The directory and the address book of the Lopičić family

Again, the execution of the task we were confronted with accompanied an array of previous projects, which have, without exception, been dedicated to the Lopičić brotherhood, from the first knowledge of its existence over the centuries of its development, dating back from 1450 to this day. Even though it could be inferred from the title, the task in question was by no means easy, let alone simple. Namely, the task was a production of a contemporary directory and address book of all the brethren, in the country and abroad, continuing the tradition, which was, for the first time, acknowledged by the publication of a significant book, “Lopičići, bratstvo u Ceklinu“ [1] (author Janko Krcunov Lopičić, et.al), whose first edition appeared in Cetinje back in 1973, then the second one, almost 20 years later, more precisely in 1990, and finally, the third one printed in 2001 in Belgrade.

All of the above mentioned editions of this significant book attracted great interest and sympathy of both the professional audience and broader public. According to its contents, the genealogy along with the directory and the address book represented a publishing novelty, especially the way this and similar editions treated the subject matter. The above mentioned book of Janko K. Lopičić was thoroughly dedicated to our brotherhood but it contained a lot of material which was of the utmost significance for the preservation of Montenegrin history.

It is crucial, precisely because of that, to refer our brethren to the author of the first edition of the book, historian and publicist, and a member of our brotherhood Janko K. Lopičić (1911-1982), who spent his life studying the origin and the development of our brotherhood. Even though he left dozens of significant reviews, among which are his war journal and this genealogy, he often said that he was not satisfied with the work he had done, and he stressed that he would like the future generations to continue the studies of the brotherhood’s history, respecting the works of our ancestors and especially accounting for their part and the part of our brotherhood in centuries-long struggle for survival and freedom, the contributions to the pre-war revolutionary movement, People’s Liberation War and Revolution, and post-war development of  a free and rich society (J. K. Lopičić “Lopičići, bratstvo u Ceklinu 1450-1990,” pg.95).

All of the above mentioned editions, as well as the revised and extended one printed in 2001, contained, as a special appendix, some sort of address book and glossary, designed to help the brethren contact each other or further strengthen the existing bonds. Both the first edition of “Janko’s Genealogy” and the publication of the new extended edition, represent some of the first genealogies of that kind, dedicated to one big brotherhood in Montenegro. The above mentioned edition, as we have said, was extended by adding more than 200 friends of the Lopičić family, and it soon found its rightful place in the home of every Lopičić, as well as in numerous historical institutions, state archives and university libraries.Janko Lopičić (Livno, 1943) We have already stressed that a member of our brotherhood, Janko K. Lopičić, specifically dealt with the origin and general development of the brotherhood. During years of research he came across new discoveries, he found new interesting and historically valuable documents which required proper placement within the existing texts about the brotherhood. Thanks to his persistence and labour, he left us with a significant capital work, which he, due to his premature death, did not manage to complete in a formal sense.

Appreciating the significance of studying their own origin, the brethren took to work and the first part of the above mentioned extended edition, respecting the initial text of Janko K. Lopičić, was enriched with new content, aimed at answering numerous unresolved questions from the rich history of the brotherhood, which was one of the pledges of Janko himself. Those contributions represent the other part of the book, and provide at least a glimpse into the creative ingenuity of dozens and hundreds of brethren and their friends; their overall activities, which last to this day and are manifested more apparently. There are contributions about the first literate members of the Lopičić brotherhood; there are records of the first highly educated lawyers, medical specialists, who were almost non-existent at that time in Montenegro. There are professors and engineers, officers and writers, diplomats and journalists, economists and dentists, businessmen and bankers, judges and lawyers, public prosecutors, teachers, university professors, agronomists, artists, musicians, policemen, officials and clerks and sportsmen and sports officials amongst the Lopičić.

If we look further back into the past of the brotherhood, we must not forget the seven generations of priests, who, amongst the learned brethren, certainly hold a special, honorary place. All of them were literate and dedicated to intellectual work and research challenges. Starting with Đuro Savićev, the first priest in the brotherhood, then Vuksan, who was the most significant among them, then priest Sava, Andrija- Raša, priest Luka and others, who recorded all of the most significant events in the history of Montenegro, though primarily those related to the brotherhood, placing themselves and their work as the forerunners of the younger Lopičićs, who were to come later, finding the strength and knowledge to tackle the job, and enabling us to go back to 1450, when our surname first appeared, using their help and knowledge.

