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Josif Rajacic

Josif Rajacic In 1848 Josif Rajacic was the religious leader for the Serbs in Hungary. For the Serbs of the Habsburg Vojvodina, political expression and union centered around the Orthodox church. In May 1848, the delegates to the Serb national assembly in Sremski Karlovci (Karloca, Carlowitz) elected the conservative church leader, Rajacic, patriarch, who wished to obtain from the Habsburg court an autonomous province of Serbs of Hungary led by the patriarch. At the same time, the assembly elected as their military leader Stevan Supljikac to help transform a peasant revolt into a national movement, aided by the imperial army and large number of voluntary troops from Serbia.

Leader of the national revolt in April 1848 was Djordje Stratimirovic, a local military leader who staunchly opposed absolutism. In addition to ending feudal dues, Stratimirovic had an advanced liberal agenda. After Rajacic and Supljikac's election, another Serb assembly was summoned for May 13, 1848 in Sremski Karlovci. Reacting to the revolutionary program that Stratimirovic forced on the assembly, Rajacic and Supljikac eased Stratimirovic from political power. With the backing of the Orthodox Church, Rajacic managed to limit Stratimirovic's influence to military matters.

Rajacic supported Josif Jellacic's proposal of June 6 to unify Serbs and Croats under one rule, believing that the survival of the Serb movement required the authority of the emperor. Raja i threatened to recall the Serb frontier guard (Grenzer , granicar) from Italy if the Serbs were not given more protection by the imperial army in southern Hungary against the Hungarians. Combined with a warning that the Serbs might join the Sardinians, Rajacic helped to force Radetzky to stay neutral on the "Hungarian question". Hoping that Vienna would respond to Serb demands, Rajacic associated Serbs with his friend the Croatian Ban Jellacic when the latter attacked Hungary. After the defeat of the Hungarian revolt, Rajacic accepted the vague promises in the new constitution. Thus Rajacic acquiesced not only to Habsburg's betrayal of the Serb's program but also effectively lost all political control over the Vojvodina.
Brian Smith


Jyraj Krnjevic. "The Croats in 1848", Slavonic and Eastern European Review, December, 1948, 106-114.

Alan Sked. The Decline & Fall of the Habsburg Empire:1815 - 1918, New York: Longman Inc., 1989.

Barbara Jelavich. History of the Balkans Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1983.

Jorjo Tadic (ed.) Ten Years of Yugoslav Historiography 1945-1955.

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