Sacralizing the Nation through Remembrance of Medieval Religious Figures in Serbia, Bulgaria and Macedonia


Religious figures of remembrance served to consolidate first dynastic rule and later nation-state legitimacy and community. This book explains the interweaving of (Eastern) Roman, medieval Serbian and Bulgarian contexts as well as Ottoman and Western European national discourses or reinvented traditions. We can distinguish a secularization and nationalization of the religious contexts in the 19th century within historicism, followed by a nationalization of God and a sacralization of the nation until the end of WWII. Contrary to the national views, the origins of the modern content of these discourses lie only to a very limited extent in the Middle Ages or in the Early Modern period, as this study shows.

Please note, this is volume 1 of a 2-volume set. Click here to see volume 2.

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Stefan Rohdewald, Ph.D. (2005), University of Zurich, is Professor (Chair for Eastern and Southeastern European History) at the University of Leipzig. He has published monographs and many articles on the area, most recently focusing on its "Transottoman" entanglements with the Middle East.
List of Figures

Volume 1

1 Introduction
 1 Historiographical Context, Question, and Outline
 2 State of Research
 3 Sources

2 Holy Teachers, Rulers, and Capitals – Religious Memory-Figures up to the 18th Century
 1 “Educators and Teachers of the Slavs” Constantine-Cyril and Methodius
 2 Scholars, Patron Saints, and Miracle Workers – Clement of Ohrid and Naum
 3 Saints as Pillars of Bulgarian Rule in the New City of the Tsars
 4 Excursus: Ioakim, Gavriil, and Prohor – Slavic-Byzantine Saints between Bulgarian and Serbian Dominion
 5 Holy Rulers of Rascia or Serbia
 6 “Pro patria mori” – The Battle of the Field of Blackbirds, Lazar, and St. Vitus’s Day
 7 Serbian and Bulgarian Holy Princes of the Church
 8 Holy Branković Despots – The Continued Invention of the Holy Dynasty in Hungary
 9 Review – Religious Memory-Figures up to the 18th Century as Media of Homogeneous “National Denominational Cultures”?

3 The Invention of European, Christian Nations to Overcome the “Asian Yoke” in the Long 19th Century
 1 Clergy as National Saints: Sava’s Ascent to “Savior” and “New Creator”
 2 Clergy as National Saints: Ivan as “the Only All-National Saint” and His Monastery of Rila
 3 Clergy as National Saints: The Rediscovery of Cyril and Methodius as “Geniuses” between Transnational Pan-Slavism and Nationalism
 4 Clergymen as National Saints: From Archbishop and “Ohridian Babalŭk” to “Savior of Slavdom” and “Smith of the Bulgarian Nationality” – Clement in Ohrid and Bulgaria
 5 The Controversial National Myth – the Battle of the Blackbird Field and St. Vitus’s Day as National Myth Nexus
 6 Holy Serbian Rulers – Stefan the First-Crowned and the Other Nemanjids in Sava’s Shadow
 7 Holy Bulgarian Rulers – Boris as “Creator of the Bulgarian Nationality”
 8 The “Bulgarian God,” the Serbian “Holy Land,” as Well as Monasteries and Regions – Spatial Designs through Religious-National Memory
 9 Interim Assessment

Volume 2

4 Mobilization and Sacralization of the Nation through Religious Remembrance (1918–1944)
 1 From Myth to “Ideology” – the Field of Blackbirds and Vidovdan in the SHS State
 2 Clergy as National Saints: The Discursive and Geographical Expansion of Sava’s Cult in the “Battle of Ideologies”
 3 Cleric as National Saint: Clement between Serbia, Macedonia, and Bulgaria
 4 Clerics as National Saints: Cyril and Methodius
 5 John of Rila’s Holiday as the “Day of the National Awakeners”
 6 Clergymen as National Saints: The “Holy Leader” Ivan of Rila and His Monastery
 7 Holy Ruler – Boris as the “God-Sent Leader”
 8 Holy Rulers – the Karađorđević family in the Nemanjids’ Footsteps?
 9 “Holy Homeland” and National Gods – Bulgaria, Serbia, and Macedonia as Religious-National Spaces of Remembrance
 10 Interim Assessment

5 Conclusion
 1 Transethnic Missionaries, Miracle Workers, Tsarist Cities, and Dynasties – Religious Memory-Figures in the Middle Ages and Early Modern Era
 2 Religious Memory-Figures between Politics and Nation – Setting the Course in the “Long 19th Century”
 3 Religious Memory-Figures as Media of the Blueprints of Modern Mass Societies and the Sacralization of the Nation (1918–1944)
 4 Recapitulation within the European Framework
 5 Religious Memory-Figures in a Diachronic View between “longue durée” and Discontinuity
 6 Outlook


All interested in the history of (Southeastern) European and (post-)Ottoman history, and anyone concerned with the development of the connections between religion, identity and modern nations since the Middle Ages.
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