attempts done in order to prove that some person or family could trace its own origin from the Serbian medieval ruling dynasty − the Nemanjić’s. In this case, Prince Lazar was the crucial link whose origin was also derived from the Nemanjić’s. For instance, the origin of the Serbian Jakšić’s feudal family was traced back in their genealogy, that was made between 1563 and 1584, from Prince Lazar who was presented as originated from the saint Nemanjić’s family. This genealogy was made for the Russian Emperor Ivan the Terrible (1533−1584)[50] who wanted to connect his own origin with the ancient Serbian dynasty who had two Emperors (Душан Силни and Урош Нејаки). Prince Lazar and the Jakšić’s should be the main link between two dynasties – the Nemanjić’s of Serbia and Ivan the Terrible of Russia.[51] It is not occasionally that this genealogy was made at the time when Lazar’s cult was established in Russia. During the realm of the first Russian Emperor, Prince Lazar’s portrait was painted in the Archangel Cathedral in Kremlin which was a mausoleum for the Russian Emperors. This church was painted in 1564/65. Among the portraits of all Russian rulers before Ivan IV the Terrible, in this church were also presented portraits of the Byzantine emperor Michael VIII Palaeologus, saint Sava of Serbia, his father Simeon Nemanjić and the saint Serbian Prince Lazar. The Serbian Prince was presented in the clothing of the Russian rulers.[52]

For spreading of Lazar’s cult, the literacy was the main distributor of it, more important than anything else. To no one Serbian ruler who was proclaimed as the saint, it was devoted so huge number of texts as it was the case with Prince Lazar. However, the real literal campaign in the glory of Prince Lazar started from the time of the realm of his son Despot Stefan Lazarević. The biggest number of texts dedicated to Prince Lazar in order to firm and spread his glory and holiness was made in the form of the liturgical texts. It is the case, for instance, with both Jefimia’s inscription and the inscription on the marble column. The latter, according to the opinion by the historians of literature, was a work ordered by Despot Stefan Lazarević. A famous Slavonic philologist Pawel J. Šafařik thought that the marble column was erected exactly on the place where Prince Lazar was buried immediately after his death. However, this column was not erected as a tombstone and the inscription on it was not an epitaph.[53] This column actually was erected on the place of the 1389 Battle of Kosovo and its inscription was pointed against the Turks. It was the main reason for the fact that this column was very early destroyed by the Ottomans.[54] One of the crucial literal texts with regard to the spreading of the cult was the Hagiography of Emperor Uroš written by the Serbian Patriarch Pajsije in the mid-17th century. It was, in fact, a revival of the cult from the literal point of view. In this work, a short history with a genealogy of Prince Lazar is written.[55] The most important detail is the fact that according to Patriarch Pajsije, the Serbian Emperor Dušan adopted Prince Lazar as a son and, therefore, Prince Lazar became connected with the ruling Serbian dynasty of the Nemanjić’s.  

The monastery of Ravanica, as the main endowment of Prince Lazar, was the crucial center for spreading and further firming of his cult. The relics of “Kosovo’s great martyr” of Prince Lazar were kept and preserved in this monastery for three centuries − from 1390/91 till the First Great Serbian Migration to Hungary in 1690. In the monastery of Ravanica an ancient inscription devoted to Prince Lazar beside his portrait became more respected after his canonization in the way that the attribute saint was added. Every year the church service is devoted to Prince Lazar as the most important obligation by the monastery towards its founder up today.[56]           

One of the most important points in relation to the spreading and making stronger of Lazar’s cult is the oral tradition, namely the so-called “Kosovo’s Legend”. This oral tradition is written in several texts as, for instance, in the Janičareve uspomene ili Turska hronika by Konstantin Mihajlović from Ostrovica, or in the works by Benedikt Kuripešić and Ludovik Crijević Tuberon from Dubrovnik. The final version of “Kosovo’s Legend” is shaped in De Regno Sclavorum written by Mavro Orbin (Mauro Orbini) from Dubrovnik in 1601 that is a general history of the Slavs with particular accent to the history of the South Slavs (but mainly of the Serbs) with the claim that all Slavs are originating from the Balkans.[57] 

Generally, the cult of Prince Lazar was stronger during the Lazarević’s than after the death of Despot Stefan in 1427. There are no literal works devoted to Prince Lazar after the time of Despot Stefan Lazarević. During the first two centuries of the Ottoman lordship in the Balkans, genealogies and hagiographies were containing more facts in regard with Prince Lazar as a ruler than as a saint. In a popular tradition, Prince Lazar was presented mainly as a hero. Nevertheless, the longest period of interruption of spreading of the cult happened in the fine arts. For example, from the period of the Branković’s, it was not saved any portrait of Prince Lazar and his name was absent from the genealogies of this family. However, a revival of spreading of Lazar’s cult occurred after the First Great Serbian Migration of 1690 from Kosovo-Metochia to South Hungary (at that time part of the Habsburg Monarchy).[58]

 

