The commemoration of this great Istrian bishop was organised by the Croatian Heritage Foundation branch office in Pula and the Croatian Community in Trst (Trieste). A special mass and concert in honour of the bishop was held at Trieste’s St Justus cathedral.
The 200th anniversary commemoration of the birth of Bishop Dobrila commenced on 28 September with the opening of an exhibition in Poreč dedicated to the memory of former Poreč and Pula Bishop Juraj Dobrila—a leading figure of the 19th century Croatian national revival and the first Croatian from Istria County to be named a bishop.
In late October members of the commemoration organising committee and representatives of institutions and associations participating in the programme visited the bishop’s grave at the Sant’ Anna cemetery in Trieste. They were joined by General Consul Nevenka Grdinić and other staffers with the Croatian General Consulate in Trieste, and together laid a wreath at the grave of the Croatian bishop whose diocesan office was in Trieste. Also joining them at the moving ceremony were Robert Matijašić, rector of the Juraj Dobrila University of Pula; Josip Šiklić, principal of the Gymnasium in Pazin and of the Juraj Dobrila Trade School; Galiano Labinjan, president of the assembly of the Čakavian Cathedra for the history of Istria; Daniel Bogešić, president of the Catholic Society of Education Professionals in Istria; Vladimir Torbica, head of the Istria County Bureau of Culture; professor of theology Josip Grbac; and Elvis Orbanić, head of the National Archives section in Istria County.
Like St Leopold Mandić, who was buried in Padua, although he expressed a wish to “have his bones laid to rest in his native Croatian soil” in Boka Kotorska, Bishop Dobrila also, according to his biographer Cvjetko Rubetić, near the end of his life expressed a wish that his eternal resting place be in the town of Beram in Istria County, at the church of the Mother of God at Škriljinah. There has been discussion for years now about moving the earthly remains of the bishop to his native Istria. A delegation led by retired Poreč and Pula Bishop Ivan Milovan visited the Trieste diocese on the occasion of this major anniversary to once again request that the remains of Juraj Dobrila be moved to Istria. Unfortunately, the answer was once again negative.
The first event marking the anniversary outside of Istria County was staged on 4 December by the National Archives section in Pazin with host the Croatian Catholic University of Zagreb by way of a presentation of the book Juraj Dobrila: De confessione sacramentali.
A commemorative event dedicated to the great Istrian bishop Dobrila outside of Croatia was held on 9 December in Trieste. A Eucharist and concert were staged in honour of Bishop Dobrila at Trieste’s cathedral of St Justus organised by the Pula branch office of the Croatian Heritage Foundation and the Croatian Community in Trieste. Bishop Dobrila served at this cathedral as a canon and parish priest from 1854 on and was later appointed to be the bishop of Poreč and Pula, and in 1875 of Trieste and Kopar.
During the mass the mixed choir of the Pula deanery performed the Old Slavonic Mass by Alba Vidaković and a short concert after mass featuring Istrian Christmas hymns. Accompanied on the organ by Kristina Puh, the choir was conducted by Marija Hauser. Mass was followed by a reception at the Croatian Community premises.
The gathered were welcomed by Croatian Community president Damir Murković, who thanked the guests for the mass and concert and by Ana Bedrina of the Pula branch office of the Croatian Heritage Foundation. The gathered were addressed on behalf of the Croatian General Consulate in Trieste by General Consul Nevenka Grdinić. 2013 will see a number of other programmes celebrating the anniversary of the birth of this Istrian great in Trieste and Kopar.
Text by: Ana Bedrina