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Serbian Orthodox Church

Serbian Orthodox Church

Overview
The Serbian Orthodox Church is one of the autocephalous
Autocephaly
Autocephaly , in hierarchical Christian churches and especially Eastern Orthodox and Oriental Orthodox churches, is the status of a hierarchical church whose head bishop does not report to any higher-ranking bishop...

 Orthodox Christian churches
Eastern Orthodox Church organization
This article covers the organization of the Eastern Orthodox Churches rather than the doctrines, traditions, practices, or other aspects of Eastern Orthodoxy...

, ranking sixth in order of seniority after Constantinople, Alexandria, Antioch
Church of Antioch
The Church of Antioch is one of the five major churches that composed the Christian Church before the East-West Schism.-History:...

, Jerusalem
Orthodox Church of Jerusalem
The Greek Orthodox Church of Jerusalem , also known as the Orthodox Patriarchate of Jerusalem, is an autocephalous Orthodox Church within the wider communion of Orthodox Christianity. Headed by the Patriarch of Jerusalem, it is regarded by Orthodox Christians as the mother church of all of...

, and Russia
Russian Orthodox Church
The Russian Orthodox Church or, alternatively, the Moscow Patriarchate The ROC is often said to be the largest of the Eastern Orthodox churches in the world; including all the autocephalous churches under its umbrella, its adherents number over 150 million worldwide—about half of the 300 million...

. It is the second oldest Slavic
Slavic peoples
The Slavic people are an Indo-European panethnicity living in Eastern Europe, Southeast Europe, North Asia and Central Asia. The term Slavic represents a broad ethno-linguistic group of people, who speak languages belonging to the Slavic language family and share, to varying degrees, certain...

 Orthodox Church in the world (after the Bulgarian Orthodox Church
Bulgarian Orthodox Church
The Bulgarian Orthodox Church - Bulgarian Patriarchate is an autocephalous Eastern Orthodox Church with some 6.5 million members in the Republic of Bulgaria and between 1.5 and 2.0 million members in a number of European countries, the Americas and Australia...

).

The Serbian Orthodox Church is the dominant church in Serbia
Serbia
Serbia , officially the Republic of Serbia , is a landlocked country located at the crossroads of Central and Southeast Europe, covering the southern part of the Carpathian basin and the central part of the Balkans...

, Montenegro
Montenegro
Montenegro Montenegrin: Crna Gora Црна Гора , meaning "Black Mountain") is a country located in Southeastern Europe. It has a coast on the Adriatic Sea to the south-west and is bordered by Croatia to the west, Bosnia and Herzegovina to the northwest, Serbia to the northeast and Albania to the...

 and Republika Srpska
Republika Srpska
Republika Srpska is one of two main political entities of Bosnia and Herzegovina, the other being the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina...

 entity of Bosnia and Herzegovina
Bosnia and Herzegovina
Bosnia and Herzegovina , sometimes called Bosnia-Herzegovina or simply Bosnia, is a country in Southern Europe, on the Balkan Peninsula. Bordered by Croatia to the north, west and south, Serbia to the east, and Montenegro to the southeast, Bosnia and Herzegovina is almost landlocked, except for the...

, with more than 84% of the population being adherents in all three. It is organized into metropolis
Metropolis (religious jurisdiction)
A metropolis is a see or city whose bishop is the metropolitan of a province. Metropolises, historically, have been important cities in their provinces....

es and eparchies located primarily in Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro and Croatia
Croatia
Croatia , officially the Republic of Croatia , is a unitary democratic parliamentary republic in Europe at the crossroads of the Mitteleuropa, the Balkans, and the Mediterranean. Its capital and largest city is Zagreb. The country is divided into 20 counties and the city of Zagreb. Croatia covers ...

, but also in surrounding countries, and all over the world.
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Unanswered Questions
Encyclopedia
The Serbian Orthodox Church is one of the autocephalous
Autocephaly
Autocephaly , in hierarchical Christian churches and especially Eastern Orthodox and Oriental Orthodox churches, is the status of a hierarchical church whose head bishop does not report to any higher-ranking bishop...

