STEPHAN CHILDREN AND THE PROPERTY DONATED TO THE CHILDREN’S MONASTERY by Hristo Berov

 

The phenomenon of “donation” has gained a lot of momentum during the Renaissance, but it has a significant background. Its roots could be found in the Christian religion and in the desire of every Christian to save the soul. Confirmation of such a statement is the fact that the main objects of donation activity in the Middle Ages were precisely monasteries and temples. It is also misleading to think that “donation” is a specific Bulgarian phenomenon. On the contrary, based on the number of stored documents (gift certificates), it turns out that “conquest” is a gesture much more inherent to the Serbian kings (kings) and the Byzantine Basil. Of course, such a conclusion is too speculative and simplistic. Rather, it should speak of an all-Balkan phenomenon, inspired by the Constantine-Polish rulers.1 .

It is precisely the endowment of a monastery and, in particular, the motives of the donor and, above all, the size of the donation that is the subject of the next exhibition. It is the Serbian monastery “Christ Pantokrator” near Pec – better known as the Decani Monastery. It emerged as the inheritance of King Stefan Urosh III (1321-1331), who was later nicknamed the Decani, by the name of that monastery. Apparently, the monastery in question holds a special place, since only this Serbian ruler is named after his name.

The period during which the monastery was built is quite long – from the late 1920s to the late 1930s, laying the foundations of this monastery, Stefan Decani follows the old tradition of Serbian kings to establish large monastery complexes, endowed with rich in villages, lands and population. In accordance with the then requirements to create a monastic cloister Serbian ruler issued and endowment charter in 1330 This is the document which defines the size of donations received from the monastery 2. In the beginning, the Serbian king gave an explanation of what made him embark on the ambitious task of establishing a new monastery. On the one hand, this is his desire to declare himself a continuer of his ancestors and a finisher of the case of St. Sava, who according to his diploma set the beginning of the Deccan monastery, but failed to complete his case. On the other hand, it is the desire of a Christian to contribute to the salvation of his soul. Such a wish is alluded to in the text of the charter, and there also expresses the hope that the monastery will remain as a memory of the King, his predecessors and his heirs. Such motivation is fully in line with the traditional view of the sovereign gift of the Middle Ages 3 .

      The donations the monastery receives are summarized at the beginning of the document. The monastery receives villages, Vlachs and Arbanassi katuns, liturgical books, church utensils, clothes needed for the services, etc. 4 The most important of all monasteries is the villages and katuns. They are donated to the monastery along with their lands, mountains and population. It is the listing of these monastery properties that occupies most of the text of the document. Of particular importance are the immunity rights acquired by the monastery under the provisions of this document 5 .

The possessions of Christ Pantokrator Monastery are located in the lands of the so-called Old Serbia, in particular in the geographical and historical district of Metohija and in some of the northern borders of present-day Albania. To establish the precise geographical scope of Decani possessions has great merit Radomir Ivanovic, who carried out field research in these areas, and publish the results in a series of articles in “Historical chasopis” in the early 50-ies of XX century. 6

 

As a result of his research and crawling on the terrain, R. Ivanovic established the existence of a large number of villages mentioned in the certificates. In addition, the Serbian scientist used the names of the mountains, recorded in medieval documents, and remained unchanged to this day as safe landmarks. His studies give an idea of ​​the size and geographical extent of the properties of the Decani Monastery. In general, it can be argued that the monastery possessions include lands and settlements located north of Prizren and south of Pec, reaching west to the Skrobotnitsa mountain and east to the valley of the Beli Drim river. The results of R. Ivanovich’s work allowed him to conditionally divide the monastery possessions into two parts – north and south.7 . The northern part is characterized by mountainous relief, while the southern part is flat, due to the fact that it is part of the Prizren-Metohija valley. It can be argued with great certainty that the monastery has one main nucleus of ruled villages, covering the lands around the Decanska Bistritsa River (mainly to the south of it) and most of the lands along the upper Lim River, in the medieval float. In addition, the monastery owns land, respectively. and settlements, in the medieval parish of Altin – in present-day Northern Albania, along the Valbona River, as well as some properties east of the Beli Dream 8 . Again, according to R. Ivanovic, the approximate extent of the property holdings of the Christ Pantokrator Monastery (Decan Monastery) near Pecs will be approximately 2500 square km 9. These calculations by the Serbian scholar have been corrected by M. Peshikan, who, on the basis of his recent research, assumes that the territorial reach of the monastery possessions hardly exceeded 1800 square km 10 .

