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.

Teodor Pavlović: Beacon of the Serbian Cultural Renaissance

Marko Maletin, a historian and former secretary of Matica Srpska from 1923 to 1929. During his tenure as secretary (1927), a book on the centenary of Matica Srpska was published.

He published the work "Teodor Pavlović" in the Gazette of the Historical Society in 1935, in which he states at the beginning:

"Over a quarter of a century ago, the bright arc of Teodor Pavlović's name concluded a long period of Serbian cultural and literary development. In 1888, a tombstone was erected to Teodor Pavlović, and at that time, the public held on to his name for the last time: and then it bid farewell to his memory."
"During his lifetime, Pavlović was one of the most celebrated Serbs of his time... This was not just the opinion of the intellectual members of Serbian society. In Pavlović's correspondence, as far as it has been preserved, there are many letters from ordinary merchants and craftsmen, admirers of his papers, and in them, they express their sincere love and respect, which they felt so deeply for Pavlović's personality and work."
"Pavlović had the greatest influence through his papers, his tireless awakening of national consciousness and education. When his papers ceased, when his voice was silenced, Pavlović's halo began to fade in broad circles."
"There are many works about Pavlović from the past, but they all share a common flaw: they are not objective. The authors of these works about Pavlović were mostly his contemporaries. They lived together with him, in the same atmosphere: they were inspired by the same ideals together with him: they were his collaborators, friends, admirers, so it is understandable that it was not easy for them to write objectively."
"Teodor Pavlović has become a concept, a general and undefined concept and symbol of national love of a long-gone era."
"The most important and typically flawed work is Pejičić's. The entire work of about a hundred pages (exactly 108 pages in pocket format 11 x 19 cm - Editor's note LM) is nothing but a hymn, written in a biblical style, with a consistently elevated and almost breathless tone."
"All of them, writing about Pavlović, were enthusiastic about his ideas and none of them specifically stated what Pavlović did."
This is a harsh judgment for a biography that did not aspire to give a scientific assessment of Pavlović's work, but to alleviate the grief of his closest ones (Pavlović's brother Jovan was the publisher of this biography) and to depict the life and character of the deceased as experienced by his best friend - the author of the biography. To remind us of his achievements and to preserve the memory of Teodor Pavlović.
Given the critique in the introduction, we expected Maletin to present Pavlović's entire activity. Especially since the title suggests it, as it reads "Teodor Pavlović," implying that it would evaluate each area of Pavlović's work and then, based on everything, give a general judgment of Pavlović's work. In this, he disappointed us because he - as it is said in literature - missed the topic. He focused only on one area of Pavlović's activity in journalism, but even then only on the "Serbian National Newspaper," while Pavlović, as a journalist, simultaneously published: "Serbian National Newspaper," "Serbian National News," and the almanac "Dragoljub." During that time, he was also the editor of the Chronicle (from 1832-1841), editing 27 issues, and besides that, he was the secretary of Matica Srpska and a member of the administrative and executive boards of many Serbian societies and associations, among them a member of the administration of the Pest Orthodox Community.
We highlighted, in the field of journalism, that due to the given judgment about this Maletin's work at the Scientific Conference held at Matica in May 1986, we will not dwell on Maletin's critique. As this might be interpreted as a desire to avoid acquainting readers with their content. Because of this, we will present the most severe parts of that critique:
"In its early years, the 'Serbian National Newspaper' was almost nothing more than an organ for popularizing botany and zoology, burdened by benefactors and dignitaries... the remaining content was introduced without plan, selection, and critique..."
At the scientific conference held at Matica in May 1986, these remarks were assessed as a misunderstanding of the purpose and character of these types of newspapers and that everything in that Newspaper was designed and planned.
We would briefly focus on Maletin's assessment that all works (writings) about Pavlović were unobjective because they were written by his contemporaries, who were inspired by the same ideals and that none of them specifically stated what Pavlović did.
Whose judgment can be more objective than that of those who were contemporaries and witnesses of events? Naturally, if it is not about giving a judgment about someone who has authority and which is present during the evaluation!? In this case, it was about evaluations given for a deceased person, a social worker, from whom no one had any reason to fear!
Can the concreteness of the assessment by Dr. Jovan Subotić, who in his speech at the ceremonial session of Matica on St. Sava's Day in 1871 highlighted - almost enumerated all the merits of Teodor Pavlović and gave his judgment on each, be disputed? Similarly, David Davidović at the session of October 24, 1854, and Matica delegates Ljubomir Lotić and Andrija Matić in their speeches at the unveiling of the tombstone in Karlovo in 1888, when they even mentioned his merit for celebrating the Serbian educator St. Sava.

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