KOVIĆ: THE PATRIARCHATE OF PEĆ – THE FOUNDATION OF THE SERBIAN NATIONAL IDENTITY

8. December 2017.

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The Patriarchate of Peć laid the foundation of a modern Serbian national identity; it created the Serbian national consciousness for which, from a historical point of view, Mehmed Paša Sokolović had a huge merit, said the doctor of historical sciences, Miloš Ković, to SRNA tonight in Andrićgrad.

“The Serbian national identity, the Serbian self-esteem was created in the Middle Ages, from the time of St. Sava and the Nemanjićs, when the autocephalous Serbian Orthodox Church was created, after which comes the Prince Lazar and the Turkish period,” said Ković, who is an associate professor at the Department of History at the Faculty of Philosophy, University of Belgrade.

He emphasized that at that time the Patriarchate of Peć formed the modern national identity of the Serbs.

“But then the Patriarchate of Peć accepted this legacy, and in the 16th, 17th and 18th centuries, and what did the countries in the West, the French Absolutist Monarchy, Spain, England, Sweden and Russia, also did the Serbian Church in our case,” said Ković.

Before the lecture on the topic “Mehmed Paša Sokolović in Serbian History” in the Andrić Institute, Ković stressed that it is very interesting how this person could influence history even though he changed his faith at the age of 18 and became a faithful Ottoman soldier.

“His significance for Serbian history is enormous. We do not know exactly what historical sources tell us, and we expect that our colleagues, historians from Turkey, reveal that to us. We do not know what exactly Mehmed Paša Sokolović wanted in 1557, when the Patriarchate of Peć was restored. We know that Mehmed Paša Sokolović was the third vizier at that time,” said Ković.

According to him, from the point of view of the state interest, it is certain that Mehmed Pasha wanted to rely on the Serbs, as he went on his way to the Catholic Habsburg Empire, because he had already established cooperation with the Serbs in 1551, in Banat and then in Bečkerek, with whom he had correspondence, in Cyrillic, in Serbian.

He also said that Mehmed Paša Sokolović, in a military sense, set up his relatives, the one that converted to Islam, all the way from the Budim to Herzegovina, who fought against the Catholic world.

Ković pointed out that the liturgies were then served in the Serbian language, so that in 1557 was created the Patriarchate of Peć, that is the ward that were cadre and able to pay taxes, would have been created, and the patriarchs and bishops also had to do it.

“The Serbian Patriarchate then gained immense autonomy, self-government, and for this it had to pay taxes and taxes annually. There was complete freedom within the Patriarchy, and the first patriarch was Makarije Sokolović, a brother or a nephew, depending on the historical sources, of Mehmed Paša Sokolović),” said Ković.

He emphasized that the next three Serbian patriarchs were from the Sokolovićs.

According to him, Mehmed Paša Sokolović, at a time of heightened Islamization, slowed down this process and resisted the pressure of the Roman Catholic Church and the conversion of the Orthodox Serbs to catholicism.

“The Patriarchate of Pec was then granted the jurisdiction from the Ottoman Empire even over the Catholic world, so that the Serbian patriarchs also levied taxes from Catholics in Bosnia, which complained to the sultan for that,” said Ković.

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