The villages donated to the monastery are 23 in total, along with 9 neighborhoods. These settlements are described according to a geographical principle. First are those located in the plain part of the monastery property, that is, in the Prizren-Metohija valley. These are a total of 13 villages and 7 neighborhoods. The boundaries of their lands are described in detail with the exception of the villages of Ulochani, Sredno selo and Kumanovo. Also mentioned are mountains, parts of which are in the lands of some of the villages – Jerovitsa, Ship, Turtes, Plotica and Ples. Then it is generally given “Altin (medieval county – bm, XB. B.) with neighborhoods and borders” and the boundaries of the whole county are outlined. Following are 7 villages and 1 neighborhoods located in the mountainous part. They are mostly located within the medieval district of Plav. The boundaries of their lands are also described in detail. Also included here are mountains or parts of mountains that the monastery has the right to operate. 4 mountains are listed – Hotina Gora, Shtirnitsa, Good Voditsa and Seventh Bory.

       These settlements form the main nucleus of the monastery property. The monastery also donated 7 oxen of Katun. Apart from these settlements, owned entirely by the monastery, the high ranking donor also donates villages subordinated to various secular persons. These are 3 villages and 1 neighborhoods, all of which are characteristic of being far from the main monasteries. Most likely, the owners of these settlements are engaged in security activities regarding the monastery, although there is no direct information in the diploma. Almost all villages are given with their adjoining lands. For boundary markers, in the compilation of the relevant word maps, noticeable objects from the surrounding area were used – trees, stones, roads, terrains, etc.

This document does not list the dependent peasants (merops) who live in the donated villages. This does not make it possible to conclude the total number donated to the monastery population or its distribution in the villages. However, the letter of Stefan Urosh III also mentions specific persons who have a different status from merops farmers. These people are dependent peasants with more special functions – falconers and mahupts. A total of 63 people from different villages (14 villages in total) are listed as falconers. Of these, 47 are residents of villages (8) located in the flat part of the Decani lordship, and the remaining 16 are from the villages of Plav, that is, the mountainous part.

The highest number of falconers is in the village of Čabić – 18 people. No falconers from the Altai Zulu or villages belonging to the Nestellites subordinate to the monastery are indicated. M. Dinic deals with the problem of status-1l and the functions of the falconers, who, on the basis of the Decani Manas-Ir diploma data, concludes that this is a population not clearly separated from the Merops . Dinic agrees with St. Novakovic that these are people involved in the maintenance of the kitchen, fires and stoves in the monastery 12 . (in addition to V. Moshin, in addition to staffing in the kitchen, falconers were often used as couriers 13 .

Another group of dependent people with special obligations, donated to the monastery by diploma, are the Majuppians. They are a total of 25 people in 2 villages – Velika – 10, and Komarani – 15. Both villages are located in the mountainous part of the monastery properties. There is no dispute about the functions of the Majuppians. These are dependent peasants used as bakers 14 .

In addition to these two large groups, the letter also mentions the obligation of two Albanians – Zacharias and Michael – to give the monastery silk. One is 4000 and the other is 2000, but it is not clear whether this is the monetary value of silk or the amount of silk in some unit.

