The Charter of the Mileševa Monastery
Despot Stefan Lazarević
“Through me kings rule, and princes judge the earth” said the Lord, King of the Centuries, Pantocrator, through the wise Solomon. Since we received this ephemeral Kingdom from his powerful hand and the abundant kindness, the born being should, to all extent possible, be similar to Him who spreads his arms, and all living things should relish the kindness, not only to be the recipients of this ephemeral Kingdom, but the heirs of the Eternal Kingdom, from whence stems the good conformation of the highest authority entrusted to us.
Therefore I, Despot Stefan, with pious faith in the Lord Christ, and by God’s grace lord of the Serbs, write this so that it may be known to all that with mercifulness and unspeakable grace of my holy lords and Serbian founders: Saint Simeon, the Serbian autocrat and myrrhobleter, and Saint Sava, the Great Serbian Archbishop, who for the unworthy me, in their great grace, were mediators before the Lord, and through their prayers I was often saved at sea and on land, in wars, and in different predicaments and attacks by enemies. They also even retrieved my sinful soul from the gates of death and through their prayers the Creator of everything and Bishop granted me life for the second time, until in the future [again] it pleases the Ruler of life and death, the Creator and my God.
For of these great benefactions of my holy lords to my humble self, I present a small bequest. I gift to the monastery of my lord Saint Sava, which is in Mileševa, five villages in Moravice. Their names are: two Guglje, third – Hrasno Polje, the fourth – Šemgonj, the fifth – Rupljevo. I also did mercy unto these villages: for two years they shall be absolved of the ounce, for five years they shall be free of all large and small labors for me [the ruler], from military service, construction of cities and all duties unto me, with the exception of the ounce; [and those villages] shall even not pay the ground tax to me but to the Mileševa monastery.
And [for] this small gift of mine I ask him who God appoints to rule after me: either [one] of our relatives, or any of the pious ones, for this [which is written], because of some curse of the envious devil, remain unchanged and undestroyed, just as we did not harm or destroy that which was contributed by the holy lords who previously ruled the Serbian lands.
And anyone should dare to destroy or replace this, may he be destroyed by the Lord God and Immaculate Mother of God, both here in his Earthly life, as well as in his afterlife, and instead of helping them, may Saint Simeon and Saint Sava be his rivals.
By God’s grace, Lord of the Serbs, Despot Stefan