PARISH CLERGY IN BRANIČEVO IN THE SECOND HALF OF 15TH CENTURY
Based on the data from the Ottoman censuses in Braničevo area of 1467 and 1476, the paper discusses the legal and social position of parish priests in both the first decades of Ottoman rule and decades preceding this rule. In addition to the overview of the numbers of priests from various population categories (common folk, Christian conscripts, professional soldiers, even landowners), the paper also covers changes in the numbers of the clergy with regard to the numbers of believers, and also the structure of priests' families. It is a paradox that "in the opinion of S. Ćirković, even though the final five decades of the Serbian medieval state left comparatively more sources to study than the previous periods had, comparatively less is known of the history of the Church." This is particularly true with regard to the areas near the Sava and the Danube, so that only a basic image can be made of bishops, diocese borders, dates of founding some churches and monasteries, their spiritual lives and activities, estates, parish priests and parish networks. As local resources are meager, Ottoman defters become very important, as late 15th century Ottoman documents reflect the condition in two historical periods and two social organizations. Therefore, they may be used to shed light on some issues in the social history of the Serbian people in the final decades of their independent medieval state. With all this in mind, we have decided to use the example of Braničevo, analyze the data from the detailed censuses of 1467 and 1476, in an attempt to present the position of parish priests in Serbia in this turbulent period.
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