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Necrology, 16 March 1921


Montenegrin Royal Government Headquarters in Bordeaux with Montenegrin flag, Serb tricolor [1916]

On the burial in 1921 King Nikola's coffin was covered with Montenegrin flag, Serb tricolor [San Remo, 19 September 1989]

King Nikola's coffin [San Remo, 19 September 1989]

Honor guard in Russian church in San Remo where King Nikola and his family were buried [San Remo, 29 September 1989]

Obituary poster of King Nikola, Queen Milena and Princesses Vjera and Ksenija [Cetinje, September 1989]

Serb Orthodox bishops give a mass to King Nikola, Queen Milena and Princesses Vjera and Ksenija [Cetinje, 1 October 1989]

King Nikola's coffin [Cetinje, 1 October 1989]

King Nikola's return to the Fatherland

[Resume of the book of Jovan Markus, King Nikola's Return to the Fatherland, Cetinje 2001]

The Petrovic Njegos dynasty symbolizes one long and, for Montenegro, crucially important historical period. King Nikola I was the seventh and the last ruler from the holy family of the Petrovics that ruled Montenegro for two hundred and twenty years. In the entire history of Montenegro, King Nikola I is undoubtedly one of its most outstanding figures. King Nikola I was not only a ruler, famous and recognized in Europe, but also a hero, poet and wise man among European rulers. He provided Montenegro with international recognition and great reputation, and he was one of the most prominent supporters of the pan-Serb idea of his time, as well as a visionary of European integration. During his long reign the territory of Montenegro became almost four times larger, with an obvious spiritual, cultural and social rebirth of the State and its people. King Nikola I was one of his people's most significant builders and founders of the last centuries. He was a man of profound Christian faith and religious tolerance, remaining true to Orthodoxy and traditional sacred things.

The king's path was thorny; his almost tragic end in foreign country was even harder. His earthly end started in the whirlwind of World War One, when he left Montenegro, in 1916, though the doctors officially confirmed his death on 1 March 1921. The preventing of the carrying of the king and his family's remains to the fatherland was a clear sign of the deviation of the twentieth century in these areas. The breaking of the last will pointed to stupidity and blind totalitarianism. One forbade the mentioning of the king in textbooks, newspapers, historical and political literature. The spreading of fear, the making up of witches, the producing of enemies, the creating of the cult of personality, the ignoring of the people's will - all that antihistory was afraid of a simple funeral of Montenegrin ruler that died long ago. The communist authorities did not just rule the living, but the dead too. The king was unsuitable, and flatterers were suitable. They considered history to be only the things they did. The triumph of false values over the deeper history of the very existence resulted in the time that was opposed to history and common sense. That was a sin against justice, against an epoch and the people of that epoch, as well as the generations that succeeded them and were left with the poison apple of discord and the paying for someone else's senselessness. Finally, one realized that a tree could not grow in one country, with its leaves yellowing in another. As if time showed that even death was able to shine the longer it lasted, as if the falling felt the triumph of summer, and as if the tragic fate of king Nikola I pointed out his greatness.

The book King Nikola's Return to the Fatherland is a chronological story of a travel that lasted seventy-three years. It is based upon exact facts and numerous documents that are presented to the public for first time. At the same time, this is a story of an old man and the sea of injustice, an attempt to take a glance at the king's both worlds, including this everyday and often illusory one. The tragedy of his leaving the fatherland and his living in exile has been reconstructed through valuable and politically unburdened texts written by the king's loyal men, the ones from his closest surroundings. In that way one gets a picture of the end of the king of Montenegro's earthly way and closes the circle of the travel that lasted, in the king's both worlds, for seventy-three years. Apart from the descriptions of the king's death and funeral in San Remo in 1921, particular chapters of the book are dedicated to the deaths of the other members of the family, which were dealt with in newspapers of that time. One has presented in the book all initiatives since the king's death in 1921 till his return to the fatherland in 1989. The author's work covering the time from the eighties to the king's return in 1989, based on original documents, explains the causes of events of that time and it is precious contribution to an objective comprehension of the tempestuous twilight of the communist power in Montenegro. The unusual act of the returning of the king, queen and the princesses from Italy to, at the time, still communist Yugoslavia, realized before the fall of the Berlin wall, has been most precisely described and literally presented to the reader. The last chapters of the book include valuable documents concerning the king's wills and unprecedented misuses of the final will. The analysis of the wills in an important contribution to the true realizing of King Nikola I's personality and work.

The author starts numerous questions that are even nowadays taboo for the generations born in the time of communism. His analyses based upon documents are rather complex, while the conclusions are simply and easily understood, so that the book is a kind of a textbook about themes the postwar generations were deprived of. The abundant archive materials collected by the author are precious to experts from various fields (historians, lawyers, political researches, sociologists...) regarding their real comprehension of the past. The imposing first-rate literature with exceptional photodocuments attracts a great number of readers. One can already say that the book King Nikola's Return to the Fatherland is an unavoidable historiographic work for the one studying the period it covers.

Six years before the king's return to the fatherland, the author had directly dealt with the realization of this idea as President of the City Government and Mayor of the city of Cetinje. At the time of the final act of the carrying of the remains and funeral, the author was President of the Organizational Board in Cetinje, whose team planned the whole ceremonial and contributed a lot to the carrying out of that holy act. Filled with deep and true respect for the king's life work, the author has been obligated to leave behind a documented testimony on that extraordinary event. The publishing of this book, or, let us say, of this long study, is the completion of one cycle that lasted for seventy-three years and ended as a State project of Montenegro with the burial of King Nikola, Queen Milena, and Princesses Vjera and Ksenija in Cetinje in 1989.

The return of King Nikola I to the fatherland has been only one step for the people and its consciousness on the road to the enlightening and purifying from totalitarianism and darkness. The king and his shadow, like two twins, watched over Montenegro throughout the entire twentieth century, and on the threshold of the new millennium it is not difficult to see that King Nikola I marked the epoch for a longer time than those who ruined it in a shorter time.