Church in Čukljenik

(Google translate) Probably every citizen of the Čukljenik, burning a candle in the church of St. Petka in his village, at least once wondered when this church was formed, why exactly in that place and why only the walls remained. I am sure every Fellow heard a story about how some of the Crucians used to burn this festivity through our end, but I am even safer that very few people know all the details and circumstances under which this event took place. That’s why I decided to try and collect and share the currently available information that will cover at least part of this interesting and shocking story.

Church in Čukljenik

(Google translate) Probably every citizen of the Čukljenik, burning a candle in the church of St. Petka in his village, at least once wondered when this church was formed, why exactly in that place and why only the walls remained. I am sure every Fellow heard a story about how some of the Crucians used to burn this festivity through our end, but I am even safer that very few people know all the details and circumstances under which this event took place. That’s why I decided to try and collect and share the currently available information that will cover at least part of this interesting and shocking story.
By reading the existing historical sources describing the mentioned events, I realized that for their deeper understanding it is necessary to explain the term Varnino Crusade, as well as who were Janos Hunjadi and Despot Đurađ Branković.
The Varnino Crusade war lasted from October 1443 to November 1444 and was led between the Christian army led by the Hungarian king Vladislav III Jagel and the Ottoman Empire under the sultan Murat II. The war ended with the defeat of the Christian coalition in the battle near Varna. From there, the name of Varna’s Crusade warfare.
At the time of the aforementioned war at the head of Serbia was Đurađ Branković. He was born in 1377 and ruled Serbia from 1427 to 1456. He was the second son of Vuk Branković and Mare, the daughter of Prince Lazar. After the death of Stefan Lazarevic, Đurađ became a Serbian despot. After losing Belgrade, he raised the new capital – Smederevo, between 1427 and 1430, to the Danube, which gave him the nickname Smederevac.
After Smederevo fell under Turkish rule in 1439, Đurađ Branković, in fear of the Turks who issued a warrant for his head, fled to Zeta (to the city of Bar) and then to Dubrovnik. When he found out that he was not safe there, he moved to Hungary where he bowed to King Vladislav III there. Djurja and Vladislava linked the common hatred of the Turks, so they thought how to join the united forces to fight it. This kind of thinking was even more encouraging by Janos Hunjadi, Vladislav’s strongest support, both in the internal and external politics.
Janoš Hunjadi, also mentioned as Janko Hunjadi and Sibinjanin Janko, was born at the end of the 14th or the beginning of the 15th century (the data is different in historical sources) in the Turn Severin district of the noble family. It is assumed that his father was a certain Vojko, a Vlach prince from Banat, while his mother was of Hungarian descent and was called Erzebet.
However, there is another, more interesting story quoted by Serbian sources from the 17th and 18th centuries. She is probably legendary, but worth mentioning. According to her, Janos Hunjadi is considered to be the offspring of the Serbian despot Stefan Lazarevic. Namely, when visiting Serbia, the Hungarians had a chance to get to know the beautiful Serbian despot, so they wanted the offspring to leave them. That’s why they offered him a girl who will give birth to twins, a boy (Janos) and a girl after this adventure. In this way, Janoš, as Stefan’s son, was a descendant of the ruling Nemanjić family, since the mother of Stefan Lazarević Milica had a non-native origin.
In any case, Janos Hunjadi gradually, thanks to his merits, as well as the good relations and support he gave to King Vladislav III of Hungary, became one of the most important noblemen. He received the City of Belgrade (the title of the captain of Belgrade), and he also became the head of Erdzel.
During the dynasty of Đurđ Branković in Hungary, the creation of a major Christian league against the Ottoman Turks was increasingly discussed, which threatened to threaten Europe by conquering Serbia. In 1442, Pope Evgeny published a papal bull that forgave all sins to those who contributed to the struggle against the Turks, and in the new bulla of 1443, he gave up one-fifth of his income in favor of the Crusades against Turkey. Finally, at the end of February 1443, the Hungarian Parliament in Budim approved the initiation of a Crusade against the Turks.
In the autumn of 1443, the so-called Varna Crusade, which was led by King Vladislav, despot Đurađ Branković, Janoš Hunjadi, and others for our story, were less important characters. It is assumed that the Crusaders army accounted for some 30,000 soldiers, a number that they considered to be Christians, should scare the Turks, and perhaps make them surrender without a fight. Of this number, the Serbian despot had about 8,000 well-trained and prepared soldiers, who had a great motive to free their country of Ottoman bondage.