Through the development of the directory and the address book of all the brethren here and abroad, the chosen editorial board intends to give a final swing to the entire project, and by numbering and locating the members, draw the attention of the members towards our glorious ancestors, thus allowing the possibility of a broader contemporary communication, and keeping or strengthening of preexisting bonds. Because of such variety of professions, they decided to include, along with the directory and the address book, a table which gives us a picture of the overall qualification structure of the brotherhood and their family members, which makes us more than proud.

Memorable, brave and clever brethren, who are still remembered with special respect, born and raised despite the constant struggle for bare life at the heart of Montenegrin highlands, mark almost five centuries of brotherhood tradition. Thus, the young generations of the brotherhood do not, not even for a moment, forget their ancestors or the origin of their families. Proud of their ancestors, even though so much time passed, they gladly mention them, and the stories heard from the elders are still a subject of wonder and contemplation. So we come to a deeper knowledge of ourselves, we listen to the things our parents tell us, and relate all of them, with special respect, to our children.

Therefore, let us mention some of them.
Pedestal with the memorial plate to Prince Marko Lopica Lopičić (1671 – 1794), supreme prince of Ceklin, erected on Đurđevdan 2002, patron saint’s selebration of most members of the Lopičić family

The supreme prince of Ceklin, Prince Marko Lopica Lopičić(1671-1764), during his wise reign and government, managed to uplift the Lopičić brotherhood above many other Montenegrin brotherhoods of that time. According to the writings of the directory author Janko K. Lopičić, Prince Marko, even as a child, showed that he was going to become a capable and significant figure in his family and tribe. During the frequent fights with the Turks, which happened regularly and more often in the second part of the 17th century, Prince Marko frequently manifested his military capabilities. He was one of the forerunners of the endeavour to drive out the Turks and the converts to Islam from the outskirts of the city, the river Crnojević, and Montenegro in general. By then the killings and the oppression reached the very border of the Ceklin tribal territory, so they were constantly fighting the Turks and the converts. Strengthened by the relentless fights against the Turkish invaders, and followed by shrewd political moves within the tribal conflicts, Prince Marko, feeling gradual but certain demise of the Ottoman Empire, managed to buy out favorably the most significant Skadar fishing grounds placing them under tribal ownership, thus ensuring significant economic superiority of our brotherhood over other brotherhoods, in otherwise poor Montenegro. Prince Marko led the people of Ceklin during the construction of the famous ubs (wells of spring water), solving one of the burning issues that bothered the peasants of his Ceklin.

The records, usually kept by the priests since they were almost the only literate people in the brotherhood of that time, show that Prince Marko was born around 1671, and he died at the age of 93, at the beginning of 1764. Due to the extraordinary achievements and the respect from his fellow brothers, he was buried at the porch of the Orthodox Church in Gornji Ceklin.

We cannot forget the significant contribution the brotherhood gained during Prince Grujica Matijašević Lopičić (1775 – 1845), the prince of Ceklin, senator and the first captain of Njegoš’s Gvardija [2]. He was not only a significant figure for the brotherhood, but also for entire Montenegro. A powerful intellectual personality in Montenegro of that day, commander of Njegoš’s guard, captain of Ceklin and a member of the newly formed senate, Prince Grujica was a close friend of metropolitan Petar Petrović Njegoš 1st, more familiar to people as Petar Cetinjski, who trusted Grujica implicitly. Thanks to duke Grujica, the attempt on metropolitan Petar’s life was prevented, which significantly strengthened the bond between them. Prince Grujica was born in 1775, also in Gornji Ceklin, and his bravery and artistry in leading military campaigns were exemplary for other members of the brotherhood. As a young man he distinguished himself at the battlefield of Krusima, in 1796, where he was also wounded. After the liberation of Durovnik, Grujica, along with a Russian fleet and 300 people of Ceklin, able and distinguished warriors of Lake Skadar, fought Napoleon’s army in 1806, taking the island of Korčula.

