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.

Dr. Jovan Subotić

Teodor Pavlović: Renovator and Hero of Serbian Culture and Journalism

Dr. Jovan Subotić, in his speech at the solemn session of Matica held on St. Sava's Day in 1871, spoke about Pavlović:
"... it is difficult to decide whether he is more beautiful in body or nobler in heart, or more sublime in spirit. Pavlović was always immaculate, elegantly dressed, and groomed 'as if from a box,' as they say, and he held himself correspondingly in everything, in conversation, in gait, in behavior. He was acquainted with all the distinguished personalities of those days in Pest and Hungary... With living Serbian writers, Pavlović was personally acquainted with all... And the younger generation had many representatives in Pavlović's circle... From this, it can be seen that Pavlović held a very distinguished position among the people and was a highly influential force."
"Our national life stood very weakly at that epoch and was more like a seed in the soil than a growing plant, which had an organized form and structure."

"In order to help the Letopis, and to be able to publish other Serbian books, a small society of patriots was formed in Pest, and they founded a society, the members of which had to pay 40 forints in silver upon joining, which contributions were to create a fund from which these goals could be achieved... But the funds of Matica Serbian soon ran out, and within it, conflicts arose, which ultimately led to the cessation of Matica and Letopis by the government."
"With this, we had liquidated the literary activities of the society altogether: and its survival had much less prospect, as its own members were opponents and antagonists."
"Of course, Pavlović, as the secretary of Matica Serbian and the editor of Letopis, was primarily called upon to work for the maintenance of Matica and for the continuation of Letopis."
"This required advocacy skills, diplomatic flexibility, democratic resilience, and practical ways to achieve the goal. For this task, Pavlović was, as we have said at the beginning, exactly in his place and perhaps the only one at that time who could accomplish it."
"We, who are now engaged in a struggle with the government for some of our matters, can imagine what effort, what endeavor, what resilience was needed there to obtain the confirmation of Matica Serbian, and we will truly appreciate it when I tell you that there was a man fighting there and that he was fighting with the government, which was in the first stage of national enthusiasm, that is, in the stage of fanaticism. And this determines the true merit of Pavlović for his people, which he earned for himself when he led that gigantic struggle, successfully concluded it, and brought complete success to the people."
Subotić called him the renovator of Matica, comparing him to Stefan Nemanja, who said that he had renewed his heritage and rightfully considered himself the renewer of the Serbian state. He also says that Pavlović can be called a renovator on another basis:
"The society of Matica Serbian spent all its funds. This is not surprising because this one was insignificant, and the publication was associated with damage... and here Pavlović did a lot. He recruited members and collected contributions... By his efforts, the strength of our institution was renewed and multiplied so that it could be maintained and its survival secured."
In addition to being the secretary of Matica and the editor of Letopis, he also published his two newspapers, which, among other things, he used to attract new members and benefactors of Matica Serbian. But these newspapers, although they greatly contributed to his popularity among Serbs, materially exhausted him. Due to his involvement in their editing and publication, he had to abandon and eventually completely give up his advocacy.
Subotić says about his role in Serbian journalism:
"Pavlović's actions in the field of Serbian journalism secure him an excellent place in the history of Serbian literature and national life as the founder of Serbian journalism, and this is a truly great merit."
"In the field of literature as a writer, he produced little and that would not have sustained his name: but as a practical actor, he will remain in the history of that time forever as a notable Serb, who deserves to have friends and acquaintances greet him above his dark grave, as well as the younger generation and Serbian grandchildren exclaim: 'Glory to you, patriot, for the effort, the deeds, the sacrifices you endured and made out of love for the nation for its benefit and glory.'"
"We have another sphere of Pavlović's activity in which he has great merits for himself and benefits for the people, achieved in the creation of funds. When we see today how great the work of Sava Tekelija is, full of blessings and glory: and what more can be done from it in a similar manner: then we must not forget the silent but decisive merit of a man who preserved, nurtured, strengthened, and helped bring about this idea!"
"We must say that Teodor Pavlović had an important but difficult task: that he carried out with great effort and sacrifices, and that he made very rich services to his people through notable, consequent, and successful actions... and that he truly deserved, that the people remember his name with pleasure, and that he be mentioned with blessings."

Related Articles

Dr. Vladimir Zdelar 1868-1926.

Dr. Stevan Vasić

Dr. Sava Janković