I Serbi e la confraternita Greca di Venezia

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Fani Mavroidi


The number of members of the Greek Fraternity in Venice was
fixed, so that was impossible for all the Greeks resident in the city to
enter it. However, through the «Serenissima»’s tolerance persons of
Serbian origin were registered in its books. They overlooked the legal
point of view in order to obtain a more efficacious control of the
Orthodox minorities of the Ottoman Empire, by their limitation to one
only nucleus. Serbian participation in the Greek Fraternity is noted
during two periods: 1 ) from its establishment until the middle of the sixteenth
century, and 2) from the overthrow of the Venetian Republic in
1797 and afterwards. The interval was connected with the increase in
the Greek colony in Venice and with the establishment oi the Patriarchate
of Peć, which favored the return of the Serbians to their native
land. The percentage of Serbian membership during the first period
was 2-3%, while during the second period it rose to 8%, because of the
diminution of the Greek colony. During the first period most of the
Serbians came from Montenegro, being Balkan emigrants from the
Turkish expansion, while during the second period they came from
Dalmatia, which had been a Venetian province for a long time. The Serbians of the first period consistently fulfilled their monetary
obligations to the Fraternity, but they did not compete with they
Greeks in the spontaneous increase in contributions noted after the year
1533. However they made a considerable contribution to the Fraternity’s
endeavour to obtain its own church and proportionally enjoyed
a remarkable degree of participation in its administration. They became
councilors, vice presidents, and on two occasions the fraternity had a
Serbian president. Their usual profession was that of merchant and
several of them were among the most eminent members of the Fraternity.
It seems probable that many of them belonged to noble Serbian
families and had fled to Venice for political reasons. The Serbian
presence in this association was a different nature during the last period,
when the Serbians’ only aim was the various professional possibilities
furnished by the city of Venice.

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