DRAGOMIR ACOVIC INTERVIEW FOR DAILY NEWS PAPER PRAVDA
Crown and Double-headed eagle are symbols of the Serbia’s sovereignty! Hungary, Bulgaria, Montenegro and Russia have a Crown although they are all republics
Serbia’s Parliament is to adopt today a law regarding use of the state symbols. It has been three years since the Constitution to establish a flag, coat of arms and anthem was endorsed; it is the statute’s turn now. Dragomir Acovic, one of the leading Serbian heraldists, thinks that by passing this law Serbia has finally, “after half of century of Communist darkness and Bolshevik symbols imposed on her, returned to her ancient symbols that personify her statehood and tradition”.
– Although the state symbols have been in daily use for three years, it seems that some in this country still have a problem with the Crown on the flag or double-headed eagle on the coat of arms.
Such questions are being constantly repeated. As like repeating that two and two are four, some media – and among them there is a television station that is especially surpassing the others – constantly insist that Serbia is by its Constitution a republic and it should not have monarchist symbols on its coat of arms and flag. This is nonsense since the crown is a symbol of sovereignty and our tradition. The cross on its top represents our faith and union with God and by no means the crown on the coat of arms and flag symbolize governmental structure.
– The opponents of current state symbols are objecting exactly to this to the coat of arms and flag: that they represent a monarchy in a state that is a republic.
All of those who make such objections should be informed firstly how many countries there are have monarchist symbols in their state’s coats of arms, although they are not kingdoms. I shall mention only some: in its official state symbols Bulgaria, Hungary, Montenegro, Albania, The Russian Federation have a crown … The double-headed eagle is also a sign of tradition. It is an ancient symbol and in Serbia it is a part of the Roman Empire, e.g. Byzantium’s tradition. It came into our heritage with Stefan the First Crowned, the first Serbian king. A double-headed eagle could be also found in coats of arms of some states which have not a Christian tradition, for instance some Indian states. The current Serbian coat of arms, which was endorsed three years ago by Constitution and now by law as well, was set up in 1882 by Stojan Novakovic and had been in use up to 1918 and the establishment of the Kingdom of the Serbs, Croats and Slovenes. By combining two coats of arms – a cross with firesteels and a silver double-headed eagle – the Serbian coat of arms was created. This principal part of the coat of arms is followed by a crown and a royal cape with ermine lining featured in the background. The royal cape is very important as a symbol because its surface is purple, and this is the colour of the kingdom. This had deep symbolism in ancient history, when it was thought that an ermine’s characteristic was that it was prepared to be killed rather than get soiled! This symbolized the obligation of power to be pure and totally above any reproach.
– A subject of a public discussion in media is the Serbia’s anthem “Boze pravde” (Lord of Justice). Some object to the text because it is allegedly insulting the atheists, as well as to the fact that it was not written to be a formal state’s song but as an opera libretto
This is nonsense. These groundless conclusions come from parts of society who object to everything Serbian and traditional! It is true that “Boze pravde” (Lord of Justice) was written as a part of a libretto for the opera “Marko’s saber”, whose first night took place in 1872, in honour of King Milan Obrenovic’s coming of age, but I see nothing controversial in it. The text was written by Jovan Djordjevic, the music composed by Davorin Jenko and the song very quickly reached the hearts of the people and became generally accepted as an anthem. May I remind you that the German state’s anthem is a part from the opera composed by Joseph Haydn back in 1797 and this doesn’t bother Germans – quite contrary! I wonder then why this would bother us. Regarding the comments that mention God in anthems is bothering and even insulting atheists, I can only say that this is ridiculous since according to the official census there is only 0,5 % of citizens in Serbia declaring themselves as atheists and I doubt that anyone of them is offended by a text of the anthem that speaks about love towards country and justice.
– It will be finally stated by law in which way and on what occasion the flag and anthem may be used.
This concerns more the flag than anthem. We had opportunities to see until now that the flag is placed, even on some state institutions, in various manners, sometimes it was even touching the ground, and any flag in the world must not do that! We must learn as a society and nation to respect and use the symbols of our country because they carry our identity and our history.
Daily news papers Pravda, 31 March 2009