 Orthodox Christian churches
Eastern Orthodox Church organization
This article covers the organization of the Eastern Orthodox Churches rather than the doctrines, traditions, practices, or other aspects of Eastern Orthodoxy...

, ranking sixth in order of seniority after Constantinople, Alexandria, Antioch
Church of Antioch
The Church of Antioch is one of the five major churches that composed the Christian Church before the East-West Schism.-History:...

, Jerusalem
Orthodox Church of Jerusalem
The Greek Orthodox Church of Jerusalem , also known as the Orthodox Patriarchate of Jerusalem, is an autocephalous Orthodox Church within the wider communion of Orthodox Christianity. Headed by the Patriarch of Jerusalem, it is regarded by Orthodox Christians as the mother church of all of...

, and Russia
Russian Orthodox Church
The Russian Orthodox Church or, alternatively, the Moscow Patriarchate The ROC is often said to be the largest of the Eastern Orthodox churches in the world; including all the autocephalous churches under its umbrella, its adherents number over 150 million worldwide—about half of the 300 million...

. It is the second oldest Slavic
Slavic peoples
The Slavic people are an Indo-European panethnicity living in Eastern Europe, Southeast Europe, North Asia and Central Asia. The term Slavic represents a broad ethno-linguistic group of people, who speak languages belonging to the Slavic language family and share, to varying degrees, certain...

 Orthodox Church in the world (after the Bulgarian Orthodox Church
Bulgarian Orthodox Church
The Bulgarian Orthodox Church - Bulgarian Patriarchate is an autocephalous Eastern Orthodox Church with some 6.5 million members in the Republic of Bulgaria and between 1.5 and 2.0 million members in a number of European countries, the Americas and Australia...

).

The Serbian Orthodox Church is the dominant church in Serbia
Serbia
Serbia , officially the Republic of Serbia , is a landlocked country located at the crossroads of Central and Southeast Europe, covering the southern part of the Carpathian basin and the central part of the Balkans...

, Montenegro
Montenegro
Montenegro Montenegrin: Crna Gora Црна Гора , meaning "Black Mountain") is a country located in Southeastern Europe. It has a coast on the Adriatic Sea to the south-west and is bordered by Croatia to the west, Bosnia and Herzegovina to the northwest, Serbia to the northeast and Albania to the...

 and Republika Srpska
Republika Srpska
Republika Srpska is one of two main political entities of Bosnia and Herzegovina, the other being the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina...

 entity of Bosnia and Herzegovina
Bosnia and Herzegovina
Bosnia and Herzegovina , sometimes called Bosnia-Herzegovina or simply Bosnia, is a country in Southern Europe, on the Balkan Peninsula. Bordered by Croatia to the north, west and south, Serbia to the east, and Montenegro to the southeast, Bosnia and Herzegovina is almost landlocked, except for the...

, with more than 84% of the population being adherents in all three. It is organized into metropolis
Metropolis (religious jurisdiction)
A metropolis is a see or city whose bishop is the metropolitan of a province. Metropolises, historically, have been important cities in their provinces....

es and eparchies located primarily in Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro and Croatia
Croatia
Croatia , officially the Republic of Croatia , is a unitary democratic parliamentary republic in Europe at the crossroads of the Mitteleuropa, the Balkans, and the Mediterranean. Its capital and largest city is Zagreb. The country is divided into 20 counties and the city of Zagreb. Croatia covers ...

, but also in surrounding countries, and all over the world. Since many Serbs have emigrated to foreign countries, there are now Serbian Orthodox communities worldwide.

