Selo Olive Oil

Saint Domnius Day in Split, Croatia - All You Need To Know

Saint Domnius Day in Split, Croatia - All You Need To Know

Header Image: Sveti Duje, Author: Dese, Source: Flickr

Who is St. Domnius (Sveti Duje)?

Domnius (Duje) came to Salona from Antioch, Syria (modern-day Antakya, Turkey). Considering the colossal celebration Split gives St. Domnius, many believe he is from Split. But no, sorry, Domnius was the Bishop of Antioch, preaching and establishing the faith in Antioch and the places around Antioch.

Domnius then undertook missionary work at Salona, the Roman province of Dalmatia's capital, where he rose to Bishop of Salona. This saint has been the subject of many ecclesiastical and scientific debates. We don't know whether he was born in Syria, but people like to jump to conclusions.

Why is St. Domnius so Important in Split, Croatia?

Saint Domnius (Saint Dujam or Saint Duje, Saint Domnio, Saint Domnius, Saint Doimus, or Saint Dominus) was a Bishop of Salona (modern-day Solin) about the year 300, and he is now the patron saint of Split, Croatia. Saint Domnius was murdered with seven other Christians during Emperor Diocletian's persecutions. This made him a martyr and somewhat of a legend over here. As being murdered for your beliefs usually does get you legendary street cred.

Many Catholics in Croatia claim that he was one of the First-Seventy century's Disciples. They also say he accompanied Saint Peter to Rome and was subsequently ordered by Peter to evangelize Dalmatia. He listened, and in return, he was killed alongside eight soldiers he had converted. But it would have all been a matter of legend that would have faded away with history had it not been for the Cathedral.

The oldest Catholic Cathedral in the world - "a complex of a church, formed from an Imperial Roman mausoleum, with a bell tower; strictly the church is dedicated to the Virgin Mary and the bell tower to Saint Domnius. Together they form the Cathedral of St. Domnius."

Photo by mana5280 on Unsplash

When is St. Domnius Day Celebrated

All you need to know - the party is on May 7 with a procession throughout the town center, concerts and a traditional raffle.

There are a number of small festivities surrounding St. Domnius day, such as City Day on May 6 - a Formal Session of the City Council of the City of Split where they hand out awards for personal and life's work, with an accompanying entertainment in the form of an orchestra from the theatre - a very classy affair. The actual st. Domnius day and the party is on the 7th.

St. Domnius Day in Split, Croatia

"At dusk, there were a lot of people on the Riva, and in front of the Cathedral and the gates of the town, the women brought in large wicker baskets and sold special warm white cakes, the sweetest holiday bread, which they covered with woolen blankets to keep warm. And the music would entertain the citizens until late at night. In the days before the holidays, the citizens of Split would tidy and clean their houses, and parents would have a lot of worries and work to prepare and buy clothes and shoes for the children participating in the procession. On the day of St. Duje, everything was alive; brass music would tour the city streets, playing a vigil (march) to celebrate the cheerful intonation and to infuse the citizens with a cheerful mood. On that day, the city was full of people, both from Split and those from the coast and islands, from the near and far surroundings, all the way to Livno and Glamoč, who came here to have fun, buy or sell."

"Sudamja - fjera SV. Duje by Tanja Ban from the Ethnographic Museum in Split.

Today, the Feast of St. Domnius (Duje) is still at its full force. Church dignitaries, led by the Archbishop of Split and Makarska, participate in the procession, along with the City of Split and the Split-Dalmatia County leaders. Like in the past, liturgical and folklore, urban, and rural elements are intertwined in Sudamja. The day has also become a major tourist attraction. 

Sveti Duje 2010, Author:
Nada Magazin, Source: Flickr

St. Domnius Day Celebration 2022

Here's what St.Domnius Day will look like this year with over thirty events with religious, cultural, entertainment, and sports events:

  • May 6th award ceremony in front of the Croatian National Theatre in Split 
  • The events related to Sudamja started on March 15, 2022, with the Bocce Ball Tournament - every Saturday in the Port of Split - ending on May 15, 2022, with an international race of rowing legends from Oxford, Cambridge, and Split in the City Port.
  • From April 28, 2022, until May 7, 2022 - Holy Masses, sermons, and concerts of spiritual music will be held daily in the St. Domnius Cathedral.
  • May 7, 2022, after the procession from Peristyle through Hrvojeva Street to the Riva.
  • The traditional Sudamja fair on May 6 and 7, 2022, and a concert on the waterfront (Riva) on St. Domnius feast on May 7, where this year Klapa Cambi Kaštela, Goran Karan, and Grupa Vagabundo will perform. 
  • Fireworks, don't forget the fireworks. 
  • After the fireworks, Tedi Spalato with the Goran Rukavina Orchestra will perform on Riva. 
  • The traditional raffle "Tombola" takes place every year on May 7. 
  • Performance of the Berlin Philharmonic orchestra's string philharmonic orchestra in the Hrvatski dom Split. 
  • After the raffle, on the Riva, a joint performance of the Varaždin Tamburitza Orchestra with the tamburitza players of the Cultural Artistic Society Jedinstvo and Klapa Sv. Juraj-HRM will take place.

Bonus activity: May 7, 08:00 a.m. in the underwater area of Zvončac Bay and Sustipan in Split, an ecological action EKO SUDAMJA 2022, cleaning the underwater bay.

To the locals of Split and all others who celebrate the feast of St. Dujam, and to the tourists who find themselves in the city at that time, we wish traditionally:

Na dobro Vam došla Sudamja!