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Speleology is a multidisciplinary activity and people of various vocation are occupied with it, but they are mostly geologists, biologists, paleontologists as well as those who are not related to speleology by their vocation but by their hobby (pastime). Amongst those who dedicate a part of their job also to speleology are especially church workers, priests of various categories. Their contribution was especially important through passed centuries because priests were always providers of education and culture and they left behind numerous documents from which today’s speleologists use the data about our caves and holes.
St. Jerome (AD 340-420) was the first man related to caves in Dalmatia (Šegvić, 1918.). Apostolic protonotaries Carlo Bianchi (1877) and Abbot Ivan Marković (1908) wrote about caves on Brač and priests from Zadar (Rački, 1877) wrote about a cave in the bay of Željina on the island of Ugljan, the Dominican brother Serafin Razzi (1595) wrote about the Šipun cave in Cavtat, Benedictine brother Mavro Orbin (1601) wrote about the Rača cave on the island of Lastovo. Pauline brother Ivan Belostenec (Orlović, 1740) wrote down the first speleological terms and Ivan Dominik Vukasović a vicar of Otočac from Senj wrote about the caves, holes and sinkholes in the Otočac area and about the Tounjčica Cave in Tounj (Vukasović 1783). The Italian priest Francesco Maria Appendini wrote about caves on the island of Lastovo and in Dubrovnik’s surroundings (Appendini, 1802), Don Andrea Ciccarelli (1802) wrote about the eremite caves on the island of Brač and priest Stjepan Mlinarić (1842) wrote the first text in Croatian in the first Croatian newspapers about a little cave near Sveti Ivan Zelina.
Don Luka Jelić (1904) wrote about Strašna Pećina (Horrible Cavern) on the island of Dugi Otok and Don Frane Bulić (1909) wrote about Talijanova Buža (Italian Hole) on the island of Pag as did Antun Fabris (1976) in a Bakar church publication as well as Nikola Crnković (1985) in a Zagreb church publication. In 1943 a potholing section was established in Zagreb’s Salesian monastery. Don Ivo Protić wrote about the caves on the island of Korčula many times (1976, 1978 and 1991). Vicar ante Škobalj wrote a book about Zmajeva Špilja (Dragon’s Cave) on the island of Brač (1986) and a part of another book written together with some other authors (2003). Zagreb priest Juraj Batelja wrote also about Zmajeva Špilja and the cave Ljubitovica cave (the desert Blaca) (1992, 1993). Bibliotheca of Lika Parish published a translation of Julije Frasa’s book (he described about 80 caves on the Military Border) in 1998 and the book ‘Zvona pod zvijezdama’ (‘Bells Under the Stars’) by Ante Rukavina (1989) who described the Svetinja cave on Velebit. In the magazine of the parish office in Studenci a text by Vlado Lozić about the cave Golubinka was published. Fra Ilar Lukšić from the monastery of the Little Brothers in Dubrovnik researched the caves looking for the one where apparently his namesake St. Ilarius lived (Lukšić, 2000). Don Stanko Jerčić as a vicar in Selci on the island of Brač, was cofounder of the mountaineer society and supported speleologists (Bezmalinović, 2003).

Ključne riječi

cave, priests, speleology

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