The Cult from 1690 until 1800

Between the fall of the Serbian lands under the Ottoman lordship in the mid-15th c. and the First Serbian Uprising against the Turks at the beginning of the 19th c. (1804−1813),[59] the 1690 First Great Serbian Migration was the crucial historical event in the history of the Serbs. The immediate outcome of the Migration was a change of the ethnic structure of the lands south and north from the Rivers of Sava and Danube. During this migration, as a result of the Ottoman counter-offensive against the Austrian army,[60] at least 70.000 immigrants (according to some historians even c. 100.000) passed the River Sava and settled mainly the lands of South Hungary (this part of historical Hungary became after 1918 part of Serbia under the name Vojvodina).[61] Written privileges for the Serbs given by the Habsburg Emperors, who were at the same time and the Hungarian Kings, provided and guaranteed them freedom of the faith, church’s autonomy and the right to elect their own local administrative authorities. Along with a common language, faith and habits, the Serbian immigrants within the Habsburg Empire were linked to each other from the national point of view and by a strong tradition with regard to the same origins and history. In the process of a national gathering of the Serbs in the Habsburg Monarchy, but also and in linking them with the Serbs south from the River Sava, Prince Lazar’s cult had one of the most important roles. In fact, revival, new spreading and firming of the cult of St. Prince Lazar was one of the crucial points in the process of making national awareness among the Serbs in all three foreign countries where they were living: the Ottoman Empire, the Habsburg Monarchy and the Republic of Venice. In this process, an autonomous Serbian Church in the Habsburg Monarchy (the Metropolitanate of Karlovci) played the most important role.                     

During the Great Viennese War (1683−1699) between the Christian Alliance and the Ottoman Turks,[62] in 1690 the fraternity of the monastery of Lazar’s Ravanica in Central Serbia left their monastery. Altogether with other monastery valuables which the monks took with them before they left the monastery the relics of Prince Lazar were taken too and transferred to the town of Saint Andrea near Budapest in Hungary. In fact, it was the second transfer of Prince Lazar’s relics, which actually marked at the same time and the revival of his cult among the Serbs. Lazar relics, after fraternity of the monastery of Serbia’s Ravanica, came to Saint Andrea, were preserved in the newly built wooden church named also Ravanica.[63] Saint Andrea at that time was temporary headquarters of the Serbian Orthodox Church with the Patriarch Arsenije III Čarnojević (Crnojević) who led the 1690 Serbian migration from Kosovo-Metochia and Central Serbia to Hungary.

In May 1692, the Austrian Emperor and the Hungarian King Leopold I (1658−1705) confirmed the possessions to the church of new Ravanica (in Hungary) and also put this church under the imperial protection. At the same year, one small delegation of this church went to Moscow with icons of “Kosovo’s great martyr” as the presents. They succeeded to get a charter from the Russian Emperors Ivan and Petar Aleksejevich according to which, the fraternity of Ravanica had a right to collect donations in Russia every seventh year for Lazar’s endowment. It is important to notice that in this charter, which was issued in 1693, Prince Lazar of Serbia was mentioned as the saint by the Russian Emperors. Thus, the new memorial place of Prince Lazar in Hungary was completely identified with ancient one in Central Serbia through the cult of “Kosovo’s great martyr”. This delegation from the church of Ravanica in Hungary passing through the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth (the Republic of Two Nations)[64] during their return trip to Saint Andrea received new donations for the endorsement of St. Prince Lazar. This delegation probably visited and the Polish-Lithuanian court.[65] From that time it is also a wooden tablet (18,5 x 28,5  cm.) with the portrait of Prince Lazar, but as keфaлoфoр (a person who is keeping in hands his own head)[66] and a pilgrim.[67] The typography was obviously well-known for the fraternity of Ravanica. At such a way they could spread the cult cheaply and firm it among the bigger number of believers.

The relics of Prince Lazar have been for the third time transferred to the new place in 1697 when the fraternity of Saint Andrea’s Ravanica moved to Mt. Fruška Gora in Srem (today in North Serbia, but at that time it was South Hungary). Here the fraternity found an abandoned monastery of Vrdnik which was now restored and renamed into the Small Ravanica (Мала Раваница). In historical sources, those two names are identified through Lazar’s cult. However, during the next Austrian-Turkish war (1716−1718) the relics were again transferred to the new place − to the monastery of Futog as well as in Mt. Fruška Gora (the so-called Serbian Athos). Nevertheless, after this new transfer, the relics were returned back to Small Ravanica (Vrdnik). Gradually, in the course of time, a tradition that Prince Lazar established the monastery of Vrdnik was created. However, in the mid of the 18th c. believers, this tradition became a true story. This wrong tradition became a foundation for the Serbian folk song the Building of Ravanica.                      

With a restoration of both monastery of Vrdnik at the end of the 17th c. and the beginning of the 18th c. and the ancient monastery of Ravanica in Central Serbia after the Passarowitz (Пожаревац) Peace Agreement between the Habsburg Monarchy and the Ottoman Empire in 1718 there were established proper conditions for a spreading of the cult on the wider territory − northwards and southwards from the Rivers Danube and Sava.[68] The Vrdnik monastery, in fact, became a center of the cult in the Habsburg Monarchy while the original Ravanica monastery in Central Serbia had the same role within the Ottoman Empire. However, the Monastery of Vrdnik in Hungary became more important in comparison with the Monastery of Ravanica in Central Serbia with regard to a spreading of the cult for the very reason that in Vrdnik the relics of “Kosovo’s great martyr” were saved till the beginning of the Second World War.

