The Miloradović noble family, also known as Hrabren-Miloradović or Hrabren-Miloradović-Stipanić, (Hrabren were husbandry clan from which this family came from) was a Serbian medieval family from Vojvodina whose possessions were located in the surroundings of the city of Stolac. They were Orthodox Christians, and from historical sources we can see that areas surrounding Stolac, from the medieval period until the XVII century was inhabited by dominantly Orthodox population, which is not the case today. One report by Roman Catholic priests Benedikt Medvjedić and Dominik Andrijaš Propaganda de fide from 1622 to Rome states that Stolac inhabitants are almost all Orthodox Christians ("shizmatics") – "habitatori sono tutti scismatici".
The religious affiliation of this family is important because the best known necropolis of stećak tombstones, Radimlje near Stolac, belongs to this family whose members were buried there. This further indicates that stećak tombstones were raised by Orthodox believers, and that there can be no possibility these were monuments of some Bogomilism heretics, which was previously the case and which some historians claim even today. The graveyard with stećak tombstones in the hamlet of Vidoštak, village of Poprati, was a parochial cemetery where the central, parochial Orthodox church was located, served by priest Dabiživ in the period before 1231. This further confirms the Orthodox character of the stećak tombstones. Noble family of Miloradovići built four of its endowments in Herzegovina: the Žitomislić monastery and the churches in Trebinje, Ošanić and Klepci. Miloradović family begain with Milorad Hrabren, who probably lived about half of the XIV century, given his son, Stipan, was commander of a military detachment in 1416. The grave of Stipan Miloradović, according to whom, some sources and literature call this branch of Miloradović family as Stipanović-Hrabren, is located in a necropolis in Radimlje. His grave contains the following engraved inscription: "Here lies Stipan and monument was made by blacksmith Miogost”. Voyevoda Stipan died between 1470 and 1477. We can see from the inscription that population of that area during medieval period called stećak monuments "kami" and that the man who engraved the inscription was a blacksmith by occupation. Another interesting thing is the folk version of the Greek name Stefan, which was the titular name of the Serbian kings from Nemanjić and Kotromanić dynasties, carved in the ikavian form of "Stipan", due to the fact that people living on territory of Miloradović spoke in ikavian dialect. It should be emphasized that Miloradovići were voyevodas of the Lower Vlaha region, name of the territory they controlled.
Some of the Hrabren received Dubrovnik citizenship awarded by Dubrovnik to their friends and more important people of that time. One of Dubrovnik charters, dated to a period 1470-1477 mentions how Dubrovnik granted its citizenship to voyevoda Petra Stipanović-Hrabren together with his brothers, knyaz Vukac, knyaz Pavko, knyaz Stipan and good knyaz Radivoje Popratović. Within the charter Dubrovnik reminds that Petar together with his brothers swore loyalty to Dubrovnik, as their true citizen, on the "svetom evangiliju božiem” (Holy God’s Gospel). The village of Poprati still exists today near the necropolis of Radimlje, west of it, and it used to belong to Miloradovići, whose one branch was called Popratovići.
We will dedicated the following part to several other estates of Miloradović family in vicinity of Stolac.
Vidoštak in Poprati.
Near Radimlje the village Poprati with hamlet Vidoštak, on territory of area known as Vojvodina, and just beneath old Illyrian city of Ošanić. By name Vojvodina we can that vicinity of Batno near Ošanići belonged to voyevodas from Hrabren-Miloradović family. Vidoštak holds about 80 different stećak monuments, one of them containing Cyrillic inscription of Marija, called Divica, wife of priest Dabiživ from 1231. In entirety, inscription reads: “In month of March, 11th day, servant of God Marija, called Divica, wife of priest Dabiživ, passed away in year of our Lord 6739” (1231). This is time period when this entire area and complete Zachlumia is ruled by Zachlumian knyaz Andrija, son of knyaz Miroslav, with supreme authority belonging to Serbian king Stefan Radoslav, son of Stefan the First-Crowned. From inscription we can see it was dated and formulated in Orthodox tradition and that Orthodox priest Dabiživ had wife Divica, who got name Marija after becoming a nun. In Roman period church of St. Vid was located near Radimlje and that’s how locality got the name of Vidoštak. However, this name was applied to Stolac itself and field surrounding it (Planum s. Viti) in XV century. Cemetery in Vidoštak, church of Holy Virgin and stećci belonged to Orthodox Christians and were in style of cultural heritage of the necropolis in Radimlje with that difference that cemetery with stećci in Vidoštak was parochial and for all believers not belonging to Hrabren family and their kin. Another similar cemetery is found in Gorica, near Radimlje and Stolac itself. All of this indicates that subjects of Miloradovići family were Orthodox themselves, and not heretics, often accusation of the Catholic Church leveled against nobility and population of medieval Bosnian state.
