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The Question of the Legendary Welegrad (Veligrad) as the Alleged Seat of the Moravian Archbishop Methodius
; Slovanský ústav Akademie věd ČR, Praha, Češka Republika
Puni tekst: engleski, pdf (153 KB)
Vavřínek, V. (2010). The Question of the Legendary Welegrad (Veligrad) as the Alleged Seat of the Moravian Archbishop Methodius. Slovo : časopis Staroslavenskoga instituta u Zagrebu, (60), 771-790. Preuzeto s http://hrcak.srce.hr/65891
The Czech popular tradition has a deep-rooted idea that the seat of Archbishop Methodius and the residence of Prince Svatopluk was a fortress called Welegrad (Veligrad) without any evidence in the contemporary sources. The place name does not appear in the legends from the 11th to the 13th centuries in which the bishop rank is attributed to Methodius and Constantine Cyril, and there is no reference to the place of their activities.
Welegrad as the archiepiscopal seat of Methodius is reported for the first time in the legends and chronicles from the 14th century when this place name had already been transferred to the monastery founded in 1205 for the German Cistercian monks.
A significant number of speculations were put forward by modern historians on whether the Great Moravian Welegrad had ever existed or not. Recently a hypothesis was suggested, though without any corroboration in the preserved sources, that Bruno of Schauenburk, the bishop of Olomouc, invented this tradition to support the promotion of his bishopric into an archbishopric. The place name Veligrad was first documented in 1141 as a staple-village. The composite of the Old Church Slavonic adjective velii (large) and noun gradъ (fortified settlement) shows that it must have been of the old origin. It is not likely that such a large staple-village was founded in the 10th century when South Moravia was ravaged by the Magyar onslaughts, or in the 11th century when it was conquered by the son of the Prince of Bohemia Břetislav who founded several fortresses for the protection of the Bohemian rule, one of them the fortress Spytihněv with an archdeaconry to which the staple-village Veligrad was given in possession. Both these localities are in the close vicinity of an archaeological site at the present-day townships Staré Město and Uherské Hradiště which in the 9th century was one of two largest
and mightiest Great Moravian fortresses. Very close to it, at the Sady heights, an ecclesiastical compound was discovered, the oldest part of which was a church with the cruciform ground plan; this church was obviously constructed as early as the very beginning of the 9th century and was continually in use till the mid-13th century. Various indirect indications allow us to assume that this compound may have been the seat of Archbishop Methodius as well as the place of his burial. It is quite possible that even Prince Svatopluk was buried there. Therefore, it seems very likely that this locality had been called Veligrad already in the Great Moravian period and that this place name as well as the tradition connected with it may have remained in the awareness of the local population throughout the following centuries.
Great Moravia; Cyrillo-Methodian tradition; Welegrad
Hrčak ID: 65891
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