Prince Lazar’s popularity was rapidly growing up in the 18th  c. It can be traced in the fine arts as the best example of this fact. For instance, a portrait of Prince Lazar was presented on two reliquaries in the monasteries of Krušedol and Vrdnik in South Hungary (today in Serbia). In the mid-18th c. a portrait of Prince Lazar was wall-painted in Krušedol along with the portraits of the Nemanjić’s, the Branković’s and Jovan Vladimir.[69] Further, in Moscow, two woodcuts were made in 1757 and 1758 for the monastery of Chilandar in North Greece at Mt. Athos and for the monastery of Studenica in South Serbia. On both of them, Prince Lazar was presented together with the members of the holy Nemanjić’s dynasty. On Studenica’s woodcut, the saint great Prince Lazar keeps a model of the church in his hands. A portrait of Prince Lazar can be seen as well as on the copper tablet which was donated by Mojsej Lukić from Novi Sad to the monastery of Piva in 1766.

The main part of Prince Lazar’s portraits in the 18th c. was made on the copper tablets. After the Second Great Serbian Migration from Serbia to Hungary in 1737, Prince Lazar was pictured as the keфaлoфop which was one of the special motives of the Serbian fine arts in the 18th c. The Serbian Patriarch Arsenije IV Jovanović-Šakabenda, who was a national leader during the Second Great Serbian Migration in 1737 to the Habsburg Monarchy, commissioned a copper tablet in 1741 to Christofor Žefarović and Toma Mesmer. This cooper tablet was used for the making of a special religious-political poster. This poster was sent to the Viennese court as a memorandum after the 1737 Second Great Serbian Migration. The name of this poster was: Saint Sava with the Serbian saints of the home of the Nemanjićs. However, several important members of this dynasty are excluded from the poster. At this cooper tablet, Prince Lazar is presented as the keфaлoфop.[70] In the same year, it was made by the same authors the Stematography that was, in fact, the first Serbian illustrated history and some kind of a schoolbook. Among 29 persons from the South Slavic lands, two of them are specially mentioned: Jovan Vladimir and Prince Lazar. Both of them are presented as the keфaлoфop-s.[71] Among several other Prince Lazar’s portraits, the next two are of special importance. First of them, which is not preserved in the original version, is a woodcut with Prince Lazar in a parade uniform. It is made by Christofor Žefarović in 1746. There is an opinion that the second one, a woodcut that is made by Zaharije Orfelin in 1773 is completely the same as the first one.[72]

Conclusion 

The cult’s writings upon Prince Lazar contain a number of facts relevant to the post-Kosovo Battle period of the Balkan history, above all concerning the ideology of the rulers and the state, the history of culture, religion and ethnic relations. The mission of these writings did not end with the canonization of Prince Lazar. They preserved and spread the cult of the martyr of Kosovo far outside the borders of the former state ruled by Prince Lazar. What is the most important to say is that the cult of Prince Lazar as “Kosovo’s great martyr” played for centuries together with the “Kosovo’s Legend” and “Kosovo’s Myth” a crucial role in national identification of the Serbs that is valid today as well.

 

Dr. Vladislav B. Sotirović

www.global-politics.eu/sotirovic

sotirovic@global-politics.eu

© Vladislav B. Sotirović 2019

 

Endnotes:

[1] Stefan Nemanja, born in present-day Montenegro in Ribnica near Podgorica, was a medieval ruler of Serbia known as Raška (Rascia in Latin) at that time and the founder of the most famous medieval ruling dynasty of Serbia – the Nemanjićs. He inherited part of the territory of Raška, northwest of present-day Kosovo-Metochia (KosMet), in 1166 but soon took over all of Raška which became a nucleus of the future state of Serbia and was declared the Grand Duke. In 1183, he annexed Doclea or Zeta (medieval terms for Montenegro/Crna Gora) which was, in fact, his motherland, North Albania, and KosMet. At that time, all of those three lands were inhabited by the Serbs: Doclea/Zeta and KosMet exclusively by the Serbs and North Albania together with the Albanians. In his biography written by his son, it is mentioned that he conquered in 1183 the district of Prizren in Metochia while the rest of Metochia was included into Raška up to his abdication from the throne in 1196. His successor and son Grand Duke and King Stefan Prvovenčani (1196‒1228) annexed the western portions of KosMet from the Byzantine Empire [В. Ћоровић, Историја Срба, Београд: БИГЗ, 1993, 131−149; С. Станојевић, Сви српски владари: Биографије српских (са црногорским и босанским) и преглед хрватских владара, Београд: Отворена књига, 2015, 25−34].   

[2] On the history of the Serbian Orthodox Church, see in [Đ. M. Slijepčević, Istorija srpske pravoslavne crkve, I‒III, Münich: Iskra, 1962‒1986; P. Pavlovich, History of the Serbian Orthodox Church, Toronto: Serbian Heritage Books, 1989].

[3] About the 1389 Battle of Kosovo, see more in [Р. Пековић, Косовска битка: Мит, легенда и стварност, Београд: Литера, 1987; Ј. Калић, Срби у позном Средњем веку, друго издање, Београд: ЈП Службени лист, 2001, 57−64].

