Page 707 - Kosovo Metohija Heritage
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The memory of Kosovo in 1889 united the Serbs in the northern and western Balkans, and the battle was also commemorated in the Vojvodina, Montenegro, and Bos- nia. Ravanica monastery in Srem where the relics of Prince Lazar were kept, was chosen to be the center of the com- memoration in the Vojvodina. in the neighboring city of Ruma a special committee was appointed to organize the festivities. The program included a solemn requiem and choral societies from all over the Vojvodina were invited to participate.71 The Committee dedicated two poems, “The Hymn to Kosovo” and “The Farewell to the Vidov- dan Fifth Centenary,” for which the music was composed by a Czech orchestra conductor.72 The celebration took place, as scheduled, on St. Vitus day.
a good number of publications, histories, dramas, and poems, dedicated to Kosovo, were published on the occasion;73 and the daily press reported about similar fes- tivities which took place among the other Serbs. Posters, lithographs, and p ortra its of medieval rulers and Kosovo warriors were advertised and sold in Serbian bookstores.74 Students in the Serbian Orthodox seminary in Prizren, un- til 1912 under Ottoman rule, competed over who would have the most complete album.75 Vidovdan was remem- bered in churches in Bosnia; and the Yugoslav academy of arts and Sciences in Zagreb commemorated the bat- tle in a solemn session at which the two most prominent Croatian scholars, Franjo Rački and Toma Maretić, gave speeches.76
in Montenegro the unpopular rule of King Milan in Serbia and his abdication in 1889 raised the prestige of Prince Nikola. in the eyes of Serbian nationalists, “the rocky mountains of Montenegro preserved the message of Ko- sovo and the eagle of Dušan.”77 The flamboyant poetry of the prince, in which Montenegro was described as “the stumbling rock of the Ottoman empire,” contributed to the aura of the poet and ruler. On june 17, on the eve of
72 The text of the hymn was written by a Serbian priest from the village of Piroš. The “Vidovdan Farewell” was written by a certain Mr. Nenad from Split in Dalmatia. The conductor, Havlas, from Her- manstadt in Bohemia composed the melody, as he previously did for Djura jakšić’s poem “Die, O brothers!” Javor (1889), pp. 287, 351, 384.
73 among them were: “The Memorial of the 500 years of the Bat- tle of Kosovo”; “Battles and Heroism in epic Poetry” (Milivoj Srbinić); “St. Sava, the Serbian educator and Teacher in Popular Poetry”; “The Vidovdan Hymn”; “The Service to the Martyr Prince Lazar, the em- peror and Ruler of Serbian Lands”; “after 500 years—a Reappraisal of the Battle of Kosovo and of the Collapse of the Serbian State” (jaša Tomić); “The Kosovo Battle and the Fall of the Serbian State” (Dr. Pavle Padejski). See Javor (1889), p. 208.
74 Most popular were portraits of emperor Dušan St. Sava and Prince Lazar’s Last Supper. See advertisements in Javor, List za za- bavu, pouku i književnost za godinu 1889, Dodatak, edited by ilija Ognjanović i jovan Grčić, nos. 2 and 23 (Novi Sad, 1889).
75 Spomenica pedesetogodišnjice družine Rastko u Prizrenu, p. 134.
76 Javor (1889), p. 174.
77 Grlica (Cetinje, 1889), p. 52. Quote from jovan Sundečić.
The Tradition of Kosovo
the Kosovo commemoration in Cetinje, Prince Nikola pro- claimed his son Danilo an adult and heir to the throne. Nikola’s drama, The Balkan Empress (Balkanska carica), was put on stage for the first time with professional ac- tors, and was attended by the Russian archduke Petar Ni- kolajević, the fiancé of Nikola’s daughter Milica.78
During the last decades o f the century the tradition of Kosovo continued to play an important role in orches- trating national feelings in Serbia toward the liberation of all of Serbdom. The Kosovo theme dominated literature, drama, poetry, and the arts. as early as 1865 Belgrade in- vited the Serbian poet from the Vojvodina, jovan jovano- vić-Zmaj, to write the text of the Serbian national anthem. For reasons of foreign policy, however, he was reminded not to mention St. Vitus Day explicitly. Zmaj, who previ- ouslyauthoredaflamboyantpoemtothe“holygraveyard,” wrote the requested anthem in which he referred to the “God of justice not yet attained” and to “centuries bitterly lam ented...”79 in 1872 jovan Djordjević took over the in- troductory words, “God of justice,” for the chant which ended his drama, Marko’s Saber, presented in the Nation- al Theatre in Belgrade on the occasion of Prince Milan’s accession to the throne. The melody was composed by Davorin jenko. With some adaptations the last two stan- zas became the national anthem.80
The repertoire of the National Theatre in Belgrade in- cluded performances dedicated to Kosovo. in 1868 the stage was opened by jovan Sterija Popović’s drama, “The Death of Stevan Dečanski.” The play “Miloš Obilić,” writ- ten by jovan Subotić, was kept in the repertoire from 1868 until 1912. Miloš Cvetić triumphed with three plays: “Ne- manja,” “Lazar,” and “Dušan”. The last one was on stage for twenty-four years (1890–1914). in 1889 Matija Ban pre- sented “King Vukašin”; while the Dubrovnik writer ivo Vojnović authored “The Death of the Mother of the ju- gović” (1909) and “The Resurrection of Lazar” (1913). Žar- ko Lazarević’s drama, “The Kosovo Tragedy,” was accom- panied with music.81 Culminating with Kosovo, all of Ser- bian history romanticized, idealized, embellished, and nourished the fantasy of the public.
When the 1912 Balkan War started, the popular per- ception was that Kraljević Marko finally woke up. The hope became the reality: two victorious allies, Serbia and Montenegro, were to return to Kosovo. The declaration
79 Javor, No 31 (1889), p. 496.
Živojin Boškov (ed.), Prepiska Jovana Jovanovića Zmaja (Novi Sad, 1957), Doc. 77. Zmaj to jovan Bošković, Pest 19, iii, 1865, p. 91– 92. The melody for Zmaj’s poem was composed by Kornelije Stanko- vić (Doc. 78), and the Viennese composer Sechter.
80 Stanoje Stanojević, Narodna enciklopedija, iV (Zagreb, 1929), p. 798.
81 Živojin Petrović, “Domaći dramski repertoar (1868–1968),” in Jedan vek Narodnog pozorišta u Beogradu 1868–1968, edited by Mi- lan Djoković (Beograd, 1968), pp. 207–229. Dramas with the theme of Kosovo were performed also by amateur or student groups in the country.
 Javor (Novi Sad, 1889), pp. 206–207; Glas Istine, No 4 (1889), pp. 62–63.

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