The History of Cetinje – Part II
In the period from 1685. until 1692. in Cetinje, one of the most meritorious Montenegrin metropolitans of the XVII century, Visarion III Borilovic, ruled.
The famous Turkish army commander, Suleiman – pasha Busatlija, on the 20th of September 1692., begins the second campaign of the conquering of the under Lovcen Montenegro. Turkish forces began their breech to Cetinje, from Crmnica and Podgorica, so by using the untimely and pretty loose alliance between the Venetians and the Montenegrins; the Turks manage, with the help of a Venetian squad to position themselves on Cetinje, and to order the mining of the Cetinje monastery. Then Montenegrin forces, in town and around it, are reorganized in a guerilla warfare way of battle and they make large losses to a significantly powerful Turkish army. The constant attacks from Montenegrins, especially at night, are forcing Suleiman – pasha, to leave Cetinje, and with his leaving disappears the idea of establishing control over under Lovcen Montenegro.
In the year 1694. on the position of the Montenegrin metropolitan of the Orthodox Church, and by that the first persona in the political life of the under Lovcen Montenegro, comes Savatije (Sava) Kaludjerovic, from Ocinici, near Cetinje. At that position bishop Sava stayed until 1697. when he is being substituted by the newly elected metropolitan Danilo Scepcevic, the founder of the bishopric and the dynasty of the family Petrovic Njegos. Bishop Danilo rules with the free part of Montenegro until the year 1735. The credits that go to bishop Danilo are numerous, so thanks to his wisdom and righteousness he managed to achieve the right of inheriting bishop’s title in his family. That status meant political primate in controlling of Cetinje, that is the under Lovcen Montenegro. Because of such a credit, the chroniclers write, that bishop Danilo Petrovic raised himself high, compared to the previous spiritual and secular rulers of free Montenegro.
The period from 1701. to 1704. in Danilo`s control is remembered by his sacrifice for the building of the new Cetinje monastery. Instead on Cipur, where until the mining and destroying by the Venetians and the Turks the seat of the metropolitans was, the newly built monastery was situated a little bit further and was dedicated to St. Holy Mother of God (Virgin). That holy object had to be renovated several times, because the Turks have demolished it three times (1712, 1714, and 1785).
The very beginning of the XVIII century, in historical sources, for Cetinje and the free part of the former Montenegro, remained marked as “crucial“, because of the event which is remembered by the “inquiry of the converts to Islam“ (The Montenegrins who because of some personal interest or fear converted to Islam and went on the side of the Turks). This event allegedly took place and had a crucial significance in the battle with the Turks, and the praises of it are sang in the famous work “Mountain Wreath“(Gorski vijenac) of the most famous Montenegrin bishop and literate Petar II Petrovic Njegos. Even though it is considered that “Mountain Wreath” relays on folk tradition, and has great literary value, that event can not be taken as a real proof of the existence of the “inquiry of the converts to Islam“.
Already in 1711., the administrators of the free part of Montenegro, from Cetinje, begin to establish foreign policy connections and collaboration between Montenegro and Russia. Since then, by the decision of Montenegrin representatives Montenegro becomes Russian ally in the battles against Turkey.
On 28th July in 1712., Montenegrins came back to Cetinje as winners from the battle with the Turks. A victory which they won was fought after the battle on Carev Laz, where the head commander of the Montenegrin army bishop Danilo was wounded.
In the same 1712. year, but on the 8th of August, the Turks once more storm on Cetinje. Under the leadership of Ahmet – pasha, the Turkish army breeches into the city and manages to set on fire the newly built Cetinje monastery. However, beside the great militancy and the weapon Turkish army stayed only 5 days on Cetinje field, after which, because of the frequent night attacks of the smaller groups of Montenegrins, they were forced to leave Cetinje, suffering, even during the retreat, significant military losses.