THE HISTORY OF
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).
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)
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
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”)