The Serbian Orthodox Church is an autocephalous, or ecclesiastically independent, member of the Orthodox communion. The Patriarch of Serbia
Patriarch of Serbia
This is a list of the Archbishops and Patriarchs of Peć and the Serbs from the creation of the church as an archdiocese in 1219 to today's Patriarchate. The list includes all the Archbishops and Patriarchs that led the Serbian Orthodox community under Patriarchate of Peć...

 serves as first among equals in his church; The current patriarch is His Holiness Irinej. The Church achieved autocephalous status in 1219 under the leadership of St. Sava, becoming independent Archeparchy of Žiča. Its status was elevated to that of a patriarchate
Patriarchate
A patriarchate is the office or jurisdiction of a patriarch. A patriarch, as the term is used here, is either* one of the highest-ranking bishops in Eastern Orthodoxy, earlier, the five that were included in the Pentarchy: Rome, Constantinople, Alexandria, Antioch, and Jerusalem, but now nine,...

 in 14th century, and was known afterwards as the Patriarchate of Peć
Patriarchate of Pec
The Patriarchate of Peć is a Serbian Orthodox monastery located near Peć. The complex of churches is the spiritual seat and mausoleum of the Serbian archbishops and patriarchs....

. This patriarchate was abolished by the Ottoman Turks
Ottoman Turks
The Ottoman Turks were the Turkish-speaking population of the Ottoman Empire who formed the base of the state's military and ruling classes. Reliable information about the early history of Ottoman Turks is scarce, but they take their Turkish name, Osmanlı , from the house of Osman I The Ottoman...

 in the 18th century. The modern Serbian Orthodox Church was established in 1920 after the unification of the Patriarchate of Karlovci
Patriarchate of Karlovci
The Patriarchate of Karlovci was a patriarchate of the Orthodox Church that existed between 1848 and 1920. It was formed in 1848, when former Metropolitanate of Karlovci was elevated to the rank of patriarchate. The Patriarchate of Karlovci existed until 1920, when it was merged with...

 and the Metropolitanate of Belgrade
Metropolitanate of Belgrade
The Metropolitanate of Belgrade was a metropolitanate of the Orthodox Church that existed between 1766 and 1920. It was formed in 1766, when Patriarchate of Peć was abolished by the Ottoman Empire. The Metropolitanate of Belgrade existed until 1920, when it was merged with Patriarchate of Karlovci...

.

The Serbian Orthodox Church owns many significant Christian relic
Relic
In religion, a relic is a part of the body of a saint or a venerated person, or else another type of ancient religious object, carefully preserved for purposes of veneration or as a tangible memorial...

s, such as the right hand of John the Baptist
John the Baptist
John the Baptist was an itinerant preacher and a major religious figure mentioned in the Canonical gospels. He is described in the Gospel of Luke as a relative of Jesus, who led a movement of baptism at the Jordan River...

, Saint George
Saint George
Saint George was, according to tradition, a Roman soldier from Syria Palaestina and a priest in the Guard of Diocletian, who is venerated as a Christian martyr. In hagiography Saint George is one of the most venerated saints in the Catholic , Anglican, Eastern Orthodox, and the Oriental Orthodox...

's hand and skull parts, Holy Cross
True Cross
The True Cross is the name for physical remnants which, by a Christian tradition, are believed to be from the cross upon which Jesus was crucified.According to post-Nicene historians, Socrates Scholasticus and others, the Empress Helena The True Cross is the name for physical remnants which, by a...

 segments, St. Paraskevi
Parascheva of the Balkans
Saint Parascheva of the Balkans was an ascetic female saint of the 11th century...

's finger and body of St. Basil of Ostrog, among others.

Early Christianity


The Saints Florus and Laurus
Florus and Laurus
Saints Florus and Laurus are venerated as Christian martyrs of the 2nd century. According to a Greek tale, they were twin brothers who worked as stonemasons...

 are venerated as Christian martyrs of the 2nd century, they were murdered along with 300 christians in Lipljan. Roman Emperor
Roman Emperor
The Roman emperor was the ruler of the Roman State during the imperial period . The Romans had no single term for the office although at any given time, a given title was associated with the emperor...

 Constantine the Great (306-337), born in Niš
Niš
Niš is the largest city of southern Serbia and third-largest city in Serbia . According to the data from 2011, the city of Niš has a population of 177,972 inhabitants, while the city municipality has a population of 257,867. The city covers an area of about 597 km2, including the urban area,...

