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Simon Gregorcic: (1844-1906) Slovenian Priest and Poet

Gregorcic was born in Vrsno, Western Slovenia on October, 15, 1844.  He studied as a priest and in 1868, conducted his first mass.  In 1882, he wrote his first book, Poezije and two years later, published his second book of songs.  He is perhaps best know for his poem Soci, a tribute to the Soca River, located West of Slovenia and Northern Italy, his hometown of Vrsno near Kobarid, Slovenia.  In his sonnet, he beautifies the river, but then foretells the demise of the region and its river.  This proved to be true as a result of World War I, where over 100,000 soldiers die near the Soca.  (Virtual Tourist)

During the counter-reformation period, in Slovenia, there was a rebirth of Slovenian literature in the Slovene language. Gregorcic’s work was a major contribution to this Slovenian rebirth.  “The melody, the tenderness, the intensity, the heart-to-heart messages of his poems were a hopeful consolation to the oppressed people, who hailed their cheerful prophesies with great joy. An ethical note pervades much of his poetry, and because of their lyrical quality his poems readily lend themselves to musical settings. Many of them have become virtually folk-songs.” (Lederer, Carla. Their Paths Are Peace. p.76)

“The 100th anniversary of the birth of Simon Gregorcic* was commemorated by the Jugoslav Cultural Garden group on August 13, 1944. The program featured a colorful pageant and some of the poet's finest works.” (Lederer, Carla. Their Paths Are Peace. p.77)

Photographs:

Bust of Gregorcic, Monument in Ljubljana

Photographs of the Garden

Further Reading:

Information on the Soca Valley, Matej Avsenak Ogorevc

The Slovenian National Home, Encyclopedia of Cleveland History

History of the Slovenes in Cleveland, Encyclopedia of Cleveland History

The Slovenian American National Council, Encyclopedia of Cleveland History

Plut-Pregelj, Leopoldina and Carole Rogel, A Historical Dictionary of Slovenia. Lanham, MD: The Scarecrow Press, Inc., p.25-6, 1996.