Page 706 - Kosovo Metohija Heritage
P. 706

 Dimitrije Djordjević
Monument to Kosovo Heroes,
Djordje jovanović, detail, Kruševac
The Kosovo field where Lazar died
And Gračanica in solemn days 59
in 1889 students founded “Brotherhood” (Bratstvo), a
literary society; and in 1899 they renamed it Rastko, after the lay name of St. Sava. They wrote poems, papers in his- tory and literature, and discussed the liberation and uni- fication of the Serbs.
in 1882 Serbia proclaimed itself a kingdom, an act which Milan Obrenović justified as an accomplished “wish en- dowed by the past and a token of our future.”60 The offi- cial press responded by calling him “the first King from Kosovo,” and the “realization of a dream which lived for hundreds of years in history, poetry, the church, and in popular assemblies.”61
The reality, however, was not so rosy. an unpopular war with Bulgaria in 1885 brought defeat and humiliation. Moreover, the domestic political arena was in turmoil, manifested by the 1883 peasant upheaval in eastern Ser- bia, and the brutal reprisals of the king and the conserva- tives against the Radicals, whose party won the support of the peasantry. The stalemate between the king and his adversaries opened the door to the 1888 liberal constitu- tion and caused the abdication of King Milan in 1889.
The shaken dynasty, represented by the minor King alexander and the Regency, needed a consolidation of the monarchy. The five hundredth anniversary of the Battle of Kosovo in 1889 offered such an opportunity that would serve the purposes of the monarchy as well as general na- tional politics. The government dedicated St. Vitus day to
60 Živan Živanović, Politička istorija Srbije, vol. ii, 1878–1889 (Beo- grad, 1924), p. 199.
61 Srpska Nezavisnost, No 32 (February 23, 1882), cited in Živano- vić, pp. 199–200; see also Hrišćanski vesnik, Časopis za hrišćansku pouku i crkvenu književnost, edited by aleksa ilić (Beograd 1889), Xii, 2 (February 1889), pp. 147–148.
all those who “died in wars for the Faith and the Father- land.”62 From then on the anniversary of Kosovo would become the date to express national solidarity, pride, and self-confidence at people’s gatherings.63
The official 1889 commemoration in Serbia was orga- nized and carried out by the Regency, the Royal acade- my of Sciences, religious and cultural institutions, and the military. On june 15 (old calendar) in Kruševac, the me- dieval capital of Prince Lazar, the young king, members of the Regency and of the government, and representa- tives of the clergy and army attended a solemn requiem to the Kosovo warriors. They also laid the foundations for a monument dedicated to Kosovo and established the spe- cial medal of Prince Lazar, which would be given only to Serbian monarchs and their adult heirs.64
From Kruševac, King alexander and his suite traveled to Žiča monastery, where medieval rulers had been anoint- ed. The young monarch, in the presence of the Russian consul Persiani, went through the same traditional ritual and was greeted by the crowd as “the first anointed king of the resurrected monarchy.”65 Sermons were held in churches all over the country.66
in Belgrade the academy of Sciences held a special ses- sion on St. Vitus day.67 its president, Čedomilj Mijatović, called it “a liturgy which the people offered to the Kosovo martyrs.” Several publications were issued by the acad- emy on that occasion.68 The military journal Ratnik (The Warrior) published a speech about the Battle of Kosovo, which was presented in the Officer’s Club by the minis- ter of national defense.69 and foundations were laid for St. Sava’s Center in Belgrade.70
62 Hrišćanski vesnik, (Beograd 1889) No 7–8, p. 596.
63 V. Petrović, “Smisao Vidovdana,” in Zadužbine Kosova, pp.
64 about the celebrations in Serbia and Vojvodina see Javor, p. 271; Sava Petrović (ed Glas Istine, Vi (15) (Novi Sad, 1889), p. 127; Kalendar Orao, pp. 21–27.
65 arsa Pajević, “Miropomazanje kralja aleksandra u manastiru Žiči, Orao (1890), pp. 30–43. it was reprinted in Mala spomenica sa 500-godišnjice slave vidovdanske u Kruševcu i miropomazanje kralja Aleksandra u Žiči (Novi Sad, 1889). See also Glas istine, No 15 (Novi Sad, 1889), p. 240.
66 “Kosovska petstogodišnjica,” Krišćanski vesnik, Vi (Beograd 1889), pp. 401–3; and “Vidovdanske proslave,” Hrišćanski vesnik, Vi, pp. 557–66.
67 Godišnjak Srpske kraljevske akademije nauka, vol. iii (1889) (Beograd 1890), pp. 1–2, 38–40, 86, 65–66.
68 Dr. j. jovanović, Pregled na dramsku literaturu o Kosovu (Beo- grad , 1980); C. Mijatović, Boj na Kosovu po kronici kaludjera Sen Deniskog (Beograd, 1891). Matija Ban published the third and fourth volume of dramas about the Battle of Kosovo and the 1815 uprising, see Otadžbina, vol. 88 (1889), i-XV; Glas SKaN, XViii, vol. 12 Beo- grad, 1890), p. 188.
69 The speech was published in several volumes of the journal Ratnik, tome XX and XXi, vol. iV (1889), pp. 477–93; vol. i-iV, pp. 1–34, 125–133, 253–263, 381–400. See also Glavni generalštab (ed.), Dvadesetpetogodišnjica Ratnika, (Beograd, 1904), p. 516.
70 Hrišćanski vesnik, No 7–8 (1889), p. 593.
  Spomenica 50-godišnjice versko-nacionalnog i kulturna-pros- vetnog.., pp. 108–111.

   704   705   706   707   708