Serbian Orthodox Church History
The Serbian Orthodox Church is an autocephalous, or ecclesiastically independent, member of the Orthodox communion, located primarily in Serbia, Montenegro, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia and the Republic of Macedonia. Since many Serbs have emigrated to foreign countries, there are now Serbian Orthodox communities worldwide .
The Serbs were converted to Christianity not long after their arrival in the Balkans, before the Great Schism split the Christian Church into rival Latin-speaking (Roman Catholic) and Greek-speaking Eastern Orthodox Churches. During the early Middle Ages, the religious allegiance of the Serbs was divided between the two churches purchase cialis.
The various Serbian principalities were united ecclesiastically in the early 13th century by Saint Sava, the son of the Serbian ruler and founder of the Serbian medieval state Stefan Nemanja and brother of Stefan Prvovencani, the first Serbian king . Sava persuaded the patriarch of the Eastern Orthodox Church to establish the Church in Serbia as an autocephalous body, with Sava himself as its archbishop, consecrated in 1219.
The status of the Serbian Orthodox Church grew along with the growth in size and prestige of the medieval kingdom of Serbia. When King Stefan Dušan assumed the imperial title of tsar in 1346, the Archbishopric of Pec was correspondingly raised to the rank of Patriarchate. In the century that followed, the Serbian Church achieved its greatest power and prestige cialis price.
The Church itself continued in existence throughout the Ottoman period, though not without some disruption . 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 sultan Suleiman the Magnificent. Macarios, brother of the famous Mehmed Pasha Sokolovic, was elected Patriarch in Peć.
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 .
During this period, many Christians across the Balkans converted to Islam to avoid severe taxes imposed by the Turks in retaliation for uprisings and continued resistance . Many Serbs migrated with their hierarchs to Hapsburg Monarchy where they had been granted autonomy. The seat of the archbishops was moved from Peć to Karlovci. The new Serbian Metropolitanate of Karlovci became a patriarchate in 1848.
The church's close association with Serbian resistance to Ottoman rule led to Serbian Orthodoxy becoming inextricably linked with Serbian national identity and the new Serbian monarchy that emerged from 1815 onwards. The Serbian Orthodox Church in Serbia finally regained its independence and became autocephalous in 1879, the year after the recognition by the Great Powers of Serbia as an independent state . This church was known as the Metropolitanate of Belgrade, thus in the end of the 19th century and beginning of the 20th century, two separate Serbian Orthodox churches existed - the Patriarchate of Karlovci in the Habsburg Monarchy and the Metropolitanate of Belgrade in the Kingdom of Serbia.
During the Second World War the Serbian Orthodox Church suffered severely from persecutions by the occupying powers and the rabidly anti-Serbian Ustaše regime of Croatia, which sought to create a "Croatian Orthodox Church" which Orthodox Serbs were forced to join. Several hundred thousand Serbs were killed during the war; bishops and priests of the Serbian Orthodox Church were singled out for persecution, and many Orthodox churches were damaged or destroyed .
After the war the Church was suppressed by the Communist government of Josip Broz Tito, which viewed it with suspicion due to the Church's links with the exiled Serbian monarchy and the nationalist Chetnik movement. Along with other ecclesiastical institutions of all denominations, the Church was subject to strict controls by the Yugoslav state, which prohibited the teaching of religion in schools, confiscated Church property and discouraged religious activity among the population.
The gradual demise of Yugoslav communism and the rise of rival nationalist movements during the 1980s also led to a marked religious revival throughout Yugoslavia, not least in Serbia. The Serbian Patriarch, Pavle, supported the opposition to Slobodan Milošević in the 1990s.
The eparchies of Bihać-Petrovac, Dabar-Bosnia and Zvornik-Tuzla were also dislocated due to the war in Bosnia and Herzegovina. The eparchy see of Dabar-Bosnia was temporarily moved to Sokolac, and the see of Zvornik-Tuzla to Bijeljina. Over a hundred Church-owned objects in the Zvornik-Tuzla eparchy were destroyed or damaged during the war. Many monasteries and churches in the Zahumlje eparchy were also destroyed. Numerous faithful from these eparchies also became refugees.
By 1998 the situation had stabilized in both countries. Most of the property of the Serb Orthodox Church was again put in normal use, the bishops and priests returned, and that which was destroyed, damaged or vandalized was restored. The process of rebuilding several churches is still under way, notably the cathedral of the Eparchy of Upper Karlovac in Karlovac. The return of the SOC faithful also started, but they are not nearly close to their pre-war numbers, as of 2004. Many Serbian Orthodox churches and monasteries were damaged or destroyed during the 2004 unrest in Kosovo.
Studenica Monastery, 1196
This holy monastery of ours, as you know, was like a deserted hunting ground
of wild beasts. When our load and autocrat Stefan Nemanja, who ruled all
Serbian lands, came to this place to hunt, it pleased him to build, here in
this deserted spot, this monastery for the peaceful life and furthering of
the monastic community."
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