Priest Vuksan Lopičić, one of the seven above mentioned priests from our brotherhood, great-grandfather of Dr. Milovan Lopičić, thus describes the relationship between metropolitan Petar 1st and Prince Grujica, especially emphasizing the role of Prince Grujica in saving the metropolitan from an Russo-Austrian assassination. Russian consul Mazurovski organized the capture of metropolitan Petar, intending to take him to Siberia, thus permanently to remove him, and his influence in Montenegro. The conspirators, about 40 of them, paid through Austrian authorities, attacked the monastery during the night, but metropolitan Petar and a few other men (servants of the monastery) anticipated it. He managed to escape and temporarily relocate to a safe place. Later, it became obvious that the activities of priest Vuksan Lopičić were precisely the thing that led to the demise of the Russo-Austrian conspiracy. According to the agreement with metropolitan Petar’s messenger, Vuksan immediately briefed Prince Grujica (priest Vuksan was some sort of Prince Grujica’s secretary), who went with select members of Ceklin to the place where the metropolitan was hiding, took the responsibility for his protection and together they went back to the monastery in Cetinje. In order to further the safety of the metropolitan in and around the monastery, prince Grujica placed two groups of people from Ceklin, just in case, who, until further notice, represented some sort of body guards to the metropolitan. In his book “Montenegro and Some Explanations About It” Milorad Medaković thus describes the same event:

“Metropolitan Petar 1st hath been respected by the people of Montenegro, and in his life he hath been called a saint; alas there were some who wished to gun him down which would had happened had it not been for Prince Grujica Lopičić. So he escaped from Cetinje to Stanojeviće and Prince Grujica Lopičić, holding a cocked rifle, shouted: ”Ye who touch a part of my bishop, thee shall be killed.”

Prince Grujica Lopičić was one of rare people in Montenegro, at that time, that had correspondence with Vuk Karadžić and at the same time was a subscriber to Vuk’s famous “Dictionary of Serbian Language” which was printed in Vienna in 1818. Apart from him, there were ten more subscribers in Montenegro. That spoke about the significance which the outstanding people in Montenegro attributed to the works of Vuk Karadžić and his struggle to preserve the purity of the Serbian language.
U priprati Saborne crkve Sv. Đorđa na Ceklinu sahranjen je Knez Marko Lopica Lopičić

Being pleasantly surprised with the number of subscribers from miniature Montenegro, Vuk Karadžić wrote:

“When the people of Monte Negro sent their subscriptions to Mr. Skolarac, so he could send them to me, then they upbraided me for not naming someone to collect the subscriptions to this book, saying that I strive to find Serbs in every corner of Europe, forgetting those in Montenegro…”

He died at the end of 1847 and was buried with honors in front of the Vlah Church in Cetinje in a tomb that Njegoš himself commissioned. There was a special kind of trust between Grujica and bishop Rade, Petar Petrović Njegoš, master of Montenegro. When Njegoš ascended the throne of Montenegro, aiming to ensure a safer life in the state, he formed a special kind of military unit, called Gvardija, (which is some sort of gendarmerie today), and one of the first appointed commanders was Prince Grujica Lopičić. Sometime later, appreciating Grujica’s work and wise decisions, artistry and righteousness in solving various tribal issues, and the disagreements or conflicts between the members of the brotherhood, bishop Rade made him a senator.
Žabljak - the ruins of the old city - the ancient capital of the old MontenegroUnder the leadership of duke Grujica, the people of Ceklin with a massive participation of our fellow brethren conquered the fortified city-fortress Žabljak.  Grujica personally gave the keys of the city to the master of Montenegro. In order to pay tribute for the great victory, Njegoš ladled out the highest honors of Montenegro to Grujica: the golden medal of Obilić, also giving him a cannon, called Aberdar, which Grujica fired in order to gather the members of his guard, and frequently, in case of danger, to gather members of his brotherhood. Having unreserved help from the Montenegrin rulers, he organised gatherings of dukes from the Rijeka district, also signing his name as a duke of Rjeka district.

Somewhat later, the work started by Prince Marko and Prince Grujica was continued by other brethren, among others the creator of the genealogy Janko K. Lopičić and especially the seven generations of priests, at that time remarkably learned people of Montenegro, who recorded everything significant in the history of the brotherhood, and tribes of Ceklin in general.