[4] R. Elsie, Historical Dictionary of Kosova, Lanham, Maryland‒Toronto‒Oxford: The Scarecrow Press, Inc., 2004, 95.

[5] KosMet is an abbreviated term for historical Serbia’s province of Kosovo-Metochia. The term was in use until December 1968 when the Yugoslav Communist authorities replaced it by only the term Kosovo (Kosova in Albanian) for the sake to politically more link the province with the Albanian population and, therefore, to more alienate it from Serbia, the Serbs, and Serbian history and culture. The problem with the term Metochia was in essence of the political nature as it is in direct association with the Serbian national, historical, and cultural background. Metochia as a geographical region of the western part of the province of Kosovo-Metochia is originally meaning the “church land”, i.e. the huge portions of West KosMet which historically belong to the Serbian Orthodox Church. The term Metochia is derived from the Greek word metoch – the land belonging to the church or the monastery usually granted by the feudal lords (magnates) or the rulers. Politically, the term Metochia shows no Albanian historical connections with the province but only the Serbian ones. Geographically, Metochia is the populated and fertile plain running from the city of Peć down to the city of Prizren (for the Serbs – the “Serbian Constantinople” as Prizren was in the Middle Ages a capital of Serbia). The term KosMet is applied for the whole province, with the term Kosovo referring only to its western part. The Albanian-language equivalent of Metochia is Dukagjin – a term derived from the Latin dux (Duke).    

[6] On the Balkan Wars, see in [Б. Ратковић, М. Ђуришић, С. Скоко, Србија и Црна Гора у Балканским ратовима 1912−1913, Друго издање, Београд: БИГЗ, 1972].

[7] J. von Hammer, Historija Turskog/Osmanskog/Carstva, 1, Zagreb: Nerkez Smailagić, 1979, 73−75.

[8] В. Ћоровић, Историја Срба, Београд: БИГЗ, 1993, 260.

[9] About a phenomenon of “imagined community” as a collective identity feature, see in [B. Anderson, Imagined Communities, London: Verso, 1983].

[10] About the connection of myths and conflicts in the case of KosMet, see Western approach in [K. Drezov, Bulent G., D. Kostovičová (eds.), Kosovo: Myths, Conflict and War, Keele: European Research Centre, 1999].

[11] М. Јовић, К. Радић, Српске земље и владари, Крушевац: Друштво за неговање историјских и уметничких вредности, 1990, 111−112; Ј. Калић, Срби у позном Средњем веку, друго издање, Београд: ЈП Службени лист, 2001, 139−186.

[12] R. Elsie, Historical Dictionary of Kosova, Lanham, Maryland‒Toronto‒Oxford: The Scarecrow Press, Inc., 2004, 180‒181.

[13] М. Чупић, Отета земља: Косово и Метохија (злочини, прогони, отпори…), Београд: Нолит, 2006; H. Hofbauer, Eksperiment Kosovo: Povratak kolonijalizma, Beograd: Albatros Plus, 2009.

[14] On the crucified Christian Serbian KosMet by the local Muslim Albanians in 1999, see [Lj. Folić, Crucified Kosovo: Destroyed and Desecrated Serbian Orthodox Churches in Kosovo and Metohija, June-October 1999, Belgrade: Glas Kosova i Metohije, 1999].

[15] Đ. Trifunović, Srpski srednjovekovni spisi o knezu Lazaru i Kosovskom boju, Kruševac, 1968, 451−452; “Slovo o svetom knezu Lazaru Andonija Rafaila”, Zbornik istorije književnosti SANU, Vol. 10, 1976, 147−179.

[16] About this issue, see in [G. Castellan, History of the Balkans: From Mohammed the Conqueror to Stalin, New York: Columbia University Press, 1992, 49−98].

[17] A. F. Giljferding, Putovanje po Hercegovini, Bosni i Staroj Srbiji, Sarajevo, 1972, 241.

[18] D. Bogdanović, “Stara srpska biblioteka”, Letopis Matice srpske, Vol. 408/5, 1971, 408−432.

[19] Đ. Trifunović, Srpski srednjovekovni spisi o knezu Lazaru i Kosovskom boju, Kruševac, 1968, 365−371.

[20] About Kosovo’s myth and ideology between the heaven and earth, see in [R. Popović, Kosovo i na nebu i na zemlji, Beograd: Udruženje izdavača i knjižara Jugoslavije, 1994].

[21] Ibid., 343.

[22] On religion and national identity in KosMet, see in [G. Duijzings, Religion and the Politics of Identity in Kosovo, London: C. Hurst, 2000].

[23] On national identity, nationalism, and the power of ideology, see in [E. Gellner, Nations and Nationalism, Oxford: Blackwell, 1983; A. Smith, National Identity, Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1991; W. Connor, Ethnonationalism, Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1994; S. Malešević, “Nationalism and the Power of Ideology”, G. Delanty, K. Kumar (eds.), The SAGE Handbook of Nations and Nationalism, London‒Thousand Oaks‒New Delhi: SAGE Publications, 2006, 307‒319].

[24] Č. Mitrović, “O pravu proglašavanja svetaca u staro doba”, Istočnik, Vol. XXI−17−18, Beograd, 1907, 385−390.