The war started and the Christians moved south. Somewhere between Aleksinac and the village of Bovna on November 3 or November 5, 1443, crusaders led by Janos Hunjadi and the Turkish army led by the Roman bachelor Kasim clashed. The Turks suffered a catastrophic defeat from which they recovered for a long time. After this victory, Hunjadi continued to move with his army towards the Čukljanica bay, which today they also call the Jelašnica gorge. Just before the knights of Janos Hunjadi, the army of Djurdj Brankovic was moving, and in the vicinity of the Kunovska River, our conscience arrived that the Turks came from the back. By skillful maneuver, Đurađ quickly prepared his army for battle, waiting for it on a flat space, suitable for the battle. The Serb army took the maestral victory, without the help of Hunjadi who arrived just after the end of the battle. In this victory, a certain Đurađ Mrnjavčević, a brother from his uncle Marko Kraljević, especially highlighted. In memory of this battle is given the name of the nearby village of Bancarevo. The name Bancarevo was derived from the word “ban” and “emperor”, in memory of the fighting of two armies, the Salsa of Ban and Turkish emperors.
After this victory, an event that does not serve the honor of the people of Janos Hunjadi as well as the whole of this crusade will follow. Having arrived near the village of Čukljenik on December 7, 1443, the army of Janoš Hunjadi stopped to collect power and restore supplies for the continuation of the trip. There were clusters in the area that Čukeličani today call Miljatovac. Soon a delegation was sent to the village to meet a farmer and ask him to provide food for the soldiers according to their needs.
It must be emphasized immediately that this move by the Crusaders army was not at all odd or unusual at the time. Namely, since the Crusaders could not carry enough food and drinks for the whole hike, which he sometimes knew to last for many years, they occasionally from the rulers of the countries through which they were going to ask them to provide them with the necessities to keep their way. In support of this, he says that one of the reasons for the meeting between the Serbian great mayor Stefan Nemanja and the German emperor Friedrich Barbarossa, which took place in Nis in 1189, was precisely that Stefan Nemanja had delivered security supplies to the German army on that occasion. It remains strange only why Hunjadi did not ask the Đurađ depot to do it for him, but he himself decided on such a move.
However, the Chuket people refused to comply with Hunjadi’s request and probably did not even dream of what consequences they would encounter for such a decision. The question is whether the farmer’s decision on disobedience was brought by himself or at a village gathering, but one is surely – annoyed by this move, Janjos Hunjadi has ordered that all the men who live in Čukitnik capture and gather around the church of St. Petka. Then he closed them to the church and burned them together. Everyone was burned on the spot.
There is also a question about the exact date of this event. Since it is known that Hunjadi’s army stayed in Miljatovac on November 7, it can be assumed that the church was burned down at that time, but it was not excluded that the negotiations and waiting for a farmer’s response lasted for one day, so it is more realistic to estimate that unhappy people Burnt together with the church exactly on November 8, 1443, at Mitrovdan.
Possible reasons for refusing to cooperate with the villagers of the village of Čukljenik with crucifixes are threes and in the domain are assumptions. The first reason is that Chukljanin had never met with such a situation until then, so they could not imagine what a crusader reaction might be if they did not meet them. This reason is unlikely, precisely because of the proximity of the road that was passing through these parts, in a history known as “Via Militaris”, which was constantly cruising various armies on the way to the east. Another possible reason was that our ancestors had to cut their mouths from the mouth for the purpose of giving food to the Crusades, so they decided to disobey this time because they simply did not want to suffer this kind of sacrifice. And finally, the third reason could be that there was not enough food for the nutrition of the Chukljanin themselves, let alone crusaders, who were crucified and not really interested, so they acted as barbaric.

