The Vow of Ivan Crnojevic to the Virgin Mary in Loreto Under the Shadow of the Ottoman Conquest
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This paper looks at the circumstances in which Ivan Crnojević, a fifteenth-century ruler of Zeta (historic region in present-day Montenegro), made a vow to the Virgin in a famous pilgrimage shrine, the Santa Casa in Loreto (Italy), where he was in exile fleeing another Ottoman offensive. The focus of the paper is on a few issues which need to be re-examined in order to understand Ivan’s vow against a broader background. His act is analyzed in the context of the symbolic role that the Virgin of Loreto played as a powerful antiturca protectress. On the other hand, much attention is paid to the institutional organization of Slavs (Schiavoni) who found refuge in Loreto and nearby towns, which may serve as a basis for a more comprehensive understanding of the process of religious and social adjustment of Orthodox Slav refugees to their new Catholic environment.