The war of the gods

18 February 2023.

Written by Matija Čaić

Slavic god Perun and the Christian saint St. George are in a permanent war on a hill above Split.


Perun is the supreme Slavic god. He is also known as Perun the Thunderer. It is depicted as an old man with a copper beard driving in a war chariot pulled by a capricorn and armed with a hammer.

Saint George

St. George is a Christian saint from the late third century AD. He is one of the most famous Christian martyrs, and his victory over dragon has evolved into many legends and is depicted in countless images and statues.


Between the village of Žrnovnica and the confluence of the river Cetina in Adriatic there is a 17 km long hill Perun with the highest peak of Križ (The Cross) 538 meters high. Due to the lack of vegetation and location along the coast of the Adriatic Sea, it provides one of the most beautiful views in Dalmatia.

The hill represents a tourist attraction because it is crowded with cycling and hiking trails. There is also a mountain shelter on it, and for extreme sports enthusiasts, on the south side is a place for free climbing. Also many of the remains of Illyrian and Antic cultures are scattered on the hill.

Small oak forest exist on the hill, probably the remains od much larger, and since the oak tree is personification of the Perun on Earth is probably one of the reasons why the hill is dedicated to it.


On the hill there are two churches dedicated to the same saint. The newer, located above the village of Gornja Podstrana, was probably built after the inhabitants of that area had to escape before the conquerors and they settled there.

However, the more interesting and older church of St. George is located above the quarry on the west side of the hill.

That church is ancient. It is located at the height and was built before the X. century AD. and is miniature in a dimension, only 6 x 4 meters. It is very simple construction of roughly trimmed stone probably taken from nearby Illyrian ruins. Inside there is only a small stone altar and a wooden cross

Interestingly, it is not like most Christian sacral objects oriented towards the Sun in the east – west direction, but at the point where the largest full moon is displayed that is only seen every 19 years.


So we have a hill dedicated to the old Slavic supreme god and there is a church devoted to one of the most famous Christian saints. Since neither Perun nor St. George are not supporters of ecumenism, it is logical to expect conflict.

The was hill created by nature, and the church was built by people. Perun manages nature forces, and people are trying to resist these forces by their enthusiasm and craftsmanship.

In his anger, because the hill dedicated to him was defiled with the Christian church, Perun sent thunder, rain, and wind to the church, severely damaging it. But when the storm passed, people came back and restored the church. Then Perun sent even stronger forces and crashed the church almost to the ground, but the people did not give up and raised it again. That battle has been going on for centuries. Exposed at the top of the hill to the impact of the thunder, St. George has been constantly damaged and repaired until at last people have given up and left.

Perun won.

For now.

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