, was the first Christian emperor, he issued the Edict of Milan
Edict of Milan
The Edict of Milan was a letter signed by emperors Constantine I and Licinius that proclaimed religious toleration in the Roman Empire...

 (313) which proclaimed religious tolerance of all religions throughout the empire (see Constantine the Great and Christianity).

Among old Christian heritage is the Archbishopric of Justiniana Prima
Archbishopric of Justiniana Prima
Archbishopric of Justiniana Prima was an Eastern Christian archbishopric established in 535 AD by Emperor Justinian I, in his home-town of Justiniana Prima ....

. It had the whole of present-day Serbia under its jurisdiction, and was formed in 535 AD. However, the Archbishopric did not last, as the Slavs and Avars
Eurasian Avars
The Eurasian Avars or Ancient Avars were a highly organized nomadic confederacy of mixed origins. They were ruled by a khagan, who was surrounded by a tight-knit entourage of nomad warriors, an organization characteristic of Turko-Mongol groups...

 destroyed it sometime after 602, when the last mention is made of it.
The Serbs
Serbs
The Serbs are a South Slavic ethnic group of the Balkans and southern Central Europe. Serbs are located mainly in Serbia, Montenegro and Bosnia and Herzegovina, and form a sizable minority in Croatia, the Republic of Macedonia and Slovenia. Likewise, Serbs are an officially recognized minority in...

 came into contact with Christendom during the reign of Emperor Heraclius
Heraclius
Heraclius was Byzantine Emperor from 610 to 641.He was responsible for introducing Greek as the empire's official language. His rise to power began in 608, when he and his father, Heraclius the Elder, the exarch of Africa, successfully led a revolt against the unpopular usurper Phocas.Heraclius'...

 (r. 610–641), when "elders of Rome
Rome
Rome is the capital of Italy and the country's largest and most populated city and comune, with over 2.7 million residents in . The city is located in the central-western portion of the Italian Peninsula, on the Tiber River within the Lazio region of Italy.Rome's history spans two and a half...

", according to Constantine Porphyrogenitus in his annals (r. 913–959), baptized and expounded the faith of Christians to the Serbs. This would have taken place during the Byzantine Papacy
Byzantine Papacy
The Byzantine Papacy was a period of Byzantine domination of the papacy from 537 to 752, when popes required the approval of the Byzantine Emperor for episcopal consecration, and many popes were chosen from the apocrisiarii or the inhabitants of Byzantine Greece, Byzantine Syria, or Byzantine Sicily...

 (Greek popes during the years 678–752).

During the rule of Constans II
Constans II
Constans II , also called Constantine the Bearded , was Byzantine emperor from 641 to 668. He also was the last emperor to become consul in 642, becoming the last Roman consul in history....

 (641–668), Serbs (Slavs) were resettled in Asia Minor
Asia Minor
Asia Minor is a geographical location at the westernmost protrusion of Asia, also called Anatolia, and corresponds to the western two thirds of the Asian part of Turkey...

 (in ca 649 or 667) from the areas "around the river Vardar
Vardar
The Vardar or Axios is the longest and major river in the Republic of Macedonia and also a major river of Greece. It is long, and drains an area of around . The maximum depth of river is ....

" to the city of Gordoservon
Gordoservon
In records from Bithynia in the year 680, the city of Gordoservon or Gordoserbon was a Byzantine city inhabited by Serbs. The name is derived from the Serbs that resettled in Asia Minor by Byzantine Emperor Constans II , who came from the areas "around the river Vardar"...

 (Serb habitat). Isidore, the "Bishop of Gordoservon" is mentioned in 680, the fact that it was an episcopal seat gives ground to the thesis that it had a large Serbian population.