In addition to land ownership, the monastery also receives its immunity rights. The document regulates the rights of the monastery to its subordinate population. The amount of taxes to be paid to the monastery is determined, as is the amount of land that will be cultivated by each farmer for the benefit of the monastery. Merops are obliged to cultivate in favor of the monastery 6 mats of 15 wheat, 2 mats of oats, 2 millet and 2 vines. They are exempt from the hijacking tax 16 , but not from the plunder 17. Falconers are also obliged to cultivate the land, but in smaller quantities – for ‘wheat’, wheat, oats, millet and vineyards. Different craftsmen have the same status as falconers in terms of cultivating land for the benefit of the monastery. Everyone is obliged to mow hay, whether it be merops, falconers or craftsmen. Moreover, if a village has no meadows in its land, then the abbot has the right to send the villagers to mow elsewhere. Also, everyone is obliged to pay lamb 18 and the priests give a tip 19to the monastery, as they did in favor of Bishop of Tail. This, the last, tax was paid by the king from the high church official in question. In addition to the obligation to sow cereals, merops must also do the work of “harvesting wheat”, that is, the cultivation of wheat. The abbot has the right to indicate which villages will produce malt (malt). It is the duty of all dependent peasants to cultivate the monastery vineyards.

This seems to solve the issues of cultivation of the monastery land, as well as the problems with the nourishment of the monastic brotherhood. The cultivation of the land and the cultivation of wheat, millet and oats provide the necessary bread, and the preparation of malt (malt) and the cultivation of vines provide the drinks. Naturally, surpluses are most likely to be traded. In addition, making hayfields from all dependents ensures the livelihood of the monastery cattle. Animal husbandry is burdened with hair. It is especially emphasized that when grazing on monastery mares, Vlachs will receive a monthly fee but will not be entitled to a “scar” 20from mares. The issue with the sheep grazing herds is different. They have the right to take a sheep with a lamb as well as to receive a monthly salary, but for each lost sheep they have to pay. In addition to horses and sheep, the monastery is likely to raise oxen as it is mentioned that the abbot has the right to choose the ratai he needs for the harnesses available to the monastery. Therefore, cattle should * be bred as a harness. It is the duty of the Vlachs – in addition to the care of the monastery animals – to supply salt.

The document also ensures the integrity of church and rural land. Both categories of land cannot be given to anyone – “neither bolarin, nor falconer, nor priest.” It has also been suggested that if a falconer wants to settle in the monastery area, he can do so where there is enough land. There is a logic in this requirement, since falconers, although with more special functions, must cultivate at least four “mats” of land, which is about 4 acres 21 . The Goyle condition may also account for the greater number of falconers in the plains of the monastery holdings, where the land is in any case greater than in the mountainous parts.

The following few provisions in the diploma regulate some, so to speak, social issues in the monastery land. First of all, this is the status of those born of a marriage between a Serb (ie, a farmer) and a woman from the Vlachs of Vlach. These marriages are generally forbidden, but if this happens, then the woman begins to obey the law of merops. Children from this marriage are also considered merops. It is evident that the donor wishes to maintain the ratio between farmers and cattle breeders, and if it is ‘disturbed’, this will be at the expense of increasing the number of farmers. However, it does not say how the generation of OT marriage should be treated between a Vlach (cattleman) and a Serb woman (ie, a woman of the Meropsi family).

Another important issue is that of craftsmen. The diploma states that if a master has more sons (“three or four”), then one of them will continue to be a craftsman like his father, the rest must become falconers or, if they wish, merops. It is again striking that the aim is not to allow for changes in the proportions between the different categories of population and, if that happens, to be directed towards increasing the agricultural workforce. Although falconers and craftsmen have the same obligations in cultivating the land, the possibility of switching to the category of merops does, however, betray the desire of the monastery to increase its dependent agricultural population.

This is all the more evident from the provisions on the sons of the priests and the merophes themselves. Papal sons can inherit their father’s functions, that is, the priesthood only if they learn to read. Otherwise, they are automatically assigned to the merps, and the priest chooses someone suitable to succeed him in the ministry. The situation with the sons of the merps is clear – they remain so. The diploma even emphasized that they cannot change their status even if they are studied.

