Jovan Uglje?a Mrnjav?evi?
|Died||26 September 1371|
|Cause of death||Killed in action|
|Title||Grand Voivode (Veliki Vojvoda)|
Uglje?a Mrnjav?evi? (Serbian Cyrillic: ?; fl. 1346-1371), known as Jovan Uglje?a (Serbian Cyrillic: ), was a Serbian medieval nobleman of the Mrnjav?evi? family and one of the most prominent magnates of the Serbian Empire. He held the title of despot, received from Serbian Emperor Stefan Uro? V, whose co-ruler - Serbian King Vuka?in was brother of Uglje?a.
Uglje?a married Jelena (later nun Jefimija), daughter of Vojihna, the Caesar of Drama. This boosted the power of Uglje?a, who would later govern the region alongside his father-in-law. Vojihna died in ca 1360, and his lands were inherited by Jovan Uglje?a.
He was given the title of despotes by Empress Helena of Bulgaria in 1365. His province was situated along the lower course of the Struma with Serres as seat. And in order to be regarded as a proper Christian ruler, it was his duty to conform to the traditional practice of patronage. He made substantial donations to monasteries at Mount Athos, particularly Hilandar and repairing and refurbishing Simonopetra monastery in 1364. Like so many other Serbian rulers before and after him, one of the main purposes of his patronage and pilgrimage to the Holy Mountain was to ask the Athonites' blessing on his struggle against the Turks.
His realm was under the religious jurisdiction of the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople since 1368. The Patriarch mentioned the master of Ra?ka (another name for Serbia), Jovan Uglje?a, in a letter from 1371.
With the Ottoman threat rising in the Balkans, Jovan Ugle?a and his brothers Vuka?in Mrnjav?evi? and Gojko Mrnjav?evi? tried to oppose the Turks. Jovan Uglje?a was killed on 26 September 1371 in the Battle of Maritsa. Their troops were smashed by those of Ottoman commanders Lala Shahin Pasha and Gazi Evrenos at the Battle of Maritsa in 1371. The defeat resulted in big portions of the region of Macedonia falling under Ottoman power. Additionally, two brothers were killed during the fight. Their courage and self-sacrifice made them heroes of Bulgarian and Serbian epic poetry.