Ošanići near Stolac.
In upper part of the Ošanići village one can find church of St. Peter with tombstone plate holding inscription of voyevoda Radosav Hrabren, who died on 24th of April 1505. It is beyond question voyevoda Radisav was ktetor of this church as that can be seen from the tombstone inscription itself. If this was not the case, grave of voyevoda Radosav would be in Radimlje where rest of his family and kin. It would appear, if we consider the year of Radosavs’ death, that church was either restored or built around 1505. This further indicates that Hrabren kept their voyevoda title even under Turkish occupation which is directly linked with Ottoman policy to give or confirm certain privileges to Christian population in time when their European conquests progress.
Tombstone plate of nun Marta can be find behind the church, towards the east, bearing inscription: “Here lies nun Marta 7080” (1572). Year is expressed in letters and from creation of the world, in same manner done by the creator of the inscription for nun Marija (called Divica) from Vidoštak. Neither nun tombstone inscriptions bear sign of cross at the beginning, despite their monastic belonging. There is high probability nun Marta belonged to family of Hrabren-Miloradović. It can be assumed female Orthodox monastery used to exist in Ošanići or Stolac or, another possibility is that nuns lived, contrary to church law, in their own homes as members of their noble families.
17th article of Dušan’s Code forbids monks and nuns to live in their own homes but orders them instead to the monasteries. Given this was quite an early ban, we presume more likely scenario is an existence of female monastery of the Eastern Church in some point.
Our conclusion is somewhat corroborated by very name Ošanići, root of which, “ošlac” or “ošalan” indicates adjective solitary. Old Slavic term “ošasati” means to remove oneself and thus, all of this would correlate with notion of a monastery, solitary place for monks and nuns.
Not for from St. Peter church, in the courtyard, there are two stone chairs, carved from a rock. One bears the inscription of voyevoda Stipan Miloradović with cross at the beginning of the inscription which was engraved by his son, voyevoda Petar, after voyevoda Stipan death sometimes between 1470 and 1477. Inscription reads: “+ This is throne of voyevoda Stipan Miloradović, restored by his son Petar”. This was judicial stone throne of voyevoda Stipan Miloradović where he used to sit and dispense justice in front of the church, as was tradition. Even without monuments in Radimlje, this is evidence enough that Miloradovići ruled and judged the people of this area in medieval period.
Trijebanj u Hodovo.
Wide area of Hodovo near Stolac contains several villages and hamlets. Almost every village contains a stećak of great importance and some of the have preserved Cyrillic inscriptions. Church of St. Nicholas is located in Trijebanj village with small stone tablet placed on the right outer wall of the church. Tablet holds engraved Cyrillic inscription reading: “This holy and divine temple of the holy father Nikola was built and restored in year of our Lord 3MB (7042 = 1534). Holy temple was rebuilt by voyevoda Radoje Hrabren.” From inscription we can see that certain Radoje from Hrabren family restored the church of St. Nicholas with fresco, respected in the entire area of Dubrave to that extent that even some Catholics from Dubrava took St. Nicholas as their “slava” (celebration day of family patron saint unique to Serbian Christian tradition) who stopped celebrating it only recently. Catholic Church forbade Catholics to celebrate “slava” because that indicated many of them use to be Orthodox. Small Council of Dubrovnik, on 11th July 1521 mentions Radoje Hrabren who is allowed export of certain good through Dubrovnik under condition he pays taxes. This act names Radoje as voyevoda of Donji Vlaha which would indicate he was voyevoda ruling after death of voyevoda Radosav Hrabren. We can see Turks allowed reparation of the church without greater obstacles and given building of new churches was not allowed in that time, voyevoda could only repair or restore old ones in same dimensions. Certain spahi Milisav paid for creation of frescoes in the church within Žitomislić monastery in 1609 which would indicate Hrabren-Miloradović were constantly ktetors of certain Orthodox churches. Profound link of Miloradovići with their roots and endowments can be seen by the fact that one member of the Russian branch of Miloradovići, count Grigorije Miloradović, in 1883 visited Herzegovina and endowments of Miloradovići, monastery Žitomislić. Interestingly enough, family Miloradović survived Turkish occupation and kept their title of voyevoda of Donji Vlaha. This was possible, on one hand, due to Miloradovići being lesser elite in medieval period and thus not targeted by Ottoman executions which were focused to royal families and upper elites of the Serbian lands, and the other hand, because of their migrations into Russia and Austria. Another mitigating circumstance was Miloradović belonging to husbandry class which was used by the Turks in their conquests and economic plans during XVI century. Friendship and economic cooperation with Dubrovnik, a great economic partner of medieval Serbian lands and Ottomans as well, was another reason assuring survival of Miloradovići.
