A love story hidden among the cypress on Sveti Djordje Island

Katarina Kalicanin | Live the World

November 23, 2022

More than 200 thousand years ago, at the time when Napoleon Bonaparte occupied Kotor Bay, a young Dalmatian officer fall in love with a beautiful girl from Perast and since then their love took not only their hearts, but the hearts of anyone who hear their love story. Nowadays,** their love story is hidden among the cypress on Sveti Djordje Island**.

The love story of Ante Slović and Katica Kalfić is dating back from 1813, when French soldiers were all around Perast. Ante was a part of one of their artillery units, on Sveti Djordje Island. Katica and Ante noticed each other on the streets of Perast and fall in love at first sight. They were dreaming about living together and were planning their wedding as soon as the war is over. Unfortunately, their destiny was far from happy, even though in some way they always stayed together.

One day, people from Perast rebelled against the French army. As a reaction to disobedience, the French commander ordered the exchange of artillery fire from Sveti Djordje Island to Perast. French officer Ante got an order to fire the first cannon-shot. That was enough for the Perastans to raise a white flag, which was a sign of a ceasefire.

Happy that the war had lasted only for a short time and ended without the consequences, Ante was looking forward to see his darling. As he approached Katica's house, he noticed something strange. She was not there waiting for him in her yard, the shutters on the windows were closed and a creepy silence was surrounding the house. The young man's heart was trembling. He entered the house. His Katica was lying in bed dead, killed by a cannon-shot.

The next day the funeral procession started from Perast and boats continued to the Sveti Djorjde Island where Katica was buried. On the same day, Ante decided to take off his uniform forever, stay on the island with Katica and become the eternal guardian of her grave. He was the only living citizen of the Sveti Djordje – the island of the dead. He grew old, but his love for Katica was equally strong.

On her grave, there were always flowers and a candle that lit every night regardless of season or weather. Ante maintained the whole cemetery, took care of the trees and planted new cypress on the island.

One night, the Perastans noticed no candlelights on the island. It was the first night since Katica's death that her tomb was not illuminated by light. People reached the island in the morning. They found Ante lying dead next to the Katica's grave. In his hand he had a slip of paper with his last wish written down: "Bury me here, let me finally be together with Katica!"

Since then, above their grave along the wall of the church, two cypresses rise and lean against one another merging in height. Here lie the bodies of a couple brought together by love, torn apart by life and reunited in death and their love story will live forever among the cypress on Sveti Djordje Island.

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