Ilija Okrugic


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»Sokica« is a play or folk acting of folk life, in 5 Acts. By the author’s words, it was conceived and written on a true story and it did not have a tragic ending.  The play preview of “Sokica”, where the author himself was present, was held in 1886 at Belgrade National Theater with the famous actress Vela Nigrinova in the role of Janja.  This folk melodrama was once again set on that very stage by Josip Kulundzic, but with Blazenka Katalinic in the role of Janja. Along with the stage music by Davorin Jenka, with a tolerant ecumenical idea in the plot center, this folk melodrama turned out to be the soul balm to national and confessional mixed Vojvodina people and therefore the maternal word in the theatre was highly valued. But how much this drama was the favourite one even out of the theatre is proved by the fact that “Sokica”, prepared by Dimitrije Ginic, travelling actor and director, was performed in 1918 in Tunisian place Bizerte, in front of the Yugoslav volunteers.

Ilija Okrugić-Sriemac, the Catholic priest, writer, composer, historian, has finished Karlovci grammar school. He was the first Roman Catholic priest who was ordained in 1850 by the Bishop Josip Juraj Strossmayer. He was a pastor of the church of Sv. George Petrovaradin and the head of the church of The Lady of Snows in Tekije. He thoroughly renewed and expanded this famous Roman Catholic Marian sanctuary in 1881. For his contribution to the field of literature, the King Milan awarded him the highest Serbian, Order of St. Sava and the Montenegrin King Nicholas handed him Daniel's medal. A lively, straightforward, friendly, full of humor, he was very popular among his flock in Petrovaradin. He was friends with Laza Kostic, Jovan Hranilovic, Milan Savic and many other intellectuals from Novi Sad. Matica Serbian elected him as a member of his literary department.  His entire written legacy is stored in the manuscripts department in Matica Serbian in Novi Sad. He was spiritually formed on the ideas of the Illyrian movement. He was a folk enlightener advocating for concord and Slavic brotherhood. Slavic brotherhood. Together with Branko Radicevic, he was known as the greatest praiser of Srem and Fruska gora. By his birth, nature and humor he felt himself like great Sremac, so he added Sriemac to his name. His dramatic works were written with many elements of moral and ethnographic details and the audience was obtained thanks to the popular tone of intimacy, the abundance of folklore and folk chants as well as the strongly expressed message of the national unity of Serbs and Croats and their destiny connection. Elijah Okrugic had the greatest success as a playwright. He was immensely helped by his cooperation with Serbian writers and the Serbian National Theatre in Novi Sad that performed five of his works: "Sacurica and fur hat," "The Writer's Firelock", "Nasal Comedy", "Grabancijas" and "Sokica".

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