Miloradovići coat of arms presents a very interesting case of family mythology, purposeful or accidental heraldic fiction and complete (although non-deliberate) mystification. Coat of arms of Hrabren-Miloradović was registered within numerous transcription of Illyrian roll of arms. The crest is simple and is composed from black and golden squares. Black fields contain single downturned crescent each while top of the helmet holds rampant black dog with golden collar.
Coat of arms presented by Maria Theresa to Mojsije and Jeftimije Miloradović on 13th September 1760 addition of single black dog with golden collar for every golden field on the coat of arms was made. Initial gold collared black dog remained on the helmet. With the coat of arms, family received predict “Of Hrabrenović and Dubrava”.
Miloradovići spread across entire Bosnian state so we can find members of this family in Zvornik and Banja Luka. During XVIII century, parts of the Miloradović family migrate to Habsburg monarchy and Russia, where they progress in military service and for their acts were rewarded with titles and privileges. Miloradovići in Habsburg monarchy are also known as Slavonic branch of this family. According to a genealogy, composed by descendant of Hrabren, count Grigorije Miloradović, and published in Kiev in 1871, both Russian and Austrian branch of Miloradovići originated from single ancestor, Radin, who lived and died in Herzegovina. Although veracity of this data remains disputable, it is interesting to note that notion on their common ancestry remained with them and that they kept their link with Herzegovina even after several centuries of life and service in great foreign empires.
Mihailo Miloradović Ilijin, from Dubrave near Stolac, lived in Russia during reign of Peter the Great and served in tsar’s army as colonel and cavalryman. Peter the Great sent him in 1711 to episcope Danilo with a letter so he may, in cooperation with Montenegro chieftains, initiate a rebellion against the Turks. Transcription of famous Žitomislić chronograph in 1711 in Moscow is linked with Mihailo given he particularly insisted on transcription.
From all Miloradovići residing in Russia, most prominent was Mihailo Miloradović-Andrejević who participated in Suvorov campaign against the French in Italy during the reign of tsar Pavle I (1796-1801). After distinguishing himself in combat he was recipient of the highest imperial decorations. In Great Soviet encyclopedia emphasizes he was an energetic commander in Russian war against Napoleon during reign of Aleksandar I (1801-1825). For some time he was general governor of Saint Petersburg. He was killed during Decembrist revolt by Kahovski on 14.12.1825 in Senate square, while he was conducting negotiations with rebelled corps.
Coat of arms of count Miloradović was registered in Russia (reconstruction done by D. Acović) with honor augmentation above it which was gifted to the counts descendants in 1873.
General Mihailo Miloradović was buried in church of the Holy Spirit of the Alexander Nevsky lavra which was destroyed by the Communists in 1937. Luckily, tombstone plate and earthly remains of general Mihailo were preserved and were transferred to the museum of the Blagoveštenska church where they remain until this day. Jeftimije Miloradović Hrabreni of Dubrava (von Hrabrenovich und Dubrave) was the progenitor of the Slavonic (Austrian) branch of the Miloradović family. He migrated in XVIII century from Herzegovina to Austria. Addition “of Dubrava” signifies the area, that is, the estate which belonged to Miloradovići. Dubrava was located between Stolac and Mostar. Jeftimije was raised into rank of noble by Maria Therese on 13th September 1760 in Vienna. His brother Mojsije Miloradović was also in Austrian military service.
Besides capable, brave, loyal and honorable soldier, in person of Jeftimije Miloradović we recognize a very educated and, in his surroundings, much respected man. Due to his qualities he was, as most appropriate, chosen in 1769 as representative in People and Church convocation in Karlovci. Eight years later, he was honored with the same duty. During his time in Karlovac, he visited Novi Sad where he mediated in marital litigation between baron general Jeftimije Ljubibratić and his wife Eufemija, sister of Miloradovićs wife Pulherija.