This set of provisions is primarily aimed at preserving and increasing, where possible, monastery dependent farmers. This underscores the importance attached to the cultivation of the land and is a confirmation of the known fact that land ownership was a core value at the time. The greater number of farmers allows for more arable land – not to forget that each merops is obliged to work in favor of a monastery of a specific area (see above), amounting to 12 “mats” or approximately 12 decar 22 . It can be concluded that the landed property is the most important for the monastery.

The monastery is apparently charged with some judicial functions as part of the donor’s orders concern fees and fines related to legal proceedings. The size of several of them is determined. Obedience 23 , Hand 24 and Seal 25 are set at 4 dinars, while feud 26 is paid, as is the law on Serbian lands – half is paid to the monastery, half is paid to the “communicator” (in the original “navigators”, in modern Serbian translation – “teller”).

This assignment of privileges – administrative and judicial – is a special kind of donation – power is given, not property, but the right to govern. That is, a portion of the ruler’s rights over a certain territory and the population there is donated. This transfer of some of the sovereign rights to the newly created monastery is perhaps the most significant result of the “donation action” of the Serbian king.

Given the purpose of this diploma, namely, to serve as an official document for the founding of the monastery, the general nature of the provisions relating to immunity rights, as well as the more general description of the villages, are understandable. All these things will later be refined in the charters issued during the time of Stefan Dushan (1331-1355) 27 .

On the question of the type of liturgical books, as well as details of church utensils, which are mentioned to have been donated to the monastery, the document is silent. But apparently they are appreciated as a royal gift, since they are mentioned besides in the letter and in the life of Stefan Decanski, written by Gregory Zamblak in the beginning of the 15th century. n. 28 Moreover, in the archives of Decani monastery reserved two ornate cross, which are believed to be from the time of Stephen Decani, although undergone some changes in the XVII and XVIII c. 24 since the king has been preserved the wooden abbot’s throne, which is a rare primo medieval “furniture” 30. In all likelihood, it is also part of the donation to the monastery.

However, it is not so important for the monastery, and also for its donor, what liturgical books or what church utensils will be owned by the monastery. Far more important is the issue of property possessions and immunity rights that the monastic brotherhood will enjoy. This fact shows, first of all, that the Serbian ruler and the monastery are interested in greater walling than ensuring the economic stability of the monastery, which in turn would help establish it as a spiritual center. On the other hand, the great attention paid to the regulation of the immunity rights of the monastery shows that, despite the noble motives and the pure motives declared at the beginning of the document, both the clergyman and the monastery want to clarify their legal and administrative relations.

In conclusion, it should be noted that no general conclusions can be drawn about the practice of endowing monasteries and temples in the Balkans during the Middle Ages solely on the basis of a single, separately considered case, such as that of the Decani Monastery. However, the similar fate of much of the monastery complexes – both as an emergence and as a further development – implies a more in-depth study of the problem and the discovery of certain patterns and patterns.

 

SHORT BIOGRAPHICAL REFERENCE:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Stefan Urosz III Decanski

Stefan Urosh III Decani (ca. 1285 – November 11, 1331) is a Serbian king (1321-1331) of the Nemanic dynasty. Named after the village of Decani , near which the construction of the monastery of the High Decani Monastery began, the name Decani King was often named. The monastery complex was completed and consecrated by his son Stefan Dushan. In the monastery are preserved the mortal remains of Stefan III Uros .

