Venedikt Kraljević

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Venedikt Kraljević
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Born(1765-01-15)January 15, 1765
Thessaloniki, Greece
DiedFebruary 1, 1862(1862-02-01) (aged 97)
  • Controversial figure
  • Imposter

Venedikt Kraljević also sometimes spelled Vikentije Kraljević (Serbian: Викентије Красојевић; Thessaloniki, Greece 15 January 1765 - Venice, 1 February 1862) was a controversial figure and an imposter who succeeded to falsely represent himself and become the bishop of Dalmatia during a most trying time, between the Napoleonic Wars and the Serbian Revolution, that is, from 1810 to 1828.[1]In history, he is remembered as the first rogue monk in a series of rogue monks whose attempt to subvert the Serbian Orthodox Church came to naught.


Bishop Venedikt was born on 15 January 1765 in a village near Thessaloniki to father Christodoulos, a Greek, and mother Alexandra, a Bulgarian. His last name was Pačavura, but later he would change his surname. He became a monk in the monastery of St. Anastasia near Thessaloniki. Showing himself, after many years of wandering about, in Bucharest and Ioannina as protosinđel (Protosyncellus, he was consecrated in 1806 by Greek-born Metropolitan Kalinik II of Metropolitanate of Dabar-Bosna, and Bosnia into the Serbian Orthodox Church. When Metropolitan Kalinik went to Constantinople, Venedikt, using simony, mismanaged the offices of the Metropolitanate of Dabar-Bosna until he was caught red-handed and incarcerated by the authorities. After escaping from a prison in Travnik, he fled to Austria and settled in the Besenovo monastery, which Metropolitan Stefan (Stratimirović) determined as his residence. When the Ottoman government asked Vienna to extradite Venedikt, he immediately left Dalmatia and took refuge in embattled Belgrade for a short while.

After the founding of the Dalmatian diocese, in 1808, Venedikt worked hard to be appointed bishop of Dalmatia. However, when an uprising against France broke out in Dalmatia, Venedikt opted for France against Austria. After the Austrian army entered Šibenik, Venedikt was arrested and interned in the List of Serbian Orthodox monasteries in Banat, then part of Habsburg Monarchy (now Romania). He remained in Bezdin until the withdrawal of the Austrian army from Dalmatia. Appreciating Venedikt's merits for France, on 26 March 1810, Napoleon appointed Venedikt Bishop of Dalmatia, annexing the Bay of Kotor, Pula, and Peroj to the Diocese of Dalmatia. In the same year, Venedikt established a consistory in Šibenik and decided to open a seminary in Šibenik. For the first few years, Venedikt ruled his diocese to the general satisfaction. However, when Dalmatia became an Austrian province in 1813, Venedikt used all his forces to gain the favor of those he fought against. He called on his dioceses with a special circular to be faithful to the Austrian emperor, to whom the clergy and the people sent a request for Venedikt to be confirmed as the bishop of Dalmatia. In the same year, Venedikt asked Metropolitan Stefan Stratimirović to accept the Dalmatian diocese under the jurisdiction of the Karlovac metropolitanate, which was done even though Metropolitan Stefan thought that Venedikt credentials and purpose seemed suspicious. However, the Austrian court did not formally recognize Venedikt, although it tolerated his status for the time being. [2]

Bishop Venedikt was insecure and upset that he was not recognized as a legitimate and canonical bishop by the Viennese court. He gained recognition during his stay in Vienna (1818-1819) when he proposed establishing a Uniate seminary in Šibenik. On that occasion, he proposed, among other things, that the teaching staff in that seminary be composed of Uniates from Galicia.[3]Uniate professors arrived in Zadar in December 1819, but they were quickly exposed and the Serbian Orthodox population rebelled, first in Šibenik, then in the whole of Dalmatia. On the first day of Pentecost in 1821, the people of Šibenik tried to assassinate Kraljević by shooting at his carriage, but luckily he was not inside. After this event, the school stopped working. [4]The day after the attempted assassination, Venedikt moved from Šibenik to Zadar, from there he left for Italy on 23 May 1823, leaving the diocese to the Zadar parish priest Spiridon Aleksijević. [5] Ćiril Cvetković, the protosyncellus of the Savina Monastery, in particular, stood out in opposition to the founding of a Uniate seminary, as well as Dimitrije Davidović, Serbia's minister of education.[6]. The Serbian Orthodox faithful informed Metropolitan Stefan (Stratimirović) about the situation in Dalmatia with an extensive memorial and asked for his help. The Metropolitan protected the clergy and the people of Dalmatia and addressed the emperor, the Viennese government, and the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Metternich, with his petitions. Thanks to Metropolitan Stefan (Stratimirović), Venedikt was finally removed from Dalmatia. By the imperial decision of 28 December 1828, the Diocese of Dalmatia was subordinated to the Metropolitan of Karlovac in matters of faith, although with certain restrictions, and on the same day Archimandrite Josif Rajačić of Gomirje was appointed Bishop of Dalmatia.[7] Kraljević retired in 1828, and a year later annexed to the Karlovac diocese by imperial order. [5]

Bishop Venedikt died at the age of 97 in Venice, on 1 February 1862. He lived in Venice on an Austrian pension, far from the Orthodox faithful, to whom he inflicted much harm. [8] In his will, written shortly before his death, he stated that he was never a Uniate.[9]He was buried in the Orthodox Church of San Giorgio dei Greci in the neighborhood of Castello, Venice.


  2. name="аутоматски генерисано1">Cite web|url=ВЕНЕДИКТ (Краљевић)епископ далматински 1810- 1823.|last=|first=|date=|website=Епархија далматинска|archive-url=|archive-date=|dead-url=|access-date=18 July 2019.
  4. Пузовић 2011, p. 279—280.
  5. 5.0 5.1 Пузовић 2011, p. 280.
  6. "Сербскиј народниј лист",Будим 1838. године
  7. name="аутоматски генерисано1"
  8. "Источник", Сарајево 31. март 1898.
  9. name="аутоматски генерисано1"

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