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Original scientific paper

Lent and Advent Ministers in the Dubrovnik Cathedral in the Eighteenth Century

Relja Seferović ; Croatian Academy of Sciences and Arts.The Institute of Historical Sciences, Dubrovnik, Croatia

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page 81-124

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Similar to other Catholic centres, Dubrovnik followed a practice of holding Lent and Advent sermons in the cathedral. Although the building was destroyed in the great earthquake of 1667 and awaited reconstruction for decades, this practice was not abandoned. Instead, the church of St Blaise and that of Rosary, next to the Dominican friary, were temporarily used for the purpose. The government’s concern for the ministry in the cathedral was formulated in several laws. The provisions specify who could hold sermons, with regard to religious order, origin (local or foreign ministers), size of the minister’s fee, as well as the number of sermons. Ministers were chosen according to a special procedure, by which two appointed members of the Minor Council nominated a candidate, to be later confirmed by the Senate and archbishop. Finally, the ministers were contacted in person and formally invited.
Thanks to the Minor Council’s regular records of the payments made to the commissioned ministers, a list of the Lent and Advent preachers in the Dubrovnik cathedral in the eighteenth century has been reconstructed, gaps being filled on the basis of other sources. This interesting gallery included lecturers from the Illyrian College in Loreto, provincials of holy orders, future bishops of Ston and archbishops of Dubrovnik. They all shared rich ministerial experience, no doubt the best possible reference to be engaged to preach gospel in the Dubrovnik cathedral.
A brief comparison with other east-Adriatic centres shows that Dubrovnik made most careful preparations for the arrival and performance of the Lent and Advent preachers. This was made possible by the Republic’s political independence and by far better off economic position. For reasons apparently political, only twice did the Ragusan government engage ministers from the territories under Venetian rule. Yet in the city itself, there was a striking difference between the well-attended sermons at the Franciscan and Dominican churches, and less popular ones in the cathedral. Apart from the linguistic aspect, considering that complex sermons in Italian or the ministerial baroque flamboyance did not appeal to many, the fact remains that the nobility, in this way too, managed to emphasize its privileged position with respect to other ranks.


Dubrovnik; ministers

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