Page 320 - Kosovo Metohija Heritage
P. 320

 Milica Bakić-Hayden
Christ before Annas, detail, Church of the Holy apostles, nave, west wall of the west bay, the Patriarchate of Peć, ca. 1300
in Serbia proper, the beginning of the 1889 anniver- sary celebration was marked with a commemorative ses- sion of the Serbian Royal academy of arts and Sciences in Belgrade on june 11, and continued until june 28, the famous St. Vitus’ Day (Vidovdan).23 The speeches on these occasions varied from those with more pragmatic con- cerns—such as Colonel jovan Mišković’s appeal to learn the lessons of Kosovo and keep newly independent Ser- bia militarily strong and united—to those with more ro- mantic and emotional overtones, such as the one by Če-
23 in popular, folk and epic traditions of Kosovo, “Vidovdan” (St. Vitu’s Day) refers to the date of the 1389 battle of Kosovo, june 15 (of the julian calendar) or june 28 (of the Gregorian). it is also remem- bered as the day of Prince Lazar’s death. However, the political ar- ticulation of the Kosovo tradition in the early nineteenth century was buttressed by the increased promotion of this day in a patriotic rhetoric as a national holiday. There is some evidence that Vid (“sight”), otherwise known as a pre-Christian Slavic deity, was tied to a certain heroic cult: indeed, the words of Miloš Obilić before the battle suggest that the day was already known as a day of dueling (“tomorrow is the wonderful day of Vid/ we shall see on the field of Kosovo/ who is loyal and who disloyal”); see Vuk, II. 49. III; Popović, Vidovdan 50–64.
domil Mijatović, Serbian minister of foreign affairs whose opening speech about Kosovo as an “inexhaustible source of national pride” epitomized the prevalent mood of the celebration:
“More important than language and stronger than Church, this pride unites all Serbs in a single nation... The new history of Serbia begins with Kosovo—a history of valiant efforts, long suffering, endless wars, and unquench- able glory... We bless Kosovo because of the memory of the Kosovo heroes upheld us, encouraged us, taught us, and guided us.”24
in addition to state and cultural functions, including a new edition of the Kosovo epic poems from Vuk’s col- lection, the main celebration was in the form of sermons in churches and monasteries stressing Lazar’s martyrdom and the heroic death of his knights as well as hope in God’s blessing of the effort of the Serbian people to unify the whole Serbian nation.25
25 Quoted in emmert, Serbian Golgotha, p. 129.

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