Sava II Petrović-Njegoš
Sava II Petrović Njegoš (18 January 1702 – 9 March 1782) (Serbian Cyrillic: Сава II Петровић Његош, "Sava Petrović Njegoš") was the Vladika (Prince-Bishop) of Montenegro, of the Petrović-Njegoš Dynasty. He succeeded Danilo I as Vladika (prince-bishop) in 1735. Danilo, who sought to introduce Sava gradually to the political affairs of the state, conferred on him the title of co-adjutor in the 1720s.
A contemplative who was happier as a studious monk than resolving conflicts, Sava preferred to leave his countrymen as they had been in the past, dependent on Venice and where necessary paying taxes to the Ottoman beys.
In 1735, the year in which Sava officially became Vladika, a new war broke out between Russia and the Ottoman Empire, which Austria soon entered on Russia's side. Predictably this was welcomed by the Serbs in Austria-Hungary, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Serbia, and Montenegro in particular, who were ready to sacrifice everything in their long struggle for total independence. Hajduk activity increased, threatening not only Ottoman-controlled Bosnia and Herzegovina but also the coastal territory of Dalmatia ruled by Venice and by neighbouring Dubrovnik. Unable to impose firm leadership, Sava obviously had little or no influence on events that transpired; he still continued to seek some sort of appeasement with Venice, a policy that suited his conservative nature. Sava's goal was to secure more open borders for Montenegro, which was already suffering under blockades imposed by its invading Western and Eastern neighbours on all sides.
The Austrian government had induced the Serbs to leave their villages and towns and join the Austrian army. The good will of the Serbian hierarchy was needed by the Austrians in the continuing wars against the Ottoman Empire. Meanwhile early Austrian successes in the campaign against the Turks, supported by hundreds of Serbian volunteers, were followed by serious reverses, after which Austria was forced to yield territory. By the autumn of 1739 the Austrians with their Serbian troops had been forced to sign the Treaty of Belgrade which requested the Kingdom of Serbia, the southern part of the Banat of Temeswar and northern Bosnia to cede to the Ottomans most of the gains made in the wars of 1714-1718, including the Serbian city of Belgrade itself. To the Serbs of Montenegro the peace counted for little: the pattern of raids and counter-attacks continued unabated with the Serb Brda tribesmen taking the brunt of Turkish reprisals. In 1740 a new paša of Skadar began preparations for an offensive in the region on a scale that appeared to make successful resistance impossible. Opting for negotiations instead of warfare, the Serbian tribesmen of Brda sent forty of their chieftains to an arranged location for talks only to have them captured and decapitated, and another 400 of their compatriots taken into slavery on the orders of the paša himself.
Hard-pressed Sava decided to follow his predecessor's example by seeking help from Orthodox Russia, offering to provide Serbian troops to serve in the Imperial Russian armies in return for some form of Russian protectorate over Montenegro. In the autumn of 1742 Sava set off in person, and on reaching St. Petersburg the following spring presented Montenegro's case to the newly enthroned Empress Elizabeth. The empress promised financial aid, including further funds for the Cetinje monastery, but was unwilling to broach the question of a political arrangement that would afford Montenegro any military protection. Journeying back by way of Berlin, Frederick the Great gave him a beautiful golden cross, but such tokens of consideration, though well intended, fell short of meeting his hopes, and his journey far from proving a turning-point in Montenegro's fortunes, served rather to prompt his withdrawal from public life. From 1744 to 1766, Prince-Bishop Vasilije Petrović Njegoš, Sava's co-adjutator, became effectively the highest authority in Montenegro and its representative abroad. After Vasilije died at St. Petersburg in 1766, Sava again resumed his duties as prince-bishop.
In 1766 the Serb Patriarchate of Peć was banned by the Turks (the Greek clergy also applied pressure in this matter). Sava II then responded by writing to the Moscow Metropolitan that "the Serb Nation is under hard slavery" and so asked the Holy Synod of Russia to help the Serbian Patriarch. Sava also wrote a letter to the Russian empress asking "Protect the Serbs from the Greek and Turkish intruding..." "...We are ready to pay Russia in blood". He was succeeded as Vladika by Petar I Petrović-Njegoš.
- Vladika Sava – Letters
- The Njegoskij Fund Public Project : Private family archives-based digital documentary fund focused on history and culture of Royal Montenegro.
|Prince-Episcope of Montenegro