The establishment of the Archives is related to one of the most significant historical events in the history of the Serbian people, the Great Migration of Serbs in 1690 led by Patriarch Arsenije III Čarnojević. On that occasion a part of Serbian clergy and people brought some books, sacral inventory, charters of Serbian medieval rulers, sinđelijas (patriarchal decrees), berats (sultan’s decrees) and other records from the Balkan parts of the Ottoman Empire to the Habsburg Monarchy.
This documentation body was subsequently enlarged by the correspondence which Patriarch Arsenije III and his successors had with secular, ecclesiastic and military institutions or individuals in the Habsburg Monarchy, Serbia, Russia and other countries as representatives of national-church and educational autonomy or as individuals. During the Second World War, the Archives was closed by the German-Ustaše authorities and it was partially damaged. At the request of the Serbian Academy of Sciences, the Holy Synod of Bishops of the Serbian Orthodox Church entrusted it with ’the management and definite organization of the Metropolitanate and Consistory of Sremski Karlovci’ for the purpose of scholarly use.
The Academy provided resources, staff and met the conditions for it, recovering 81 charter from Vienna, from inadequate and insecure places, storing them into the Archives – the Archives of Karlovac Magistrate (City Hall), Karlovac Grammar School, etc. Some documents and collections were presented by citizens, some were bought, and the majority of records of the Dalmatian Eparchy was microfilmed at the Historical Archives in Zadar.
Thus combined archival collections in the SASA Archives in Karlovac chronologically encompasses the period from the mid-16th century until the 1970s, with reference to further past. Regarding the content there are legal documents: appeals, complaints, reports, memorandums, minutes, contracts, wills, correspondence, census and the like. The records are still being filed, put in protective boxes, conserved and protected from humidity and other damage. For the time being, the records are sorted out into 44 funds and ten smaller collections. Today, the Archives holds in its possession approximately three million documents. For most of them, there are original or subsequently added registries, registers, regestas, card-files of individuals, summary inventories. The above-mentioned documents are extraordinary sources of the political, cultural and economic history of the Serbian people in the Habsburg Monarchy, particularly of church and religious life, schools, education, literature, arts and diverse relations of Serbs with multiple Euro-Asian peoples.
The Archives of SASA in Sremski Karlovci is the first contemporary organized archives in modern Serbian history. The first known inventory dates back to 1719. The Archives also houses a library with over 5,000 books.
SASA Archives in Sremski Karlovci
Trg Branka Radičevića 17
21205 Sremski Karlovci, Serbia
Telephone/fax: (021) 881 757