Detail of Andreja Raičević's icon (c. 1645), depicting Jovan as a saint
|Despot of Serbia|
|Died||10 December 1502|
|Religion||Serbian Orthodox Christian|
Jovan Branković (pronounced [jɔ̌v̞an brǎːnkɔv̞itɕ] ; died 10 December 1502) was the titular Despot of Serbia from 1496 until his death in 1502. He held the title of despot given to him by Vladislas II of Hungary, and ruled a region known as Racszag (after Rascia, being equivalent of modern Vojvodina) under the Kingdom of Hungary. Despot Jovan was the last Serbian Despot of the Branković dynasty, which was regarded as legitimate successors of the "holy Nemanjić's", they continued the ktetorship to Hilandar and other sacred things to protect the nation and the religion (Serbian Orthodox Church). He was proclaimed a Saint in 1505, under the name Saint Despot Jovan.
The Ottoman Empire had conquered Serbia during the rule of Stefan Tomašević; Sultan Mehmed II had arrived at Smederevo, and by June 20, 1459, the Serbian capital was officially conquered. In 1463, they had conquered Bosnia as well.
In 1404, Sigismund of Hungary gave Stefan Lazarević the Syrmia region. His successor, Đurađ Branković, Jovan's grandfather, began ruling in 1427. Đurađ Branković was deemed by his contemporaries as the richest monarch, having a steady income from the gold and silver mines of Novo Brdo.
He ruled jointly with his brother Đorđe from 1493, and when Đorđe took monastic vows (he becomes the Archbishop of Belgrade, Maxim), Jovan took the throne in 1496. He had different goals to those of his brother Đorđe, Jovan did not seek to create a heavenly empire, but sought to defeat the Turks and drive them out of his lands, and as such be entitled the ranks of his ancestors. He fought successfully with the Ottoman Empire, several operations in Bosnia, especially around Zvornik. Jovan planned to free the Serbs from Ottoman rule with the help of the Republic of Venice, but he was stopped with his death in 1502. After his death, the hope of restoring Serbia under the advancing of the Ottoman Empire became weaker.
He married noblewoman Jelena Jakšić, with whom he had five children. After his death, his wife ruled as Despotissa and then she married Ivaniš Berislavić, who was given the title despot of Serbia in 1504 by the Hungarian King.
|Saint Despot Jovan|
|Died||10 December 1502
Krušedol monastery, present day Vojvodina, Serbia
|Venerated in||Serbian Orthodox Church|
His cult began in 1505. He was buried at the Krušedol monastery, and laid together with his family in coffins at the altar after the death of his brother, the Bishop Maxim (January 18, 1516), later given sainthood on December 2. The Turks, however, burned the holy relics in 1716 after the loss at Battle of Petrovaradin and only the left arm of Angelina and some minor body parts of other members were spared, proclaimed holy relics of the Serbian Orthodox Church.
He married Serbian noblewoman Jelena Jakšić, who is mentioned as “Helena, Serbiæ despotissa” in a charted dated to 1502. They had 4 children, all of whom were daughters:
- Marija, married Ferdinand Frangepan of the House of Frankopan
- Jelena, married Peter IV Rareş, Prince of Moldavia
- Hanna, married Fiodor Sanguszko, Marshal of Volhynia
- Maria Magdalena, married Iwan Wiśniowiecki, a noble from Volhynia
Taking into account the dates of marriage and of bearing children of the last two daughters, researchers assume that they were daughters of the second marriage of Jelena Jaksić with Ivaniš Berislavić 
Some genealogies also indicate Milica (known in Romanian historiography as Despina) Branković, married Neagoe Basarab, Prince of Wallachia (1512–1521) as being Jovan Branković's daughter. However, Milica, born in 1464 was too old to be his daughter and actually is the daughter of Stefan Branković.
|Ancestors of Jovan Branković|
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Jovan Branković.|
Fresco in the Krušedol monastery (1750s).
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