Of course, the work of the brethren regarding various fields of action did not stop there. New, young generations, after years of work and research, published six books of collected works of writer Nikola M. Lopičić (1909 – 1945) and a special edition of Đorđe F. Lopičić (1910 – 1942), and their contemporary Vuk St. Lopičić (1905 – 1987), also writer and publicist. Nikola and his brother Blaža, who refused to collaborate with the Italian occupiers, were, after being arrested and deported to concentration camps in Albania and Italy,(1903-1945) killed by the ustašas [3] in the infamous concentration camp in Lepoglava.

Those were the works of young authors, gifted for keen critiques of the modern society, and talented masters of the written word. Đorđe F. Lopičić, a young writer and a sharp critic of the social system’s weaknesses during that period, was also arrested, taken to the concentration camp Klos in Albania, where he, along with thirty other sympathizers of NLS [4], got exchanged for the imprisoned Italian officers. After that, Đorđe joined the Partisan movement and got assigned to the Fourth Montenegrin Brigade; he got killed during the attack on Bugojno. The grammar school in Cetinje bore his name, for many years after the war.

In the beginning of this preface, we emphasised the importance of creating a new directory and address book of all the Lopičićs in the country and abroad. Even though its creation, at first, might have seemed simple, during the realization we came to a completely different stand. After numerous researches, which were first published in the country, we turned to a research all over the world, during which we detected and recorded a significant number of Lopičićs in certain states of Europe, such as Germany, France, Switzerland, Austria, etc. Then we turned to some of the counties overseas, primarily the states of North and South America, going all the way to the Republic of South Africa, the southernmost on the African Continent.
Dodoši- one of the biggest settlements and fishing grounds on Lake SkadarThose findings posed a new question for the editorial board: how did such a great number of our brethren get to over a dozen of countries throughout the world, and what made them embark on such a long voyage.

At the end of the 19th and at the beginning of the 20th century, poverty and despair induced the first mass emigration and migratory movements. Spain of that day and somewhat later Portugal, though to a lesser degree then traditionally colonial England, took over new continents of America and Australia, and constantly demanded fresh workforce. Following the development of industry and agriculture in those countries, one witnessed convoys of ships, loaded with migrant workers from European countries.  Montenegro was not exempt from such practice, especially its mountain and coastline regions. As organized groups or individually, motivated by the necessity of survival, an increasing number of emigrants embarked on a journey, driven by the idea that they would there, far away from their homes, earn money more easily, and taking it back to their homeland secure a more comfortable life for their numerous families.

Naturally, some of them came back, while the others stayed there forever.

According to the official records, around WWI, there were 20.000 people of Montenegro in America which meant half of its total workforce, or ten per cent of the entire population. The first migratory movements started just after the wars 1876 – 78, later continuing in a much more organized fashion and in greater numbers.

From the book of passports in the Montenegro State Archive we can see that in the first post-war year 1879, the following people migrated from our region to America: one person from Katunjane, a year later two Njegušs, in the year 1882 two people from Donjokrajce, a year later six people from Cuce and Crmniče and in 1884 one person from Ceklin, in 1885 one from Ćeklić etc. So since the beginning of August till the end of December 1903, 621 people in Montenegro, from regions close to our Ceklin, left for America.  

Pavle Rovinski (1831 – 1916), a respectable and famous historian, Slavist, ethnographer and a publicist, who spent a long time in Montenegro as an emissary of Imperial Russia, claimed that, based on the documents available to him, one could determine that within 11 months in 1903 a total of 6000 people left Montenegro going to America. A report, going from Cetinje to Vienna, which was delivered by baron Oto Kun fon Kunehfeld, the Austrian emissary at the court of King Nikola, claimed that from January 1905 to the moment when the abovementioned report was sent, 15000 people of Montenegro went to America. A year later the previous reports were confirmed, stating that the emigration continued, so a great number of military formations in Montenegro were reduced to a half of capable men power, which seriously endangered the security of the country.

The number of our immigrants in Chicago, New Orleans, California, Montana, New York, San Francisco, Texas, and New Mexico was significant. They were a part of work battalions of builders on railroads, roads, new mines, and giant agricultural plantations of the newly-rich landowners. Though without full data, the names of our brethren appear in Montenegro papers - John Lopičić, Živan, Jovan Filipov, Ilija, Ljuba, Rista and Staniša - all Lopičić, (The Voice of Montenegro in the column “Domestic News” from 03/04 1904 and magazine “Zeta” from 12/07 1931). Somewhere around the same time, more precisely at the beginning of the 20th century, brothers Nikola and Vido went from Ceklin (Gornji Ceklin) towards America.

