THE HISTORY OF LUKA

I.
The beginnings of Luka as settlement go back to ancient history. There is evidence confirming that Luka was already settled in the Roman period such as a tombstone with the epitaph “Helviae Saturni-nae coniugi P. Titienus Nepos” found in Luka and kept in the Archaeological Museum in Zadar. According to the known facts and scientific researches, Luka on Dugi otok (Long Island) was mentioned for the first time in the year 1365 under the name of Vallis Sancti Stephani (Saint Stephen’s Port) in the Latin text reading as follows: “... Collanus filius nat(u)ralis condam Marini de Fafona pro se suisque heredibus et sucesoribus (!) iure proprio et in perpetuum dedit, uendidit atque tradidit Stanco, filio condam Stovsce de insula Magna districti (!) Jadrensis, et Desse eius vxori suisque heredibus et successoribus ementi et recipienti unam suam uineam ... que uinea est posita in insula Magna in valle sancti Stepfani(!)...” The main point of the text is: Kolan, legitimate son of the late Marin Fanfonja, sells to Stanko and his wife Desa a vineyard in Saint Stephen’s Port on Dugi otok (Long Island).

Afterwards Luka was often mentioned in various documents. One of the oldest references to Luka on Dugi otok (Long Island) can be found in a document dating from the year 1460 written in old Croatian language and in old Croatian script Glagolitsa. Transcribed into modern Croatian Latin script, the part of this document referring to Luka reads as follows: "Ja dom' Petar sin' Mikule Kršavića, a parohijan' v Sustipani Luci (v) Velom' otoci, budući zdrav' i v razumu napuni, ki mi e B(og) dal', činu moi tastamen't'...” “Ta tastament't' pisah' na 12. dan' envara rukov moev ... let' g(ospodi)n(ovi)h 1460.” Being the testament of Father Petar Kršavić, parish priest in Saint Stephen’s Luka, the document confirms that already at that time Luka was a parish and that it had its own parish church and its own parish priest conducting Glagolitic service. It is more than probable that Luka had become parish long before the registered year.

In the document Luka is referred to as Saint Stephen’s Luka. There are two interesting facts:

1. The local name Luka has Slavic origin and means “port” in Croatian. Later on the name porat of Roman origin predominated over the Slavic name luka.

2. Right from the beginning the church in Luka was named after Saint Stephen and consequently the village itself was named after him (lat. Vallis sancti Stephani, cro. Sustipanja Luka – Saint Stephen’s Port).


II.
In Luka, other than the today’s parish church of St. Stephen’s (by the sea, in the northern part of the village) and the new votive church of St. Nicholas’ (at the bottom of the port, by the sea) there are:
- the church in the area called Suvčeno (to the south-west of the village and at some distance from the sea) and
- “crikvina” or, as it is called nowadays, “crkvina” (near the southern part of the village)
 

Suvceno Suvceno

Suvčeno. According to I. Petricioli the church in the area Suvčeno is of the more recent origin than “crikvina” in Čuh (also on Dugi otok, in the area near the village of Sali), than “graška crikva” on the island of Zverinac and than the Church of St. Peter’s on the island of Ugljan. Having reconstructed the layout of the church in Suvčeno, Petricioli traces its origin back to the XV century. The name of this church was not registered and has remained unknown until the present day.

“Crikvina”. Only the parts of its walls in plaster and stone (up to 1m high) have been preserved. Today these walls form the fence of the garden built by land clearing and filling inside the former church. The church was longitudinal, east – west oriented, like all the other churches in Luka. Its approximate dimensions are: at least 8 m long, about 6.25m wide, with 0.65m thick walls. “Crikvina” in Luka has not yet been registered in technical literature, and there are no data about it in historical sources.

In the August of 1987 Božidar Finka and Nedo Grbin visited “Crikvina”. Rudolf Baćica (deceased), owner of the land and their guide, did not know anything particular about either the name of the church or the time when it had been built and when it had ceased to be used as sacral building. According to him and numerous inhabitants of Luka, there are no folk stories or notes about it in Luka.
“Crikvina” is situated on the western edge of the southern part of the today’s village, close to the way by the sea leading from the bay (porat) of Luka to the west. While the church in Suvčeno is away from both the village and sea, i.e. from the big port so characteristic of Luka that the village itself was named after it, “crikvina” is situated close by the port. The people who founded the village around the port could have used it as church. In absence of other authentic historical data, and relaying on previously stated facts, we came to these conclusions:

1. “Crikvina” could originally be the church of St. Stephen’s built before the first known mentioning of Luka in the document from 1365 in which the village was named Vallis Sancti Stephani (cro. Sustipanja Luka – St. Stephen’s Port) after its patron (St. Stephen). From that time originates the cult of St. Stephen who has been the patron of the church in Luka ever since.
2. Considering the first assumption, we can state that the patron of the church in Suvčeno (especially if, at least for a brief period, that church and “crikvina” coexisted as cult buildings) could not have motivated the first registered name of Luka. Furthermore, the church in Suvčeno is away from the sea bay (port) and from the village around that bay, and it was probably built after the first mentioning of Luka (1365).
 

III.
The data about the population of Luka before the XVI century are not numerous. In the documents there are occasional references to some names, family names or land names. However, from the XVI century on the data about the family names and population are abundant. The most important sources are preserved Glagolitic codes (especially Glagolitic registers and brotherhoods’ books) made in Luka. To exemplify, we list the following family names from the XVI century Luka: Županić i S(a)tulić (1508), Hrvatinić (1509), Fatović, Matešić i Perković (1510), Vlahović (1587).
During the centuries only the Turks in the middle of the XVII century interrupted relatively peaceful life of the village of Luka. They devastated the village and, probably, killed and captured the inhabitants that had not managed to escape. At that time the Turks must have looted and demolished the parish church “crikvina” which, consequently, ceased to exist as sacral building. This assumption is in accordance with Bianchi’s statements.
The Turkish invasion of the country, and of the areas around Zadar, resulted in the fleeing of the inhabitants to safer parts of the country including the islands. That is why, according to Bianchi, in the middle of the XVII century, in 1642, a few families from the mainland around Zadar came to Luka. The period is characteristic for some family names that were found in the Glagolitic registers and codes but that had not been registered in earlier sources. In the second half of the XVII century (1662) the following families were registered: Banina, Bačić, Bolić and Čičić.
From the beginning the inhabitants of the village of Luka have been of Croatian origin and have spoken chakavian dialect with ikavian-ekavian pronunciation (e.g. misiti testo) characteristic of the entire Dugi otok (Long Island). The first preserved document in Croatian language in Luka – the previously mentioned testament of the first parish priest in Luka Father Petar Kršavić from the year 1460 – confirms it. The new immigrations did not alter the traditional structure of chakavian dialect because the new inhabitants did not come in larger groups and because they originated mainly from the areas with similar dialects. Consequently, the population of Luka has not essentially altered from the founding of Luka to the present day.
 

(from the book “Zupa Luka na Dugom otoku”)


Contact