Petar I Petrović-Njegoš

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Peter I
Prince-Bishop of Montenegro
Saint Peter of Cetinje.jpg
Native name Петар I
Installed 1782
Term ended 1830
Predecessor Sava II
Successor Peter II
Personal details
Born 1748
Njeguši, Montenegro, Ottoman Empire
Died 1830
Cetinje, Montenegro, Ottoman Empire
Denomination Serbian Orthodox Christian
Coat of arms
Feast day October 31 (Gregorian calendar), October 18 (Julian calendar)
Venerated in Eastern Orthodox Church
Title as Saint St Peter of Cetinje
Canonized by Serbian Orthodox Church

Petar I Petrović Njegoš (St. Peter of Cetinje) (1747–1830) (Serbian Cyrillic: Петар I Петровић Његош, Свети Петар Цетињски) was the ruler of Montenegro, the Cetinje Metropolitan of the Serbian Orthodox Church (Serbian: Владика or Vladika) and Exarch (legate) of the Serbian Orthodox Church throne. He was the most popular spiritual and military leader from the Petrović dynasty. During his long rule, Petar strengthened the state by uniting the often quarreling tribes, consolidating his control over Montenegrin lands, introducing the first laws in Montenegro (Законик Петра I or Zakonik Petra I) and launching the first program of national liberation and unification of Serbs.

Battles and wars[edit]

Against the Ottoman Empire (1785–96)[edit]

He had benefited from four years' schooling in a military college (1762-1766) in Imperial Russia, was known to have been Vasilije III Petrović-Njegoš's choice as successor, and had strong support among the clan chiefs. He had unquestioned moral authority strengthened by his military successes. His rule prepared Montenegro for the subsequent introduction of modern institutions of the state: taxes, schools and larger commercial enterprises.

He was made a bishop by Mojsije Putnik of the Metropolitanate of Karlovci at Sremski Karlovci on the 13th of October 1784. During his long trip to Russia that year and the following (1785), Montenegro was attacked by Turkish forces. When Vladika Petar I returned from Russia, he began a war of liberation. At the crucial battle at Krusi (a village in Lješanska nahija) the Turkish Army of 30,000 led by Mahmut-Paša Bušatlija and assisted with seven French officers was defeated with heavy casualties by a force of 6,000 Montenegrins led by Vladika Petar I (3 Oct. 1796). In this famous battle Mahmut-pasha was killed. After the victory Petar enlarged the territory of Montenegro and became virtually independent of the Ottoman Empire.

Against the French Empire (1806–07)[edit]

Petar I Petrovic as a warrior (by french drawing)
Petar I Petrović as a warrior (by french drawing)

In 1806, the troops of Napoleonic France advanced toward the Bay of Kotor in Montenegro. The Montenegrin army led by Vladika Petar I, aided by several Russian battalions and the fleet of Admiral Dmitry Senyavin pushed them back to Dubrovnik. But soon after, Russian Tsar Alexander I asked Montenegrins to relinquish control of Boka to Austria. However, after Montenegrins retreated to Herceg Novi, Alexander changed his mind again, and with a help of Montenegrins conquered Brač and Korčula. In the meantime, France encouraged Turkey to attack Russia, which withdrew its fleet from the Adriatic to defend the Ionian islands. The Treaty of Tilsit (1807) between Russia and France granted the control of the Bay of Kotor to France.

The Church of Saint Peter of Cetinje in Kotor, belonging to the Montenegrin Orthodox Church.

Against the Ottoman Empire (1820)[edit]

In 1820, in the north of Montenegro, the highlanders from Morača led by Serdar Mrkoje Mijušković won a major battle against the Turkish force in Bosnia.

Serbian Empire[edit]

Petar was the conceiver of a plan to form a new Serbian Empire out of Bosnia, Serbia, Herzegovina and Montenegro with Boka, with Dubrovnik as its Imperial Capital. In 1807, he sent a letter to the Russian General of the Danube Army regarding this subject: "The Russian Czar would be recognized as the Tsar of the Serbs and the Metropolitan of Montenegro would be his assistant. The leading role in the restoration of the Serbian Empire belongs to Montenegro."


He was canonised as Saint Peter of Cetinje by his successor Petar II Petrović Njegoš. The Serbian Orthodox Church celebrates him on October 31, Gregorian calendar, which is October 18 in the Julian calendar.


  • The Lore in Verse (Поучење у стиховима)
  • The Sons of Ivan-bey (Синови Иванбегови)
  • Poem to Karageorge (Пјесма Карађорђу)
  • To Serb Christmas Eve (Српско Бадњи вече)
Preceded by
Sava II
Prince-Episcope of Montenegro
Succeeded by
Petar II

External links[edit]