[25] L. Mirković, “Uvrštenje despota Stefana Lazarevića u red svetitelja”, Bogoslovlje, II−3, 1932, 165.

[26] It is very important to notice that Prince Lazar was born in Kosovo-Metochia in Prilepac near Novo Brdo in 1329 [М. Стевановић, Душаново царство, Београд: Књига-комерц, 2001, 193].

[27] Vukašin Mrnjavčević (King since 1365) was faithful to the Emperor Uroš until he understood that the Emperor was not capable to rule the empire. He became the King with the blessing of the Emperor Uroš [С. Станојевић, Сви српски владари: Биографије српских (са црногорским и босанским) и преглед хрватских владара, Београд: Отворена књига, 2015, 61].

[28] М. Стевановић, Душаново царство, Београд: Књига-комерц, 2001, 188−193.

[29] С. Станојевић, Сви српски владари: Биографије српских (са црногорским и босанским) и преглед хрватских владара, Београд: Отворена књига, 2015, 61.

[30] Lj. Stojanović, Rodoslovi i letopisi, Sremski Karlovci: SKA, XVI, 1927, 208−209.

[31] L. Mirković, “Uvrštenje despota Stefana Lazarevića u red svetitelja”, Bogoslovlje, II−3, 1932, 166.

[32] Đ. Trifunović, Srpski srednjovekovni spisi o Knezu Lazaru i Kosovskom boju, Kruševac, 1968, p. 204.

[33] A. Vukomanović, “O knezu Lazaru”, Glasnik Društva srpske slovesnosti”, Vol. 11, Beograd, 1859, 177.

[34] R. Mihaljčić, Lazar Hrebeljanović, Istorija, kult, predanje, Beograd: BIGZ, 1989, 152.

[35] About biography of St. Sava, see in [М. Црњански, Свети Сава, друго издање, Шабац: Глас Цркве, 1988].

[36] V. Ćorović, “Siluan i Danilo II, srpski pisci XIV−XV veka”, Glas Srpske Kraljevske akademije, CXXXVI-72, 1929, 95, 97.

[37] R. Mihaljčić, Lazar Hrebeljanović, Istorija, kult, predanje, Beograd: BIGZ, 1989, 155.

[38] Ibid.

[39] Stanoje Stanojević is mistaken in his claim that Despot Stefan Lazarević ruled Serbia since 1389 as it was, in fact, since 1393 [С. Станојевић, Сви српски владари: Биографије српских (са црногорским и босанским) и преглед хрватских владара, Београд: Отворена књига, 2015, 69].

[40] Lj. Stojanović, “Stari srpski zapisi i natpisi”, Zbornik za IJK SAN, I, 56, 175, Beograd−Sremski Karlovci, 1902−1926.

[41] S. Novaković, Zakonski spomenici srpskih država srednjeg veka, Beograd, 1912, 462.

[42] Ibid., 223.

[43] Lj. Stojanović, Stare srpske povelje i pisma, I-1, Beograd−Sremski Karlovci, 1929, 1934, 180, 182, 184, 186, 190−193, 196, 200, 201, 216, 219, 224, 227.

[44] G. Babić, Vladarske insignije kneza Lazara, Beograd, 66.

[45] V. Petković, Starine, Beograd, 42.

[46] D. Bogdanović, Hilandar u srednjem veku, Hilandar−Beograd, 1978, 46, 48; S. Petković, „Kult kneza Lazara i srpsko slikarstvo XVII veka”, Zbornik za likovne umetnosti, Vol. 7, Beograd, 1971, 90.

[47] In the Serbian language and the medieval tradition, the title Emperor was used as car (цар) – a term derived from the personal name of Gaius Julius Caesar [С. Ћирковић, Р. Михаљчић (приредили), Лексикон српског средњег века, Београд: Knowledge, 1999, 789].

[48] M. Vasić, Žiča i Lazarica, Beograd, 1928, 112.

[49] S. Petković, “Kult kneza Lazara i srpsko slikarstvo XVII veka”, Zbornik za likovne umetnosti, Vol. 7, Beograd, 1971, 94–95.

[50] About Russia in the time of Ivan the Terrible, see in [J. Anisimov, Rusijos istorija nuo Riuriko iki Putino: Žmonės. Įvykiai. Datos, Vilnius: Mokslo ir enciklopedijų leidybos centras, 2014, 128−146].

[51] S. Petković, “Ivan Grozni i kult kneza Lazara u Rusiji”, O knezu Lazaru, Beograd, 1975, 312−314.

[52] Ibid.

[53] R. Mihaljčić, Lazar Hrebeljanović, Istorija, kult, predanje, Beograd: BIGZ, 1989, 165.

[54] L. Mirković, “Šta znači mramorni stub podignut na mestu kosovske bitke i šta kaže natpis na ovom stubu?”, Zbornik Matice srpske za književnost i jezik”, IX−X, 1961−1962, 5−6.

[55] Stare srpske biografije, Beograd, 146; S. Radojičić, Portreti srpskih vladara u srednjem veku, Skoplje, 1934, 50, 80.

[56] S. Troicki, “Ktitorsko pravo u Vizantiji i nemanjićkoj Srbiji”, Glas SKA, Beograd, LXVIII, 1925, 121. 

