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Archimandrite Arsenija Gagović (c. 1750-1817) is remembered as the renovatorofPiva monasteryand one of the major players in the liberation of Serbia from Turkishish rule before and during theFirst FirstandSecond Serbian Uprising. Folk songs and tradition speak of him among the faithful and the clergy as Arsenije Pivski or [[HadjiArsenijewho travelled to theHoly Land.
He was born in the village ofKruševoin the municipality of Piva. Members of the Gagović family are one of the oldest and most respectable families in the village ofKruševoin the municipality ofPivawhere Arsenije was born. The year of his birth has yet to be determined, though he played an important role in theFirst Serbian Uprising, maintaining the link betweenKarađorđeand theTribes of Montenegro|Herzegovinian Serbs, bordering Montenegro.
Arsenije Gagović was first mentioned in 1783 as ahieromonkofHilandarand in 1788 when he came to Piva Monastery he found it in a sad state, razed to the ground and covered with straw. As for the fate of the Piva Monastery, after its construction, in fact, its three-year renovation (1790-1793) was the most significant. For the endeavour of rebuilding the monastery, Arsenije organized respectable individuals and people and garnered the support of the tribes of Piva,Gacko,Rudina,NikšićandFoča. When he renovated the monastery, he travelled to Constantinople (1794) to obtain afirmanfor Piva and happily brought it back with him in 1795.
In 1803, he travelled toImperial Russia, where he presented to the Russian court a plan for the liberationof the South Slavs in the Balkans from the Turksand asked for help in opening a theological-teaching school in Piva at the same time. On his return, he stayed with MetropolitanStevan StratimirovićofSremski Karlovci, with whom he discussed the possibility of an uprising against the Turks. Gagović was active in the resistance movement against theOttoman Empireon many levels, but mostly behind the scenes, corresponding withPetar I Petrović-Njegoš,Sava Tekelija, Stevan Stratimirović, Karađorđe, BishopJovan Jovanovićof Bačka, and other Serbian leaders.
After the uprising, more precisely in 1811, Archimandrite Arsenije travelled to Russia, but the Russians, stationed inBucharest, returned him to Herzegovina on a special mission. Then he also met with Karađorđe. Before the end of 1812, he left for Imperial Russia again, where he remained for four years. The Russian government awarded him a pension for his services, enough funds to repair the monastery of Piva and liturgical books that were a premium in Serbia. Archimandrite Arsenije was last mentioned on 17 March 1817, when he was inOdessa. It is believed that on his return home he was captured atMostarand killed there that same year.
An entry in the Chronicle of the Piva Monastery speaks about the death of Arsenije Gagović:
In 1816, he went to Russia, submitted a request to TsarAlexander I of Russia|Alexander Iand transferred the right to the imperial help of Piva and all the books, and that right lasted for Piva until the downfall of TsarNicholas II of Russia|Nikolafrom theBolsheviks. He returns from there viaMount Athos, he comes to Piva, where he gets permits from theVizier, inTravnik, he spots danger to himself while still in Travnik; he sends the permits secretly by handing them to a youngcourieron a detour, and a day later he leaves and on his way is killed by Turks - the year and date are not recorded.
- Kosta Radović, Arhimandrit Arsenije Gagović i duhovnost Pive ("Archimandrite Arsenije Gagović and the Spirituality of Piva")
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