Vasilije Petrović (Serbian Cyrillic: Василије Петровић; 1709 – 10 March 1766) was the metropolitan bishop of Cetinje (Prince-Bishop of Montenegro). Also, he was the author of the History of Montenegro, a book published in 1754. He ruled together with Sava Petrović, his cousin.
|Metropolitan of Montenegro|
|Church||Serbian Patriarchate of Peć|
Njeguši, Prince-Bishopric of Montenegro
|Died||10 March 1766|
St. Petersburg, Russian Empire (now Russia)
|Denomination||Eastern Orthodox Christianity|
|Coat of arms|
The modern political history of Montenegro began with Metropolitan Danilo, who founded a state ruled by a dynasty from the Petrović-Njegoš family. Danilo was eventually succeeded by his two nephews, first by Sava Petrović, and then by Vasilije.
Bishop Sava was an uninfluential and secluded person, and dedicated himself more to religion than to politics. Vasilije, however, maintained good relations with the Republic of Venice and attempted to avoid military conflicts with neighbouring states.
During that time Vasilije ruled together with Sava, his brother, as his coadjutor. Vasilije between 1750 and 1766 even tried to convince Austria's Maria Theresa that "since the time of Alexander the Great his country has been a separate republic ruled by a prince" but to no avail. Vasilije shunted Sava aside as soon as he realized that Sava followed his predecessor's (Danilo) ties with Venice all too zealously. Vasilije immediately made for Russia and began to set Montenegro back on its feet. With the help of Russian arms, he went to war with the Turks and then had to seek refuge back to Russia, where he died.
After Vasilije, Sava took power and continued with the same foreign policy as before, allying himself with Venice. But that didn't last long as Šćepan Mali who, claiming to be the Russian Tsar Peter III himself, managed to convince the people that he should rule Montenegro. He immediately severed ties with Venice altogether, implemented the strict rule of law, began building roads until his life was cut short in 1773 by an assassin sent by Mustafa Bushati, the Vizier of Skadar. Sava returned to serve as metropolitan once again, and after him his nephew, Arsenije Plamenac of Crmnica, became metropolitan. But Arsenije, too, was soon to die, in 1784. Once again a member of the Petrović-Njegoš, now Petar I Petrović-Njegoš, was inaugurated.
The writing and teaching of Montenegrin history was a chief interest for most of Vasilije's life, as well as his occupation as a spiritual leader. Istorija o Černoj Gori (History of Montenegro), published in Moscow in 1754, is his most quoted work. It is the first known attempt of modern-day citizen of Montenegro to document their history in writing. It is not only historiographical, but also geographical, ethnological and ethical description of its country. Vasilije formulated an elaborate theory of Montenegrin history as a dynamic and deterministic process. On the basis of this theory he alluded that the next century would see a new nation, a new state. He called special attention to the future but left prediction out of the equation. Also, parts of the Cetinje chronicle can be attributed to him.
- Metropolitan of Montenegro, Skenderija and Primorje, and Exarch of the Serb throne (smjerni mitropolit crnogorski, skenderijski i primorski i trona srpskoga egzarh)