[57] M. Orbin, Kraljevstvo Slovena, Beograd, 1968, 101.

[58] About this migration, see in [R. Samardžić i drugi, Kosovo i Metohija u srpskoj istoriji, Beograd: SKZ, 1989, 127−142; С. Чакић, Велика сеоба Срба 1689/90 и патријарх Арсеније III Црнојевић, Нови Сад: Добра вест, 1990].

[59] On the First Serbian Uprising against the Ottoman authority, see in [Р. М. Ђорђевић, Србија у устанку 1804−1813., Београд: Рад, 1979].

[60] П. Рокаи, З. Ђере, Т. Пал, А. Касаш, Историја Мађара, Београд: CLIO, 2002, 302.

[61] D. J. Popović, Velika seoba Srba 1690., Beograd, 1954, 32−51.

[62] About this war, see in [Ж. Димић, Велики Бечки рат и Карловачки мир, Београд: VERZALpress, 1999].

[63] V. Petković, Manastir Ravanica, Beograd, 1922, 12.

[64] S. Samalavičius, An Outline of Lithuanian History, Vilnius: Diemedis leidykla, 1995, 63−64.

[65] St. M. Dimitrijević, “Građa za srpsku istoriju iz ruskih arhiva i biblioteka”, Spomenik SKA, LIII, Beograd, 1922, 213−218.

[66] During the 1389 Battle of Kosovo, Prince Lazar was captured by the Ottomans and beheaded.

[67] D. Davidov, Srpska grafika XVIII veka, Novi Sad, 1978, 245−246.

[68] One of the consequences of the geopolitical situation in the 18th-century Balkans was the Islamization of the region especially of Kosovo-Metochia [G. Castellan, History of the Balkans from Mohammed the Conqueror to Stalin, New York: Columbia University Press, 1992, 201].

[69] D. Medaković, “Zidno slikarstvo manastira Krušedola”, Zbornik Filozofskog fakulteta u Beogradu, XVIII−2, Beograd, 1964, 601−616.

[70] D. Davidov, Srpska grafika XVIII veka, Novi Sad, 1978, 354−371.

[71] D. Davidov, Stematografija, izobraženije oružaj iliričeskih, Novi Sad, 1972, 8−9.

[72] D. Davidov, Srpska grafika XVIII veka, Novi Sad, 1978, 135−137.


