Theodore Pavlovic - Life, Work, and Legacy: The Complete Story of the Serbian Intellectual

In the depths of Serbian history, Theodore Pavlovic stands as a pillar of intellectual richness and national dedication. His life, intertwined with the strength of character and deep love for his people, tells a story of relentless effort and commitment that guided him through all challenges and obstacles. Born at a time when the Serbian people were seeking their identity, Pavlovic emerged as a prominent member of society, recognized for his exceptional talent and leadership abilities.

Renewal of the work of Matica srpska and the publication of "Letopis"

The prohibition of Matica srpska's work and the ban on publishing Letopis fall during the time when Pavlović was the secretary of Matica and the editor of Letopis. Therefore, it was normal for him, along with the president, to be most actively involved in lifting the ban and obtaining approval for work. But it was not normal that besides him, no one else attempted to contribute from their side to expedite the resolution of Matica's appeal.

The ban on work caused great sorrow in Matica and among the Serbian people, especially Pavlović, who had just appeared on the scene. He undertook the task of proving that Matica is a cultural, not political institution, and that its goal is the enlightenment of the Serbian people, thus making it not only beneficial but also necessary.

This resulted in countless efforts by Pavlović, reaching out to all known or influential individuals. He especially hoped for assistance from the Serbian clergy. All in vain. Finally, he decided to appeal to the center of state power and justice "at the throne of the imperial palace."

Achieving the goal required not only legal skills and diplomatic tactics but also great perseverance and cunning. According to Dr. Subotić, Pavlović was the right person, perhaps the only one at that time, who could achieve this.

Pavlović had other qualities too, utilizing his connections gained while working in the office of Advocate Vitković, or as an independent lawyer in Pest. He dedicated all his energy and expertise to securing approval for Matica's work and the publication of Letopis.

For more than two years, he tirelessly knocked on the doors of the authorities, demonstrating and pleading for approval for Matica's work. Considering the prevailing atmosphere of opposition, obtaining permission for an institution whose program contradicted the government's aims was almost incomprehensible. Pavlović's personal interventions in Vienna, where he traveled and stayed at his own expense, greatly contributed to this success. But above all, as Dr. Pejičić says, it was the monarch's gratitude that prevented such a powerful educational institution from being taken away from the Serbian people.

Despite all the difficulties and resistance from the Pest authorities, Pavlović succeeded, after two years of pleading, in obtaining King Ferdinand's confirmation for Matica srpska and approval for the publication of Letopis.

By the decree of the Hungarian court chancellery on November 10, 1836, Matica srpska was granted permission to operate and placed under the supervision of the Pest magistrate.

When handing over the editing of Letopis to Jovan Subotić, Pavlović wrote about the agony surrounding the approval for Letopis No. II for the year 1841 on pages 170-176:

With the end of 1834, prompted by the ban not only of Letopis but also of its mother Matica from a high place, this was a real defeat for our literature, from which, had this not been reversed, we would have regressed fifty years instead of progressing. For two years, we had to work with all our might, to rise from the sand and start anew, rebuilding from the ground up. In all this, I overcame all obstacles: in 1837, I brought Matica and Letopis back to life, both with the high-ranking imperial permission, adorned with eternal greatness, as if reviving the spring of literature and education, bringing joy to all Serbs and all patriotic Slavs, so much so that I must admit that my happiest days were when I read and heard the congratulations of the newborn Matica and Letopis from Serbs and Slovenes..."

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