       Stefan Urosh III Decani is the son of the Serbian King Stefan II Milutin and the Bulgarian princess Anna, daughter of the Bulgarian king George I Terter.

early years

As a child, Stefan Decani was sent hostage by his father as a hostage in the Golden Horde of Khan Nogai, with which the Serbian king secured the neutrality of the Tatars (Cumans) in his war with Vidin’s Shishman despotism after assisting his brother, Stefan Dragutin. the holdings of Derman and Kudelin. Stefan Dechanski spent eight years in captivity and managed to escape with Theodor Svetoslav and Chaka only after the death of Khan Nogai in 1299. Immediately after his return from captivity – on October 24, 1299, Stefan Dechanski married the daughter of King Smilets. Smilets, which in the long run satisfied the claims of state-law nature of Smiltsen to Stefan Milutin after the abandonment of Anna Terter. Stefan Dechanski is named heir to the throne and married to the daughter of the Bulgarian royal couple.

Stefan Dechanski and Teodora Smilets have three children:

  • Stefan Dushan
  • Dushitsa, who died in 1318 in Constantinople during the exile of the family
  • Helen

Rebellion against Stefan II Milutin

After returning to Serbia, Stefan Decanski gets management of the Zeta area. That same year, Stefan II Milutin married for the fourth time for political reasons to the five-year-old Byzantine Princess Simonida Paleologina, and his marriage to Anna Terter was broken up and she was sent to Byzantium.

Due to the fact that Stefan II Milutin and Simonida Paleologina have no children, the mother of the new queen, Irina Monferratska, begins to work hard to secure the Serbian throne for one of her sons. Dissatisfied with his mother’s attitude and his father’s pro-Byzantine policies, in 1314 Stefan Dzeczanski rebelled against his father in order to seize all power. With the help of faithful troops, Stefan II Milutin suppresses his son’s rebellion. Stefan Dechanski was captured and taken to Skopje, where, at his father’s command, he was blinded and imprisoned. Shortly after, Stefan Milutin’s blind son, with his entire family, was sent into exile in Constantinople. Due to Stefan Decani’s later “viewing” in the case, “his blindness” may have been instilled or done in a way that allows at least partial vision restoration.

In Constantinople, Stefan Decani and his family find good reception in the court of Emperor Andronicus II, and possibly support from the wealthy sister of Theodora – Marina Smilets, who was also in Constantinople at the time.

Returning to Serbia and taking the throne

According to one version of the development of the Milutin-Decansky conflict in 1320, Stefan Milutin allowed his son Stefan Decansky and his family to return to Rashka, where Stefan Decansky received forgiveness from his father, who also handed him over to Budimle County with the Bihor Fortress. along the Lim River in the so-called Polimie. According to another version, after he learned of his father’s death in Constantinople (he died in 1321), he announced that Saint Nicholas had regained his sight and immediately arrived in Serbia, where he offered his brother to share power.

After the death of Stefan II Milutin, a brief struggle for the throne ensued in Serbia, in which Stefan Decani supported by the Orthodox Church succeeded in imposing himself on the other claimants and was crowned King of Epiphany in 1321. However, this does not stop the fight for the throne, and there are no contenders for it. In 1322, Stefan III Dechanski killed his brother Stefan Constantine’s troops and killed him, and in 1324 he succeeded in removing his cousin Stefan Vladislav II – who escaped captivity after the death of Stefan Milutin, who was defeated and driven out.

It turns out that the aspirants to power enjoy considerable foreign policy support from Bulgaria, Byzantium and Hungary, depending on the interests of the three countries, and in particular their rulers, who ruled in separate periods.

War with Bulgaria

In 1323, King Michael III Shishman came to power in Bulgaria, who at the time was married to Stefan Dechanski’s sister, Anna Neda. The new Bulgarian king did not fail to intervene in the civil war that broke out in Byzantium between Emperor Andronicus II and his grandson Andronicus III, supporting Andronicus III. On the other hand, Stefan Decanski is on the side of Andronicus II. Being in two hostile military camps, as well as for many other reasons, the marriage was dissolved and in 1325 Mikhail Shishman divorced the sister of Decansky to marry the widow of Theodor Svetoslav / with whom Stefan Decansky was together in Tatar captivity. However, the Civil War unfavorably developed for the old Andronicus, and in 1325 Stefan Dechanski abandoned his ally. In the end, young Andronicus III succeeds in overthrowing his grandfather and taking power in Constantinople. Soon, relations between former allies Andronicus III and Michael Shishman were reversed, and another war began between Bulgaria and Byzantium. The only winner of the strife in Bulgaria and Byzantium is the Serbian Kingdom, which has managed to conquer many of its two neighbors in Macedonia.