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Czech President Zeman: Deputy PM of Kosovo is a War Criminal
Miloš Zeman said in an interview for the Serbian newspaper Večernje novosti, that recognition of Kosovo’s independence has opened a Pandora’s Box and called the Kosovo deputy Prime Minister Hashim Thaçi a war criminal. Zeman, among other things, confirmed that he will travel to Moscow for the celebrations of the end of the Second World War because the Soviet army liberated most of the former Czechoslovakia. The Czech president has openly expressed himself on Kosovo in the past, for example he labeled the country a very strange state with a strong narco-mafia influence. This article originally appeared at Hospodářské Noviny. Translated for RI by Anthony Grulich The recognition of ...
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Trump is Advised by Liars, Like Bush Was
As will be shown here, the U.S. federal government, under President Donald Trump, is repeating the very same deception of the public, in regard to Syria’s Bashar al-Assad, that it had perpetrated back in 2002, against Iraq’s Saddam Hussein, under U.S. President George W. Bush. (By contrast, and for secret reasons, the U.S. federal government does everything possible to downplay the barbarisms, such as are occurring in Yemen, that are perpetrated by the fundamentalist Sunni Kings of Saudi Arabia, and Emirs of Qatar, even while exaggerating the barbarisms by the fundamentalist Shiite clerics who control Iran — a key ally ...
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Understanding NATO, Ending War
On 4 April 2019, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, better known as NATO, marked the 70th anniversary of its existence with a conference attended by the foreign ministers of member nations in Washington DC. This will be complemented by a meeting of the heads of state of member nations in London next December.Coinciding with the anniversary event on 4 April, peace activists and concerned scholars in several countries conducted a variety of events to draw attention to, and further document, the many war crimes and other atrocities committed by NATO (sometimes by deploying its associate and crony terrorist armies – ISIS, ...
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NATO’s Reign of Terror in Kosovo & the Destruction of Yugoslavia
The following text was written in the immediate wake of the 1999 NATO bombings of Yugoslavia and the invasion of Kosovo by NATO troops. It is now well established that the war on Yugoslavia was waged on a fabricated humanitarian pretext and that extensive war crimes were committed by NATO and the US. In retrospect, the war on Yugoslavia was a “dress rehearsal” for subsequent US-NATO sponsored humanitarian wars including Afghanistan (2001), Iraq (2003), Libya (2011), Syria (2011), Ukraine (2014). Who are the war criminals? In a bitter irony, the so-called International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) in The Hague is controlled ...
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Kosovostan – Islamization of EuroChristian Kosovo: Photo Evidence
Photo evidence of a rapid Islamization of EuroChristian southern province of the Republic of Serbia - Kosovo-Metochia. The province is occupied by NATO gangsters in June 1999 and since that time the province is experiencing massive destruction of Serbian Christian Orthodox churches and monasteries followed by building of new mosques by Muslim Albanians. Financial support for Islamization of Kosovo-Metochia is of three sources: 1) Muslim Albanian diaspora living & working in Western countries; 2) The Wahhabites of Saudi Arabia; and 3) Other Sunni Islamic countries especially Turkey. During the last 15 years there were more built mosques than during 400 years of Ottoman ...
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Native American Genocide
The term Genocide derives from the Latin (genos=race, tribe; cide=killing) and means literally the killing or murder of an entire tribe or people. The Oxford English Dictionary defines genocide as “the deliberate and systematic extermination of an ethnic or national group” and cites the first usage of the term as R. Lemkin, Axis Rule in Occupied Europe, (1944) p.79. “By ‘genocide’ we mean the destruction of a nation or an ethnic group.” The U.N. General Assembly adopted this term and defended it in 1946 as “….a denial of the right of existence of entire human groups.” Most people tend to associate ...
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ISIS and the Kosovar Albanians
U.S. air strikes continue against the terrorists of the so-called “Islamic State” — formerly the “Islamic State of Iraq and Syria” or ISIS — in the borderlands of Iraqi Kurdistan. American military action has been impelled by the genocidal ISIS threat to Christians and various small Kurdish and other religious minorities, including Yazidis, whose faith is linked to Zoroastrianism, and the ancient monotheistic community of Mandaeans. Meanwhile, questions about the extremist movement and its foreign recruits have spread throughout the Muslim lands and the Muslim minority communities in the West, from Belgium to Australia. On Monday, August 11, authorities in the ...
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Terrorists or “Freedom Fighters”? Recruited by the CIA
Note: First published by GR in February 2015 in the wake of the Charlie Hebdo Terror Attacks. The barbarous phenomenon we recently witnessed in France has roots that go back to at least 1979 when the mujahedeen made their appearance in Afghanistan. At that time their ire was directed at the leftist Taraki government that had come into power in April of 1978. This government’s ascension to power was a sudden and totally indigenous happening – with equal surprise to both the USA and the USSR. In April of 1978 the Afghan army deposed the country’s government because of its oppressive measures, ...
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1897. Public Record Office. --- Image by © Heritage Images/Corbis
‘Blowing from a Gun’ depicted by Vasily Vereshchagin in his painting ‘Suppression of the Indian Revolt by the English’ on the rebellion of 1857. Queen Victoria’s agent bought this painting, in an attempt to suppress it. ‘Blowing from the Gun’ was a means of execution where the prisoner is tied to the muzzle of a cannon, which is then fired, popping the victim’s head about 15 meters (50 feet) into the air, apparently a sort of juvenile entertainment for the colonizers. Following colonization, along came ‘decolonization’ and what do you suppose happened with colonial borders? They mostly remained as laid down ...
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The Jihadist Threat in the EU
The forthcoming USA-Russian joint action against ISIS together with Iraqi-Syrian and Turkish military advance will soon neutralize ISIS possibilities to claim a stake of a statehood in the Levant region. Nonetheless, the number of radicalized persons in Europe is increasing as also the number of Jihadist fighters returning back into the EU-thus at first glance we should see a rise in the terrorism phenomenon in the coming years. Furthermore the existence of multiple fronts where Jihadists are trained and fight nowadays such as :Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Sahel region, Nigeria, Sudan , Yemen, Sinai; brings us to the conclusion that we ...
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The Balkan Vlachs (2)