Emigration of the youngsters from Montenegro was, according to the common belief, conditioned by two main reasons. One of them, or the first which caused the migration, was poverty and despair that led Montenegrin families with numerous members to destruction. They saw their salvation in leaving the county, even though leaving homeland was not an easy thing to do. Luckily those migrations were primarily aimed towards our closest neighbor Serbia. Back then they were not so numerous. Later, due to the increasingly apparent stratification of the villages, and the inability to find employment, migration gained momentum, since the emigrants frequently chose more distant destinations. Young people of Montenegro went for higher education to Belgrade, since it was a friendly county and a country that was closest to them, but many also went towards Zagreb, Sarajevo, and then some of the countries in Europe. There was no higher education in Montenegro of that time, and lack of prospect in staying in the villages significantly affected the intensity of migratory movements outside the homeland. So the first Lopičićs went towards Romania which required workforce for its coal mines. Others went towards Russia, and there was a significant number of those who opted for more distant destinations, such as America - South and North, Australia, Canada and some European countries. There were those emigrants who managed to save some money and bring it back home. There were many of those who ended their lives in the county where they chose to settle. They got married there, created  families and so their number constantly grew. When the emigrants secured their own existence, many of them called their friends and relatives from the homeland to join them, so they formed small colonies of immigrants.

Almost twenty years later, in 1921, brothers Nikola and Vido Lopičić came back from America and settled in a fertile fishing field near Kraljevo. There they started their families which developed into ten Lopičić families in Kraljevo alone. And that’s the answer to the question of the origin of the Lopičićs in Kraljevo. A similar question was posed about the origin of the Lopičićs in Belgrade, Novi Sad, Lovćenac, Niš and other cities of former Yugoslavia.

At end of WWII, in 1945 and 1946, due to the uncontrolled demolition, destruction, killings and devastation left by the fascist occupiers, convoys of migrants from Montenegro, Lika, Kordun and some parts of Dalmatia, and Bosnia and Herzegovina, went towards the richer parts of our country, to Vojvodina plane, where they started a new life. So we explain the origin of Lopičićs in Vojvodina, especially Novi Sad, Lovćenac, Kula, Vasa, Ozark, Centavo, and other places.

Quite a pleasant surprise for the editorial board was the discovery that a group of thirty Lopičićs live, with their families, in distant Chile. They immediately responded to our first call and since they have been away from their country for so long, the younger ones being born there, they showed interest to bond further, since they are, just like us, interested in knowing more about the origin of Lopičić brotherhood. One of them, Boris Lopičić, with whom we established a firm connection, informed us that there are, according to their knowledge, a few more Lopičić families in the North of Chile. His knowledge of the existence of several Lopičić families in the south of the county is similar, though he will inform us about that later. Because of that the information in the directory on Lopičić families in Chile is not complete, since we miss the information on dates of birth, occupation, etc. In other words, they cannot be considered as definitive and we are obliged to continue communication.  

The directory and the address book of the Lopičić family in the country and abroad was organised, as usual, in an alphabetical order, which is true for the names of family members. In the cases where there was a division, households are marked after the oldest member of the household, in order be recognized easily. According to the available data, the year of birth, occupation, phone number, and the place of residence are indicated for every person registered. We started from Gornji Ceklin where all the Lopičićs trace their origin, then the village of Rousted, Motorize and Drastic, indicating the place of residence. Further records indicate the cities in Montenegro, Serbia and former Yugoslav republics, finally the states in the world where our relatives also live. Odive, women who married into other tribes, are specially recorded and shown both in the directory and in a special table, which, apart from everything else, gives full data about the number of brethren and their qualifications. Unfortunately, there are certain families and individuals who did not respond to all of our questions, refusing the address book and the directory, so we plead for understanding.

The organizational board managed to secure a suitable number of sponsors, whose contributions enabled the printing of the directory and the address book, which is going to be, based on the unanimous decision of the board, delivered for free to all of the members of the brotherhood.



 (translated by Dr Vesna Lopičić Milošević)