In 1329 an armistice was concluded between Bulgaria and Byzantium and the Bulgarian king decided to take action to occupy the estates of Stefan Dechanski. From the very beginning of his reign, Mikhail Shishman came into conflict with Stefan Decani, as the newly elected Bulgarian king, along with his supporter of the throne, believed that the Rashka Kingdom or most of it belonged to Bulgarian law. Michael Shishman also takes the name Assenemphasizing her continuity along the lines of her grandmother Anna-Theodora Assenina to the Assen Dynasty. Michael Shishman is also a direct descendant of Nemanya, moreover, that Bulgaria is an older country, and in this sense he follows the heir to the throne Stefan Dushan / just like Mihail Shishman a fifth degree descendant of Stefan Nemanya /, having in mind that that Dushan belongs to the only one competing for the throne of the Smilez dynasty (Mikhail Shishman fought at first with the brothers of Stefan Dushan’s grandfather – Voisil and Radoslav, who are also uncles of Stefan Dechanski’s wife). To this end, Michael Shishman has undertaken the following purposeful and consistent steps during his reign over the years:

  • insults Decansky’s sister and expels her after 25 years of married life in a monastery with their four children, announcing that she deprives her son of her Ivan Stefan / Mikhail Shishman has no children from another spouse / from the heirloom, as she owns the Vidin despotism entrusting it to his brother Belaur;
  • insults the Terterovtsi / to which Stefan Dechanski and Anna Neda belong / by marriage with the widow of Theodor Svetoslav – Theodora Paleologina;
  • sends repeated ultimatums to Stefan Decanski, the latter repeatedly asking for peace;
  • takes Tatar (Kuman) mercenaries into his army from Vidin to indicate where he thinks he should end the miserable life of Stefan Dechanski / in Tatar captivity where he was with his uncle and Shishman predecessor of the Throne throne Theodor Svetoslav in case of rejection of shishman conditions;

In addition, Mikhail Shishman “has long had a tooth” of Decani’s father Stefan Milutin for his victory over his father Shishman and for the occupation of Derman and Kudelin’s possessions.

To this end, in the spring of 1330 he formed an anti-Serb alliance with Andronicus III. By most assumptions, the ultimate goal is the complete destruction of the Serbian Kingdom and the division of its lands between Bulgaria and Byzantium. Mikhail Shishman attracted the rulers of Wallachia, Moldova and the Black Races into the coalition, and gathered a huge army of his time, most of all, aiming to respect Stefan Dechanski and suggest to him that his resistance was pointless.