The Vlachs in Albania  Albania’s Vlach community is living in the southern part of the country, which has its historical name – North Epirus.[1] They are dispersed from the city of Gjirokastër in the south to the city of Elbasan in Central Albania. However, the largest Vlach concentration is in the areas of the cities of Gjirokastër, Korçë, and Përmet in the southernmost part of Albania where they live together with the Orthodox Greeks, Albanians and Macedonians.[2] The number of Albanian Vlachs is estimated from 35,000 to 100,000, but some researchers raise this figure to almost 200,000 (that is around 1–2,5% ...
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The Continued Conflict in Kosovo: The Outright “Criminalization” of the Pristina Government
Since the disintegration of Yugoslavia in the nineties, its former constituent republics have been mired in a state of perpetual conflict.Nowhere is this more apparent than the contested state of Kosovo.In 1998, Albanian separatists in the Serbian province of Kosovo i Metohija began a campaign of attacks, with the express objective of creating a unified, ethnically homogenous, Greater Albanian state. Spearheaded by an organization known as the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA), which is widely regarded by many nations, including the United States, as a terrorist organization, ethnic Albanian militants attacked Serbian security forces, and terrorized civilians in a brutally violent ...
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The Albanian Origin: The Main Challenges of Research
We must be clear on the meaning of Albanian autochthony, anthroponymy and ethnogenesis. Actually, the question is: have the Albanians lived without interruption in the  present-day “ethnic” territories of the Albanians (Albania, the Eastern Montenegro, Kosovo and Metohija, the Southern Central Serbia, the Western Macedonia and the Northern Epirus in Greece) since the ancient Greek and Roman times? In the other words, are the Albanians really the indigenous people of the Balkans as they claim or just newcomers to their present-day ethnic territories?  It is true, however, that the question of the Illyrian ethnic and cultural background of present-day Albanians ...
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The Empire Wants Ms. Hitllary Clinton, The Conqueror!
What a fine race it has become! Both Hilary Clinton and Donald Trump are competing in it as a who is the ‘tougher guy/gal’ in what could be easily described as a 21st Century Tarantino-style (or Scorsese-style) political pulp fiction gore. What they both utter, may often sound like some staged bluff: “Are you talking to me? Hey, there’s nobody else here… Are you talking to me?” But just think for a moment what would really happen if one of them sticks to his or her ‘promises’ and ‘principles’, after getting elected! (The bullets would be flying, the nukes exploding, and millions ...
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Blowback: Afghanistan and Bosnia
As the U.S. and NATO casualties rise from the war in Afghanistan, with 2010 being the deadliest year of the nine-year war for the U.S., the question needs to be asked of how we got involved in that interminable and unwinnable conflict? The Afghan war has been dubbed Barack Obama’s War but its origins go back much earlier. Is the U.S. military disaster in Afghanistan an instance of blowback? What is the standard definition of “blowback”? The U.S. intervenes illegally in a volatile and unstable scenario and over time the consequences of that criminality come back to reek havoc on U.S. ...
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Europe’s Palmyra: How Kosovo’s Medieval Serbian Christian Culture was Demolished by Muslim Albanians
Serbia organized an exhibition of cultural and historical heritage of Kosovo and Metohija in Paris, the headquarters of UNESCO, to serve as a reminder to the West of how they let it be destroyed since the 2000s. There is a lot of Serbian cultural heritage in Kosovo and Metohija. Now, Kosovo is an independent state, partially recognized by Western countries. But the world was shocked by anti-Serbian riots organized by Albanians during the Kosovo unrest in 2004. Many Serbian monuments were damaged in the chaos. Albanian extremists living in Kosovo, since the 2000s, have continued to raid and damage Serbian cultural heritage ...
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Genocide in the Ottoman Empire: Armenians, Assyrians, and Greeks, 1913-1923
The Asia Minor and Pontos Hellenic Research Center is pleased to announce a new book, Genocide in the Ottoman Empire: Armenians, Assyrians, and Greeks, 1913-1923. Edited by George N. Shirinian. New York and Oxford: Berghahn Books, 2017. 433 pages. The final years of the Ottoman Empire were catastrophic for its non-Turkish, non-Muslim minorities. From 1913 to 1923, its rulers deported, killed, or otherwise persecuted staggering numbers of men, women and children in an attempt to preserve “Turkey for the Turks,” setting a modern precedent for how a regime can commit genocide against its own citizens in pursuit of political ends, while ...
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The Balkan Vlachs (4)
The Vlachs in Romania  The territory of Romania is considered by a significant number of the Balkan Vlachs as their real motherland (for the reason that it is the only state of the neo-Latin speakers in South-East Europe) or the national state of the Vlachs regardless on the fact that they are not originating from Romania. Outstandingly, the Romanian intellectuals (especially the linguists) and politicians expressed during the last century and a half a high level of attention to all neo-Latin speaking groups in South-East Europe claiming that all of them belong to the Romanian nationality. Accordingly, the leading theory about ...
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Bosnia, Cyprus and Kosovo: America and Islamism in the Balkans
The conflicts that engulfed the former Yugoslavia still remain unresolved in the political arena and open to Western political shenanigans and covert meddling from Turkey and Saudi Arabia in Bosnia and Kosovo.  Orthodox Christianity faces many attacks and only a naïve individual would claim that America and the hands of Turkey and Saudi Arabia are clean. Central Bosnia in 2016: Flags of the ISIS America and other Western nations did little to stop Turkey invading Cyprus in 1974 and creating a de-facto nation and altering the demographics of northern Cyprus and using this area for military purposes. Irrespective of the rights and wrongs ...
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What is a Politics?
Read our Disclaimer/Legal Statement! Donate to Support Us We would like to ask you to consider a small donation to help our team keep working. We accept no advertising and rely only on you, our readers, to keep us digging the truth on history, global politics and international relations.
READ MORE
Czech President Zeman: Deputy PM of Kosovo is a War Criminal
Trump is Advised by Liars, Like Bush Was
Understanding NATO, Ending War
NATO’s Reign of Terror in Kosovo & the Destruction of Yugoslavia
Kosovostan – Islamization of EuroChristian Kosovo: Photo Evidence
Native American Genocide
ISIS and the Kosovar Albanians
Terrorists or “Freedom Fighters”? Recruited by the CIA
The Western World’s Joke: Decolonization
The Jihadist Threat in the EU
The Balkan Vlachs (2)
The Continued Conflict in Kosovo: The Outright “Criminalization” of the Pristina Government
The Albanian Origin: The Main Challenges of Research
The Empire Wants Ms. Hitllary Clinton, The Conqueror!
Blowback: Afghanistan and Bosnia
Europe’s Palmyra: How Kosovo’s Medieval Serbian Christian Culture was Demolished by Muslim Albanians
Genocide in the Ottoman Empire: Armenians, Assyrians, and Greeks, 1913-1923
The Balkan Vlachs (4)
Bosnia, Cyprus and Kosovo: America and Islamism in the Balkans
What is a Politics?
Policraticus

Written by Policraticus

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