he Serbian Orthodox Church is an autocephalous, or ecclesiastically independent, member of the Orthodox communion, located primarily in Serbia, Montenegro, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Croatia. Since many Serbs have emigrated to foreign countries, now there are now many Serbian Orthodox communities on all continents.Soon after their arrrival to Balkans the Serbian tribes were successively baptised by Christian missionaries and became Orthodox Christians. The consecration of St. Sava as autocephalous Archbishop of Serbia in 1219, even more strengthened various Serbian principalities in their ecclesia- stical allegiance to Constantinople and Christian East. Later, as the medieval kingdom of Serbia grew in size and prestige and Stefan Dusan, king of Serbia from 1331, assumed the imperial title of tsar in 1346 to 1355, the Archbishopric of Pec was correspondingly raised to the rank of Patriarchate. The period before the arrival of the Turks was the time of the greatest flourishing of the Serbian Church. After the final Turkish conquest of the most influental Serbian principality in 1459, the greater portion of Serbian lands became a Turkish pasalik (province). After the death of Patriarch Arsenios II in 1463 a successor was not elected. The Patriarchate was thus de facto abolished, and the Serbian Church passed under the jurisdiction of the Ecumenical Patriarchate. The Serbian Patriarchate was restored in 1557 by the Turkish sultan Suleiman the Magnificent. Macarios, brother of the famous Mehmed Pasha Sokolovic was elected Patriarch in Pec
Metropolitan Amfilohije of Montenegro in front of the coffin with the holy and
incorruptable relics of St. Basil of Ostrog
The restoration of the Patriarchate was of great importance for the Serbs because it helped the spiritual unification of all Serbs in the Turkish Empire. After consequent Serbian uprisals against the Turkish occupators in which the Church had a leading role, the Turks abolished the Patriarchate once again in 1766. The Church remained once more under the jurisdiction of the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople. This period of so called "Phanariots" was a period of great spiritual decline because the Greek bishops had very little understanding for their Serbian flock. This was also the period when great number of Christians converted to Islam to avoid severe taxes imposed by the Turks in retaliation for uprisings and continued resistance. Many Serbs with their hierarchs migrated to Southern Hungary where they had been granted the Church autonomy. The seat of the archbishops was moved from Pec to Karlovci. The Serbian Orthodox Church finally regained its independance and became autocephalous in 1879, the year after the recognition by the Great Powers of Serbia as an independent state. After World War I all the Serbs were united under one ecclesiastical authority, and the Patriarchate was reestablished in 1920 with election of Patriarch Dimitry, the Patriarch's full title being "Archbishop of Pec, Metropolitan of Belgrade and Karlovci, and Patriarch of the Serbs." During the Second World War the Serbian Orthodox Church passed through severe trials in which many bishops, priests and about 700.000 lay Orthodox Christians were killed by Croatian and Moslem fascists. Hundreds of churches were completely destroyed or desecrated. After the Second World War the Church experienced new trials under the communists who prohibited teaching of religion in schools, confiscated the property of the Church and using various overt and covert means of persecution in order to diminish the influence the Church had among the people. It was only after 1989 that the position of the Church has became tolerable, although the Church estastes have not yet been returned to their lawful owners.
Patriarch Paul serving the Divine Liturgy
The supreme authority of the Serbian Church, the Holy Synod, is composed of all its bishops, who meet once a year in May. There is also a standing Synod of four members who administer the day-to-day affairs of the church, which is estimated to number some nine million faithful.
of the Serbian Orthodox Church - Official Site of the Patriarchate
SERBIAN CHURCH IN HISTORY By Very Reverend Dr. Radomir Popovic. A detailed survey of the history of the Serbian Orthodox Church with catalogues of Saints, Archbishops and Patriarchs
Biografies of some Serb Orthodox Hierarchs
Kosovo in the History of the Serbian People by Veselin Kesich - an essay which explains what is the place of Kosovo in the history of the Serbs and why is it so important for them
of Serbian Orthodoxy - in this text Fr. Dosenovic speaks of
some most important characteristics of Orthodox tradition in the Serbian
Special petitions used in the Serbian Orthodox Church in the times of persecution and suffering
The Serbian Church During the Years of Kosovo Hardships - A text by Dimitrije Bogdanovic focusing on the suffering of the Serb Orthodox Church amidst the century long conflict between Serbs and Albanians in Kosovo.
with the Patriarch Pavle Wisdom will
preserve us from wolves, and kindness will prevent us from turning
into wolves December 27, 1999
of External Affairs - Serbian Orthodox Church in US and Canada
History of Serbia and Montenegro
OF THE SERBIAN ORTHODOX CHURCH TO WAR AND MILOSEVIC
Easter Proclamation of Bishop Artemije, March 27, 1999 Condemnation of ethnic violence and NATO bombing
Learn more about the great martyrdom of the Serbian Orthodox people in World War II - More than 700.000 new martyrs slain only because they were Orthodox Serbs
The Suffering and Martyrdom of the Serbs in Croatia under the Croatian Ustashi fascist regime in WW2. Exibition in the Museum of Holocaust, Washington D.C.
WW2 Genocide - Albanian SS Skenderbey Division
Destruction of the Serbian Orthodox Heritage in Croatia
L I N K S
The Serbian Orthodox Church Diocese of Western America, US
The Serbian Orthodox Diocese of Nova Gracanica, US
Serbian churches around the world
Serbian Orthodox Theological Faculty in Belgrade
St. Sava Youth Community, Archdiocese of Belgrade
Monasteries of the Diocese of Raska and Prizren (Kosovo and Metohija)
KOSOVO - THE LAND OF THE LIVNIG PAST