Many will ask themselves what kind of a Christian army that can afford such a sin. Are they the crusades and values ​​for which wrestling is struggling? Is Christian Christians killing Christians? However, better knowledge of history this act will not be a lot a surprise. Krstaši have done so many times through history, which are in no way consistent with their name. It is sufficient to mention the year 1204 and the moment when they abandoned their goal (liberation of the Christ’s tomb in Jerusalem) in the Fourth Crusade, they turned their journey and conquered Constantinople from the Byzantines, their Christian brothers. The Crusaders then robbed Constantinople even more than the Turks themselves who conquered it in 1453, so one such, for a global history, a small outbreak, such as the burning of the church in Čukatnik, is not surprising. Since this disaster has not significantly or substantially influenced the significant flows of history, it has a local character.
The question remains what is with the despot Đurđ Branković? How did he react to all of this? How did this event affect the further cooperation between him and Hunjadi? In all likelihood, Đurađ Branković was informed of the burning of the Serbian church and its citizens. But he probably did not have much to forgive his ally in the war. Simply, he put two options on the scales. First, to resent Hunjadi and question the further warfare that Serbia can bring to liberation from the Turkish authorities. And the other one, to rotate on one eye and continue as if nothing had happened. Since history confirms that the relations of the two leaders have not been violated, we conclude that the state and personal interests of the Serbian despotic have nevertheless prevailed. Despot crossed over everything.
What happened to Čukljanik after this tragedy? It can not be said with certainty how the village’s recovery was going on, but considering that Čukljenik is mentioned in the Turkish texts, that is to say, in the defensive of the Nisan cadillac from 1498 (which is 55 years later) as a settlement with 38 houses and 12 watercourses, we can conclude That life in him somehow normalized. Tomislav Mladenović, the author of chronicles about the villages of Gornja and Donja Studena, says that all the men were killed in the church, but two of them who by no means happened to be in the village during the tragedy, because they were in the mountains due to some jobs. Upon their return, they restored the village, and from them will be formed the present-day families – the generations of the Gukonians (Marcini) and the Kicaners. Detailed archaeological excavations and analysis might reveal some other data that would complement our knowledge of this event.

The Order is that we finish the story of the Varna Crusade. At the beginning of December 1443, Sofia fell into Christian hands and the penetration continued. However, before the well-established hills of the Middle Mountain had to stop because the Turks at Zlatica had a strong resistance. Because of the winter that arose, accidental supplies and Turkish resistance, Christians began to retreat. The Turks tried to cause more blows to Christians when deviating, but at Kunovica (Suva planina) they suffered defeat. In this battle, the despot Đurađ Branković once again knocked on the Turkish army, and the Sultan’s envoy, who led the Turks, was killed in the battle. He is buried in the village of Tamnjanica, and says that his monument with the inscription is still there today. Otherwise, it should be made clear that this is not the village of Kunovica, but that Kunovica is actually a sermon name for Suva planina. The battle was played near the present Red Railway Station.
Many historians agree that this magnificent victory of the Serbian army was crucial for the restoration of the Serbian despotism in 1444 and the extension of its duration until the final fall of 1459.
In the renewed war and the new crusade on Turkey, despot Đurađ remained neutral. The decisive battle took place on November 10, 1444, near Varna, Bulgaria. Numerous superior Turks have completely defeated the Christian army. King Vladislav and many prominent nobles died in battle. Janko Hunjadi rescued a small number of soldiers. Ugars lost over 10,000 soldiers.
This is the end of this crucifix adventure, which almost did not forever shut down the life in Čukljanik. Maybe the day after the burning of the church in Čukatnik, Janoš Hunjadi forgot what the crime did, but we certainly will not allow this starvation of our ancestors to go into oblivion. At Mitrovdan in 1443 the fate of Čukljenik was broken. With a bit of luck, the village has been restored, and here is today in it.
We wonder if our ancestors’ refusal to obey the wishes of the crucifixion was courage or insanity ?! Was pride above life or simply risked death because they would still die and give food to their executioners ?! They would starve because they did not have enough food for themselves ?!
In the end, it remains to us that in the remains of the church of St. Petka, for which the exact time of construction can not be determined, but it can be assumed because of the style of construction that it was created between the 12th and the 15th century, we burn the candle in honor of the victims and thank them today We still exist.
Author: Milan Radivojević

Coordinates:

Latitude: 43.276181

Longitude: 22.080885