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on june 27th the Department of Philosophy and History at the academy hosted a public session during which lec- tures on Kosovo were given by Franjo Rački and Tomas Maretić.23
The Serbian Royal academy of arts and Sciences opened the period of celebration in Serbia with a commemorative session in Belgrade on june 11, 1889. Čedomir Mijatović, Serbia’s minister of foreign affairs and a great patriot, be- gan the festivities with an emotional, romantic address on the meaning of Kosovo:
“an inexhaustible source of national pride was discov- ered on Kosovo. More important than language and stron- ger than the Church, this pride unites all Serbs in a single nation ...The glory of the Kosovo heroes shone like a radi- ant star in that dark night of almost 500 years... Our peo- ple continued the battle in the 16th, 17th, and 18th centuries when they tried to recover their freedom through count- less uprisings. There was never a war for freedom (and when was there no war) in which the spirit of the Kosovo heroes did not participate! The new history of Serbia begins with Kosovo—a history of valiant efforts, long suffering, endless wars and unquenchable glory... Karadjordje breathed with the breath of Kosovo, and the Obrenović placed Kosovo in the coat of arms of their dynasty. We bless Kosovo because the memory of the Kosovo heroes upheld us, encouraged us, taught us and guided us.”24
These sentiments were echoed later that month in Kru- ševac, where the most important of the Serbian memorials to Kosovo was held. arsa Pajević, a writer from Novi Sad, attended the events in Kruševac and left us a typically ro- mantic chronicle of the festivities. For Pajević the first day was one of intense emotion—even the mountains seemed to raise their heads higher, straining as if to see that day 500 years before. The commemoration began with a service in the Church of Lazarica followed by an outdoor service of prayer for the souls of those who died on Kosovo. The met- ropolitan of the Serbian Church delivered the sermon, which was inspired primarily by the epic tradition of Koso- vo. He concluded his brief remarks with a prayer beseech- ing Lazar and all the martyrs of Kosovo to intercede with God to seek His help in restoring the Serbian empire and unifying the whole Serbian nation.25
23 Cf.FranjoRački,“BojnaKosovu:uzrociiposljedice”,Radjugo- slavenske akademije znanosti i umjetnosti, XCVii (Zagreb 1889), pp. 1–68; and T. Maretić, “Kosovski junaci i dogadjaji u narodnoj epici”, Rad jugoslavenske akademije znanosti i umjetnosti, XCVii (Zagreb 1889), pp. 69–181. in spite of travel restrictions, some Croatians man- aged to make their way to the celebrations in Serbia. adam Mandro- vić, the most famous Croatian actor of his day, traveled to Belgrade to play the role of Prince Lazar in the premier of Miloš Cvetić’s play, “Prince Lazar.”
24 Čedomir Mijatović, “Kosovo: Beseda Čedomira Mijatovića u svečanoj sednici Kraljevske akademije, 11 june, 1889”, Otadžbina, 22 (1889), p. HiVf.
25 Branko Peruničić, Kruševac u jednom veku (Kruševac 1971), pp. 33–37.
The Kosovo Legacy
in the evening after vespers a large procession led by King aleksandar wound its way through Kruševac to the center of the city, where a foundation stone was laid for a monument to honor the heroes of Kosovo. The site was covered with wreaths, and one of them in particular im- pressed the crowd. Sent to Kruševac by a Czech organiza- tion in Prague, it was made of 2,000 laurel leaves, on each of which was sewn a card with the wishes and signatures of individual Czech sympathizers. On the silk sash across the wreath were written the words: “The Czech Nation 1389 +27/6 1889. From Ashes to Greatness.”26
The 500th anniversary commemorations were more suc- cessful than anyone could have imagined. in spite of all the attempts at repression, the anniversary of Kosovo became a popular symbol in the struggle for the liberation of all South Slavs from foreign rule. To many who still yearned for their freedom, the Kosovo ethic sounded a note of hope. about 15,000 people made their way to Vrdnik for the cel- ebration that had been organized by the commission in Ruma; and in the heart of Ottoman Serbia midnight prayers were sung in the Serbian Monasteries of Peć, Dečani and Gračanica.27 The sentiments of many were expressed in an article in Obzor on july 1st, 1889. although banned three times that day, the newspaper managed to publish the fol- lowing:
“Opponents of the national idea must recognize that two accomplishments were made in their beautiful cele- bration. it brought Serbs and Croats closer together, and it ignited the smoldering embers on Lazar’s grave into full flames, which will not be easy to extinguish.”28
The celebration also excited the imagination of Slavs throughout europe. a Slavophile newspaper in Russia, for example, termed Kosovo the “Serbian Troy” and called on all Russians to recognize it as such. “Not to praise the mem- ory of Kosovo in Russia,” the article argued, “means trea- son to Slavic ethnic feeling.”29 in Vienna, South Slav youth gathered in their respective clubs and in outdoor parties to remember the heroes of Kosovo. The Russian embassy in the austrian city commemorated the event in their chapel with the assistance of the Serbian academic Society “Zora” and the Croatian academic Society “Zvonimir.” in St. Pe- tersburg there was a requiem service in St. isaac’s, while in athens black flags flew from the city’s churches. Most of the Serbian colony in Paris attended a service in the Russian church, and articles on Kosovo appeared in many French journals including Debats, Temps, Republique Francaise, Voltaire, Mot d’Ordre, and Petit Journal.
Something that was not accomplished in time for the 1889 celebration, and that would probably have prevented the competition between Ruma and Belgrade, was the
26 Ibid., pp. 38–40.
27 Cf. Petrović, “Petstogodišnjica”, p. 4; Obzor, No 150 (july 2, 1889), pp. 1f.
28 Novak, “Kako su Hrvati proslavili”, p. 5. 29 Petrović, op cit., pp. 3f.

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