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Vikentije Jovanović, also spelled Vićentije (Serbian Cyrillic language: Викентије/Вићентије Јовановић

Szentendre, 1689 - Belgrade, June 6, 1737) was the Serbian Orthodox Metropolitan of Karlovci from 1732 to 1737, as Vikentije II. During his diplomatic mission in Vienna in 1734, he was given permission by Emperor Charles VI to establish a hussar regiment constituted solely of Serbs and Croats. It was officially named Illyrian-Rascian regiment and inaugurated on June 16, 1735, in a grand ceremony officiated by Vikentije. The ceremony took place outside Budim where the banners which were used symbolized his importance in the Austrian Empire, but also the dual symbolism of East and West; dual coats of arms on their spears, two languages in their inscriptions (Church Slavonic and Latin), and the use of Eastern iconography and Western emblematic imagery. Vikentije's hussars went on to fight in the Austro-Russian–Turkish War (1735-1739).

Biography[edit | edit source]

He was born in Szentendre in 1689. As a young man he took monastic vows at Rakovac monastery.

He played a pivotal role in uniting the Metropolitanate of Belgrade with the Metropolitanate of Karlovci at the Assembly of Bishops (Sabor) in 1726. At the end of the Sabor he was elected Bishop of Arad, Ineu and Velikovardar region. On March 22, 1731 he was unanimously elevated Archbishop and Metropolitan of the Metropolitanate of Karlovci by the Assembly of Bishops of the Serbian Orthodox Church.

The history of the Metropolitanate of Karlovci, located in northern Serbia in the region of Vojvodina, is intimately connected to the large exodus of Serbs fleeing Ottoman persecution that followed after the Great Turkish War of 1683-1699 and the Austro-Turkish War of 1716-1718. It was in 1690 that Patriarch Arsenije III Čarnojević (1674-1706) led almost 40,000 people over the Danube River and into Vojvodina, then under Austro-Hungarian rule. A significant number of Serbs were already living there since the very beginning of the Nemanjić dynasty, if not before, and the continuity allowed the refugee to feel at home.

With renewed Turkish oppression in Ottoman Serbia, the Serbs in the Habsburg Empire found themselves also facing new challenges. This task was made especially difficult living with predominantly Roman Catholic Austrian and Hungarian authorities and confronting daily pressure toward union with Rome. Realizing that the preservation of their spiritual identity demanded higher education, Vikentije II turned to Russia for help, like his predecessor Metropolitan Mojsije Petrović. At the time basic conditions for education, such as high schools, adequately trained teachers and books, were lacking. Orthodox Russia, sharing a similar language and alphabet with Serbs, was seen as an ideal ally. Soon, promising students were sent to Kiev, to study theology, philosophy and the sciences at the well-known Kievan Academy. By the eighteenth century this trend would result in the systematization of education and the opening of the first Slavonic-Latin schools. Maxim Suvarov, sent by the Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church, became the first Russian teacher there. In 1731, Metropolitan Vikentije II opened gymnasia (high schools) in Belgrade, Osijek, Dalj and Sremski Karlovci. In Karlovci he put another Russian educator, Emmanuel Kazačinski, in charge.

References[edit | edit source]

Orthodox Church titles
Preceded by
Metropolitan of Karlovci
Succeeded by
Arsenije IV

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