Jeftimija wife Pulherija (in old biographies named as Jelisaveta) was youngest of the four daughters famous nobleman Atanasije Rašković from Stari Vlah had with sister of Patriarch Arsenije IV Šakabenta. In this manner, through marriage, Jeftimije Miloradović became related with most distinguished Serbian officers: Petar Šević, hussar lieutenant and subsequent Russian general and military writer Aleksandar Piščević, nobleman Jovan Čarnojević and already mentioned general Jefta Ljubibratić.
Last news mentioning Jeftimije and his military service dates back to the 1784 when infantry-cavalry freikorps was sent to Holland. This freikorps, which included frontiersmen from Slavonia, was commanded by general von Brentano with added “major Miloradović and hussar major von Prodanović” with other frontier officers and non-commissioned officers. After his return from Netherlands, Miloradović must have been promoted to rank of lieutenant colonel, given that was the rank his son Danilo mentioned in missive he sent to emperor Leopold II. Soon after returning from Holland front, Jeftimija passed away, sometimes between 1785 and 1787 given his wife Pulherija Miloradović is mentioned in 1787 as widow.
Jeftimija and Pulherija had four children: one daughter and three sons. Daughter Marija married a frontier lieutenant in Slavonski Brod, Josif Vojnović. Miloradovići brothers, as Jeftimija sons, were, as majority of other Serbian officers, receivers of military nobility but only in Austria and thus had no privileges in Military Krajina given Hungarian provincial authorities did not recognize their nobility. It was very important for them to expand their Austrian nobility to all lands under Hungarian control so they would be able to use privileges and rights inherent within their noble titles. Their representatives: metropolitan Stevan Stratimirović, Timisoara episcope Petar Petrović, episcope of Vrš Josif Jovanović Šakabenta and general Andrija Sečujac addressed emperor Leopold II with plea that 33 deserving Serbs, officers, citizens and priests, receive Hungarian peerage. Their suggestion was supported by president of Illyrian chancellery, count Franjo Balaša who, in his elaborate, sent to the emperor, listed deeds and achievements of each one of the Serbian nobles suggested for Hungarian nobility.
However, it will remain unknown did Leopold II admitted achievements of the Miloradovići brothers and extended their nobility to include “Hungarian inheritance lands” in that way adding them to the ranks of Hungarian nobility.
Miloradovići family survived into modern times. October revolution split the Russia and the family. Some of them, being “white” emigrated while others, as “reds” remained and again proved themselves as loyal officers. One of these was Rodion Nikolajević Miloradović, descendant of the hero from Fatherland war against Napoleon, who became hero of the Great Fatherland war against the Hitler.
Count Aleksandar G. Miloradović (1886-1952), hero of the Russian-Japanese war and WWI emigrated as a “white”. After his death on 2nd January 1952, descendants of his cousing Nikolaj, also imperial officer, were supposed to ask Russian tsar to approve their succession of the count title. However, given that last Romanov were killed, son of Nikolaj, Serafim Miloradović (1929-2008) simply took the count title. He lived in France, Germany, Belgium and Great Britain.
His daughter, duchess Aleksandra Miloradović was born in 1960 in Bavarian castle Sunsig. In 1987 she married Herzog Rudolph von Croy, son of Herzog Karl von Croy and princess Gabriella von Bayern. She gave birth to six children and was very known by her humanitarian work as lady of the Malta knights and member of the board of Foundation of Bishop Heinrich Tenhumberg. Got her PhD in Sorbonne in 2004 with thesis “Soviet dissidents in Germany”. After long and heavy illness, she passed away in 55 year and with her death, the line of Miloradovići family practically ended.
Her husband, Bavarian duke Rudolph von Croy, comes from nobility of French origin and is currently first in line to inherit the title of the ruler of Holy Roman Empire of German people, that is, of Habsburg monarchy.
Sources: M. Atlagić, “Some more important Serbian noble families in Bosnia and Herzeovina and their graves”, BAŠTINA, Pristina – Leposavić 2008; D. Acović, “Serbs and heraldry”, Belgrade 2008; M. Vego, “From history of medieval Bosnia and Herzegovina, Sarajevo, 1980; Večernje Novosti Online, “Miloradovići provided nobility for every empire”, accessed on 14.9.2016.
Prepared by: Boris Radaković
Translate: Ljubisa Malenica