Monday, August 3, 2015

Blessed Agostino Casotti: A New “Croat” for Puglia

(Taken from the Associazione Nazionale Venezia Giulia e Dalmazia, April 17, 2012.)

After the would-be theft of Pope Sixtus V by the Croats, clumsily attempted by a “researcher” in Zagreb who believes that the Peretti coat of arms secretly alludes to a supposed Illyrian origin, now Blessed Agostino Casotti, a native of Traù, very dear to Lucera – whose diocese he governed for one year between 1322 and 1323 and which in recent months has taken part in the process of canonization –, is being claimed to have Croatian nationality.

“We are forming” – according to a statement issued by elements of the Curia – “the diocesan organizations that need to assess the so-called reputation of holiness of the Blessed, to ascertain whether in the course of many years, the veneration of the Christian people has remained unaltered. Additionally, there will also be a great work of raising awareness, so that through his intercession a miracle may arrive, which alone is needed to satisfy the investigations and gain recognition of his canonization by the Congregation of Saints. This means that in order to get the miracle, one must ask through the intercession of the Blessed.”

And of course “Croatia is bustling with activity in this direction, and is also taking advantage of the numerous contacts made in recent years between the two Dioceses, especially at the initiative of the incumbent Bishop Mons. Francesco Zerrillo and now the confrere in service Mons. Domenico Cornacchia.”

The new Croatian ID card of the future Saint will of course bear the name of “Augustin Kažotić”, and his place of birth will be listed as “Trogir” (which today falls under the sovereignty of Croatia). It is the finest example of misappropriation of a historical figure who lived in a time and in a place which did not have anything to do with Croatia. Just to remind the readers, the Dalmatian city of Traù, one of the most splendid examples of a Renaissance city, distinctly Venetian and Italian in its sumptuous architecture, was founded by the Greeks in the fourth century BC with the name of Tragurion; it later became Roman, and from the sixth century onward was part of Byzantium. From the 11th century it was variously dependent on Venice and Hungary. But in 1322 (right when the Blessed Casotti was assigned to the Diocese of Lucera) the city aligned itself with Venice in order to prevent falling into the hands of Croatian feudal lords. After a brief period of dependence on the crown of Hungary, in 1420 Traù returned to Venice and remained there for nearly four centuries.

“The most faithful testimony of this material and cultural richness” – wrote Lucio Toth in his historical-legal treatise on the Dalmatian cities – “are the citizens Statutes, [...] republished recently by both the Senate of the Italian Republic (together with the Statutes of other regions belonging to Italian culture) and by the Academy of Arts and Sciences in Belgrade.” Statutes which establish and regulate for the flourishing Dalmatian Comunes “organs typical of Italian public law”, to whose sphere of civilization and culture they have historically belonged for many centuries.