Đorđe Branković

Đorđe Branković (Serbian Cyrillic: Ђорђе Бранковић; anglicized as George; also known as Saint Maksim; b. 1461 – d. 1516) was the last male member of the Branković dynasty, and titular Despot of Serbia from 1486 to 1497. The title was granted to him by Hungarian king Matthias Corvinus. From 1493, he shared the title with his brother Jovan. In 1497, Đorđe relinquished all titles and possessions to his brother, and decided to take monastic vows, adopting the name Maksim (Serbian Cyrillic: Максим). He built the Krušedol monastery, and served as diplomatic envoy for prince Radu IV the Great of Wallachia (1507). In 1513, he became Metropolitan of Belgrade. After his death (1516), he was venerated as saint, and canonized by the Serbian Orthodox Church.[1][2]

Đorđe Branković
Despot of Serbia
Krušedol monastery 50.JPG
Stone-icon on the outer wall of the Krušedol monastery
Despot of Serbia
PredecessorVuk Branković
SuccessorJovan Branković
Died18 January 1516
SpouseIsabella, daughter of Angilberto del Balzo, Duke of Nardò
HouseBranković dynasty CoatOfArmsOfJovanStefanovicBrankovic.png
FatherStefan Branković
MotherAngelina Arianiti
ReligionSerbian Orthodox Christian


Đorđe was the son of Stefan Branković, exiled Despot of Serbia (1458–1459), and Angelina Arianites. He was born in 1461, while his parents were residing in the region of Skadar. The family later moved to northern Italy and acquired castle Belgrado in the region of Friuli. His father, despot Stefan died in 1476, and young Đorđe became his principal hair. In 1479, emperor Friedrich III granted them castle Weitensfeld in Carinthia, and Đorđe moved there with the rest of family.[3]

Đorđe′s first cousin Vuk Branković, titular Despot of Serbia, died on April 16, 1485, without direct hairs. His title and vast estates in the Kingdom of Hungary were left vacant, prompting Hungarian king Matthias Corvinus to find a suitable heir. He opted for the only remaining male members of Branković family (Đorđe and his brother Jovan), inviting them to come to Hungary.[4][5]

In 1486, Đorđe arrived in Hungary and received the title of Despot of Serbia by king Matthias, who granted him cities of Kupinik, Slankamen, and Berkasovo in Syrmia, as well as other towns which fell under these cities.

In 1487, Đorđe was married to Isabella del Balzo (d. 1498), daughter of Angilberto del Balzo, Duke of Nardò in the Kingdom of Naples. She was cousin of queen Beatrice, wife of king Matthias of Hungary.

From 1493 forwards, Đorđe ruled jointly with his brother Jovan, who was also granted the title Despot of Serbia, as it was customary in the Kingdom of Hungary that various senior posts should be held jointly by two incumbents. In 1494, the two brothers fought against Lawrence of Ilok, who had possessions in Syrmia and Slavonia. In December 1494, the brothers conquered Mitrovica, which they entrusted to their nobles.

In 1497, despot Đorđe decided to relinquish all of his titles and possessions to his brother. He took monastic vows, adopting the name Maksim (Serbian Cyrillic: Максим). He built the Krušedol monastery in the region of Syrmia.[6]

His brother, despot Jovan, died in 1502 without mail hair, and king Vladislaus II of Hungary arranged new marriage for Jovan′s widow Jelena Jakšić, who remarried nobleman Ivaniš Berislavić in 1504. He was granted the title of Serbian Despot, and control over possessions of his wife Jelena.[5]

Soon after that, Maksim left Hungary and went to the Principality of Wallachia, where he was welcomed by prince Radu IV the Great (1495-1508), who entrusted Maksim with important diplomatic missions. In 1507, Maxim successfully mediated peace between prince Radu of Walachia and prince Bogdan III (1504-1517) of Moldavia.[7]

At the time of his stay in Wallachia, the Metropolitanate of Wallachia was undergoing the process of continuous institutional development. Maksim′s name was enlisted in diptych of local hyerarchs, and some historians suggested that he became bishop in one of Wallachian eparchies, or even metropolitan of Wallachia, but other researchers have pointed out that there is no direct confirmation for such assumption.[8]

Upon his return to Hungary, he served as Metropolitan of Belgrade (since 1513). After his death in 1516, he was venerated as saint, and canonized by the Serbian Orthodox Church.[9]

He is mentioned, together with all of his family, in the "Dell'Imperadori Constantinopolitani", or Massarelli manuscript, found in the papers of Angelo Massarelli (1510–1566).[10]


Saint Maksim Branković
Свети Максим Бранковић
Krušedol Monastery, modern Serbia
Venerated inEastern Orthodox Church
Canonized16th century, Syrmia by the Serbian Orthodox Church
Major shrineKrušedol Monastery
Feast18 January O.S.
31 January N.S.

Members of the Branković dynasty were known for their devotion to Eastern Orthodox Christianity,[11][12] and Đorđe Branković (metropolitan Maksim) also represented that family tradition. He died on 18 January 1516, and early indications of sainthood aperared by 1523, in the time when Belgrade was already in Ottoman hands (since 1521). By that time, the Ottoman expansion has reached the Krušedol Monastery, where he was buried there. During those troubled times, his cult was founded in order to serve as a morale booster for the Serbs, who fought, together with the Hungarians and other Christians, against the invading Ottomans. At the same time, in the same place, and with the same idea, cults of all his family members were founded: his father's, Stefan Branković (d 1476), his mother's, Angelina (at the same time as Maksim), and his brother's, Jovan (d. 1502). During the 16th century, monks of Krušedol monastery celebrated those members of the Branković dynasty, and hagiographies were written of Angelina and Maksim.[13]

The family members were buried at the Krušedol monastery and laid together in coffins at the altar. During the Austro-Turkish War (1716-1718), a Turkish army invaded Syrmia in 1716, captured Krušedol and burned the holy relics, shortly after the Battle of Petrovaradin. Only some minor parts of the relics were preserved.[14]



  1. ^ Ćirković 2004, p. 101, 116, 139.
  2. ^ Krstić 2017, p. 151-153.
  3. ^ Jireček 1918, p. 245.
  4. ^ Ćirković 2004, p. 116.
  5. ^ a b Bataković 2005, p. 98.
  6. ^ Krstić 2017, p. 151.
  7. ^ Stojkovski, Ivanić & Spăriosu 2018, p. 217-229.
  8. ^ Pilat 2010, p. 229–238.
  9. ^ Bataković 2005, p. 101.
  10. ^ Tony Hoskins, "Anglocentric medieval genealogy"
  11. ^ Paizi-Apostolopoulou 2012, p. 95-116.
  12. ^ Andrić 2016, p. 202–227.
  13. ^ Ćirković 2004, p. 139.
  14. ^ Ćirković 2004, p. 150.


Regnal titles
Preceded by
Vuk Branković
titular Despot of Serbia
Succeeded by
Jovan Branković