Page 612 - Kosovo Metohija Heritage
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Radovan Samardžić
and hymns dedicated to them portrayed the hagiographies of Serbian rulers and archbishops. The teachings of St. Sa- va, later named the svetosavlje, consisted not only of the Serbian religious Christian Orthodoxy, but the loyalty of the Serbs to the state and laws of the Nemanjić dynasty. all levels of society had the same, or at least similar, traditions that fulfilled their daily lives and permeated the country- side with a specific spirituality, so that every bush and ev- ery rock had a voice of its own. The Serbs were a tame, noble, sensitive people inclined to emotional outbursts and swift changes in their collective temperament even though they were mostly peasants, living in scattered villages, they often gathered in squares, in front of the feudal mansions, and especially around churches and monasteries where they would rejoice in listening to each other sing (if they did not argue over who was to sing), when they were not immersed in listening to a holy liturgy. By expanding the boundaries of the state, the Serbian rulers and feudal lords enlarged the number of their endowments and with them, the cult of St. Sava. On the other hand, an uncommon reli- gious tolerance existed in Serbia. The explanation lies in the fact that a noticeable part of its population, in Littoral in particular, practiced the Roman Catholic faith. These were not only foreigners, but Serbs as well, who, unham- pered in their religious feeling, played a significant role in the Serbian government, diplomacy and economy.
in the Middle ages, a plain, later to be named Kosovo, that was spread out between the mountains, became the heart of Serbian civilization after 1204. The region was densely populated owing to developed agriculture, live- stock breeding and, above all, mining, all of which consid- erably enriched the Serbian state. Beside the plowmen, stock-breeders, craftsmen and numerous miners, a con- siderable number of the Serbian nobility was centered there. it was most probably these noblemen who leaving their castles in 1389 assembled to fight the Ottomans to their death. like the rulers in the West, the Nemanjić’s, too, had several castles where they would occasionally stay and whence they justly ruled the country. These castles, built frequently as mighty fortresses, were built on the smallest possible distance from Kosovo and its neighboring regions, which is proof enough that here lay the demographic, eco- nomic and political center of Serbia. Continuing further, the most firmly embedded trace imprinted on this ground is the number of churches and monasteries congregated on circumscribed space, proud in their magnificence, the inimitable beauty of architectural design, frescos, rich inte- rior ornamentation and wealth of treasure; no other place, except perhaps on the coast, saw the Serbs build so many municipal churches as in Kosovo. The region in time de- veloped not only into a compact core of medieval Serbian civilization, but became the sacred land of Serbian spiritu- ality, where, along with piety and theological thought, lit- erature, philosophy, and to a degree, science, were cher- ished at the castles. after the promotion of the autocepha-
  Mehmed Pasha Sokolović (Sokollu Mehmed Paşa) (1505–1579), Grand Vizier of sultan Suleiman the Mag- nificent since 1565 and of his son Selim II and grandson MuradIII BeingaChristianOrthodoxSerbfromRudo in Eastern Bosnia (today Republika Srpska), young Bajo son of Dimitrije, from the village of Sokolović near Rudo, was educated in the monastery of Mileševa and afterwards taken by the Ottomans (devşirme) convert- ed to Islam and sent into the janissary corps As third vizier at the Sublime Porte, Medmed Pasha has restored the Serbian Orthodox Church under the name the Pa- trarchate of Peć in 1557 Mehmed Pasha Sokolović has appointed his first cousin Makarije Sokolović, as the first Serbian patriarch of the Patriarchate of Peć Sev- eral other patriarchs came from the same Sokolović
family, all close relatives of Mehmed Pasha

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