On June 19, 1330, the Bulgarian army left Tarnovo, but instead of heading directly to the border, it passed through Vidin to retrieve the Tartar mercenaries, who were to be taken back to Dechanski again, as well as the hated Shishman contender for the Dushan throne. At the same time, Andronicus III entered Macedonia, conquering four small fortresses (Debrica, Dobromir, Cavalarion and Siderokastron) and settling in a camp near Bitola, awaiting further developments. From Sofia the Bulgarian army heads to the Zemen Fortress and takes it. Stefan Dechanski initially waits for his former father-in-law in the Dobrich field at the confluence of Toplica with the Bulgarian Morava, and subsequently deploys his troops along the Morava River and through Stara Nagorichane / where in the church “St. George “prayed for peace / camped in the vicinity of Velbuzhd (present-day Kyustendil). For most researchers, the troops of the two rulers are of approximately equal size. According to Nikifor Grigora, Michael Shishman has 12,000 Bulgarians and 3,000 Scythians (Tatars, Yassis, Alans and Vlachs). There are 14,000 people available to Stefan Decani, who are later joined by 300 (according to Cantacuzin) or 1000 (according to Gregory) Catalans (Spanish mercenaries from the Catalunya region) / probably the jobless knights of Roger de Flora /. Waiting for them, on July 24, Stefan Dzeczanski offers Mikhail Shishman a one-day truce. Shishman hopes that the respected Dechanski agrees to an “honorable peace” and accepts the shishman terms that are not known exactly what they were. The king accepts the proposal for a truce, because there are no provisions for the troops, and also to rob the Tartars of rent from the surrounding villages, as John Cantacuzin informs us. Belaur was found not to be joining his brother, as was Ivan the despot of the human despot. As the Bulgarian army suffers from a lack of food, on the day of the armistice, it is scattered throughout the surrounding settlements to procure it. At this time the heavily armed Catalan mercenaries were arriving. Taking advantage of the advantageous situation, Serbian Crown Prince Stefan Dusan violates the ceasefire and attacks the Bulgarian camp, and in particular the Shishman Tatar Guard, thus trying to thwart the Shishman’s intentions altogether, as well as to provide himself with a possible Bulgarian tronary service. at the same time to prevent the outbreak of the fratricidal war started by Shishman. Michael Shishman’s attempt to organize effective resistance was unsuccessful, and by his third attempt, the heavily armed Cavalry horsemen had broken the royal frontier. In the battle of Velbuzhd on July 28, 1330, Michael Shishman was defeated and the king himself was caught fleeing to the fortresses of the Zemen Gorge, severely wounded after falling from a horse, dying three days later in captivity. As contemporary contemporary John Cantacuzin tells us, the convoy was captured after the battle, and the regular soldiers were allowed to leave, because

they were not accepted to be enslaved because they were tribal

The hit Tatars were severely injured. Michael Shishman was buried in the church of St. St. George “in Staro Nagorichane, where Stefan Decani was praying for deliverance and peace just before the battle.

Marriage to Maria Paleologina

The first wife of Stefan Dechanski Theodora Smilets died in 1324. The king made plans to remarry Philip Tarantsky’s daughter. Through this marriage, the King’s plans were to bring him closer to the branch of the Anjou Dynasty, which governs the Kingdom of Naples, to form an anti-Byzantine alliance. Stefan Dechanski’s plans collapse and he is forced to seek a husband from Byzantium. Maria Paleologina, daughter of John the Paleologist and granddaughter of Michael VIII Paleologist, was chosen as such. They married in the same 1324 and have two children:

  • Simeon Sinisha
  • Theodora-Evdokia

The death of Stefan Decanski

King Stefan Dzeczanski died on November 11, 1331. There are several mutually exclusive versions of the King’s death. The first version appeared during the reign of his successor Stefan Dusan and was launched by Archbishop Danilo II in the Lives of Serbian Kings and Archbishops. According to him, shortly before the end of his days, King Stefan Decanski decided to bequeath the rule of his son’s country from his second marriage to Maria Paleologina. As an obedient son, Stefan Dushan obeyed his father’s will and left for Constantinople, where he was persuaded to rebel against his father, which led to a war between Stefan Dusan and Stefan Dechanski. Stefan Dushan succeeded in imposing himself on Stefan Dechanski, who was taken to the Zvecan Fortress, where he died of a heart attack after being dethroned by Stefan Dushan’s faithful rulers, and had previously been convicted by the Nemanichi royal court . Another version of the death of the king is told in the life of Stefan Decanskiby Gregory Zamblak, who states that the king died at the hands of his son. This late version of Decani’s violent and patronizing (ungrateful son and killer Dusan) demise has an unreliable origin, as the Serbs hate Dusan because of his grandiose plans and his deletion of Serbia’s traditional Serbian character, making it a Bulgarian kingdom. and by proclaiming the Serbian Archdiocese of St. Owl in the Patriarchate.