Legends and tales of Island Lokrum
Lokrum is a small island just across the old town of Dubrovnik. There are records that Lokrum was settled by the Benedictine monks around 915 A.D. where they built the monastery in 1023.
Out of many interesting stories and legends that surround this small island, one tale is the most famous. King of England, Richard I. also known as Richard Lionheart, was a brave soldier and crusader. Richard joined the Third Crusade to free Jerusalem and the holy land in the year 1190. Crusade lasted for three years, and after Richard the Lionheart made peace with Saladin, he began his journey back home with the Venetian fleet of ships.
When the fleet was sailing along the coast near Dubrovnik it was November, a very cold and stormy month to be on the sea. A huge storm caught Richard's ship and the reason why they didn’t shipwreck was that they found safe shelter on the island of Lokrum. King Richard the Lionheart pledged that he would build two churches to the Blessed Virgin Mary because his prayers were answered. One church had to be built in England and one on the island of Lokrum.
Another interesting tale is about the Lokrum curse.
The Benedictine monastery on the island of Lokrum is mentioned for the first time in 1023 as the first in a row of Benedictine monasteries in the Dubrovnik Republic. The founders are said to have been members of the Monastery of St. Maria in Puglia and a priest from Dubrovnik.
The story of the curse begins when the French army general decided that the Benedictine order would be exiled from the island of Lokrum. Noblemen from Dubrovnik were ordered to remove the monks from the island because Benedictines refused to abandon their home in a peaceful manner. After the monks ’efforts had finally failed, they went to the church of St. Mary and served the last mass. After the service, they lined up one after another to form a funeral procession with torches turned upside down. They circled the island three times that long, dark night while chanting the words “Let be thy cursed, one that acquires Lokrum for his own personal pleasure”. When dawn came, they boarded ships and took off into the open seas. They never looked back or returned to the island after that.