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RELIGIOUS TOURISM

Spring of St. James of the Marches in Deževice

Just a few hundred meters from the last houses in Deževice there is a cave of unknown depth in which, according to legend, lived St. James of the Marches. He was born in 1393 and he studied law in Perugia, and at the same time, he supported himself by tutoring the son of a nobleman. He became a civil servant, but having the religious vocation later took vows as a Franciscan friar. He was respected by the Roman Popes while the supreme head of the Franciscan order wrote about him saying “not only in the entire order, but all over the world  he is the most famous preacher;  very pure in religious observance, who with his teaching and example enlightened the whole of Italy, and the whole of Hungary.”

In 1432 he was appointed Visitor of the Bosnian Franciscans, and   responsible for implementing the religious reforms in Bosnia. St. James, according to the popular narratives, had chosen Deževice as his place of  residence, but due to disagreements with King Tvrtko II relating to the status of heretics and friars, he left Bosnia declaring that the king is also a heretic. Convinced by Pope Eugen IV, James returned to Bosnia in 1435, where shortly after he was elected as head of the Bosnian vicariate.

Despite the passing of time, the remembrance of his stay in Deževice remained positive, durable and strong, and, therefore, in 1899, when the parish Deževice was restored, he was declared as its additional patron saint.

Legend says that on the spot of today’s local cemetery there used to be a church in which he preached, while in 1916 one of the Sarajevo newspapers reported that every time a grave was dug in this cemetery  items belonging to the church were found.  Records of Bishop Fr Nikola Ogramić – Olovčić written in 1674 tell us how St. James for centuries had been admired in Deževice.

Many pilgrims wash their face in the cave and take home bottles with water from the spring. Catholics are not the only ones visiting the cave. This water is considered especially useful in treating lesser diseases and this is why it is also called “Grozničavca” (lesser meaning groznica).

Recently the sanctuary has been carefully restored and from the Italian town of Monteprandone, the birth place of St. James of the Marches, his statue and relics (ex corpore) were brought to Deževice. Today, the spring of St. James of the Marches is one of the most visited holy places in BiH, especially “Youth Sundays” (Sunday after the new moon) in the period from spring until autumn several thousand of faithful meet.

Sanctuary “Under the Cave” (“Pod špiljom”)

This sanctuary was founded in the second half of the 17th century, at the time when Kreševo and neighboring areas were hit by the plague (Black Death). In this cave two friars from Kreševo, Fr. Franjo Gracić and Fr. Mato Nikolić, cured patients suffering from that deadly illness.

It became a sanctuary probably at the same time when it was used as an  “outdoor clinic” due to the fact that Gracić and Nikolić besides the treatments of medication, gave lectures on the prevention of the illness as well as leading mass prayers.

From this period arise three “monuments” (placed by families to express their gratitude) that stood in the sanctuary up until the end of the World War II, as well as the statue of the Madonna placed there, it is presumed, during the time of Gracić and Nikolić.

On St. Anne’s Day Mass was celebrated here. However during the years between World War II and the last war, this place ceased to be a place of worship. Its restoration took place in 1990 and 1991 thanks to donations from Kreševo and abroad. It is supplied with electricity, reaching the area with the statue, and the sanctuary has been fenced. In recent years the sanctuary has been through additional restoration. 

Sanctuary in Jastrebine

Even though the chapel of Jastrebine was built just after the last war, the access road along the Via Crucis, has a long tradition as a pilgrimage. A long time ago, during the Ottoman rule, according to legend, several wedding attendees were killed and buried here. Ever since then, Catholics arrived in Jastrebine, and more recently, a large number of votive crosses have been erected here.

The chapel of Jastrebine can be reached by following the road that goes from Kreševo to Vranci. On every first Saturday of the month, except for the winter months, Holly Mass is held there.

“Saints of Kreševo”

In 1923 the demolition of the Kreševo’s church began (built in 1845). Under the foundation plates the tombs with the remains of thousands of deceased were found. In front of Our Lady's altar, in the left aisle, two intact bodies were found.  The people, hearing the news, quickly spread the word referring to them as ‘holy bodies’. Because of the construction of the new church the bodies had to be relocated to the monastery and when the church was completed the bodies were relocated in coffins back to the same church.

In 1961, due to subsidence, the church had to be rebuilt, so the bodies were again moved to the monastery, while their identification and to which period they belonged to was left to be done in more preferable times. 

Only after the last war, the historian Dr. Fr. Ignacije Gavran while studying documents from that period successfully identified the bodies as two Bosnian bishops from Kreševo – Fr. Mate Delivić (1966 – 1740) and Fr. Marijan Bogdanović ( 1720 – 1771).

In November 2002 the remains of the still well preserved bodies were placed in a specially made crypt. Ever since then many faithful come to pray, in front of these saints even after more than two centuries. 

In addition to the holy places already mentioned in the area of Kreševo, there are many other religious constructions and some of them are destinations of pilgrims on certain holidays of the year: on Grad, where the Memorial Chapel dedicated to the last Bosnian Queen Katarina Kosača is located, pilgrimage takes place on 25th of October, on the anniversary of her death; on Jelačke for the feast of St. Peter and Paul; in Deževice for the feast of Our Lady of the Snows; on Martin’s tomb (“Martinov greb”) on Bitovnja where the so called “Shepherd’s Mass” (“cobanska misa”) is held at the end of July , etc.

Besides the buildings related to Catholicism, there are Islamic religious constructions as well, and amongst these the Hadži Hasan Mosque stands out. It was mentioned for the first time in documents from 1709. The mosque  present today in Kreševo was built after the last war.

In addition to the holy places already mentioned in the area of Kreševo, there are many other religious constructions and some of them are destinations of pilgrims on certain holidays of the year: on Grad, where the Memorial Chapel dedicated to the last Bosnian Queen Katarina Kosača is located, pilgrimage takes place on 25th of October, on the anniversary of her death; on Jelačke for the feast of St. Peter and Paul; in Deževice for the feast of Our Lady of the Snows; on Martin’s tomb (“Martinov greb”) on Bitovnja where the so called “Shepherd’s Mass” (“cobanska misa”) is held at the end of July , etc.

Besides the buildings related to Catholicism, there are Islamic religious constructions as well, and amongst these the Hadži Hasan Mosque stands out. It was mentioned for the first time in documents from 1709. The mosque  present today in Kreševo was built after the last war.

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