In 731 or 733 or by 740, Leo III
Leo III the Isaurian
Leo III the Isaurian or the Syrian , was Byzantine emperor from 717 until his death in 741...

 attaches Illyricum
Illyricum (Roman province)
The Roman province of Illyricum or Illyris Romana or Illyris Barbara or Illyria Barbara replaced most of the region of Illyria. It stretched from the Drilon river in modern north Albania to Istria in the west and to the Sava river in the north. Salona functioned as its capital...

 and Southern Italy (Sicily and Calabria) to Patriarch Anastasius of Constantinople
Patriarch Anastasius of Constantinople
Anastasios was the patriarch of Constantinople from 730 to 754. The patriarchate of Constantinople is a high position in the eastern branch of Christianity. He succeeded Germanos I . Anastasios was heavily involved in the controversy over icons . His opinion of icons changed twice...

, transferring the papal authority to the Eastern Church.

Notable early church buildings include the monastery of Archangel Michael in Prevlaka (Ilovica), built in the beginning of the 9th century, on the location of older churches of three-nave structure with three apses to the East, dating from the 3rd and 6th centuries, Bogorodica Hvostanska (6th century) and Church of Saints Peter and Paul.

Establishment of eparchies (870-1018)


The establishment of Christianity as state-religion dates to the time of Prince Mutimir
Mutimir of Serbia
Mutimir of Serbia was Prince of the Serbs from ca 850 until 891. He defeated the Bulgar Army, allied himself with the Byzantine Emperor and ruled the First Serbian Principality when the Christianization of the Serbs took place and the Eparchy of Ras was established.He was the eldest son of Knez...

 and Byzantine Emperor Basil I
Basil I
Basil I, called the Macedonian was a Byzantine emperor of probable Armenian descent who reigned from 867 to 886. Born a simple peasant in the Byzantine theme of Macedonia, he rose in the imperial court, and usurped the imperial throne from Emperor Michael III...

 (r. 867–886), who, after managing to put the Serbs under his nominal rule, sends priests together with admiral Niketas Ooryphas, before the operations against the Saracens in 869 when Dalmatian fleets were sent to defend the town of Ragusa).

The Christianization was due partly to Byzantine and subsequent Bulgarian influence. It is important to note that at least during the rule of Kotsel of Pannonia (861-874), communications between Serbia and Great Moravia must have been possible. This fact, the pope was presumably aware of, when planning Methodios' diocese as well as the Dalmatian coast, which was in Byzantine hands as far north as Split. There is a possibility that some Cyrillomethodian pupils reached Serbia in the 870s, perhaps even sent by Methodius himself. Serbia is accounted Christian as of about 870.

The first Serbian bishopric was founded at the political center at Ras, near modern Novi Pazar
Novi Pazar
Novi Pazar is a city and municipality located in southwest Serbia, in the Raška District. According to the official census in 2011, number of inhabitants of municipality is 92,776, while the city itself has a population of 60,638...

 on the Ibar river
Ibar River
The Ibar is a river that flows through eastern Montenegro and Serbia, with a total length of . The river begins in the Hajla mountain, eastern Montenegro, passes through Kosovo and flows into the West Morava river, Central Serbia, near Kraljevo....

. The initial affiliation is uncertain, it may have been under the subordination of either Split or Durazzo, both then Byzantine. The early church of Saint Apostles Peter and Paul at Ras, can be dated to the 9th-10th century, with the rotunda plan characteristic of first court chapels. The bishopric was established shortly after 871, during the rule of Mutimir, and was part of the general plan of establishing bishoprics in the Slav lands of the Empire, confirmed by the Council of Constantinople in 879-880. The Eparchy of Braničevo
Eparchy of Braničevo
Eparchy of Braničevo is one of the eparchies of the Serbian Orthodox Church, with the seat at Braničevo, Serbia.-History:It is mentioned for the first time in 878 as a bishopric...

 was founded in 878 (as continuation of Viminacium and Horreum Margi).
The seal of Strojimir (died between 880–896), the brother of Mutimir, was bought by the Serbian state in an auction in Germany. The seal has a Patriarchal cross
Patriarchal cross
The Patriarchal cross is a variant of the Christian cross, the religious symbol of Christianity. Similar to the familiar Latin cross, the Patriarchal cross possesses a smaller crossbar placed above the main one, so that both crossbars are near the top. Sometimes the patriarchal cross has a short,...

 in the center and Greek inscriptions that say: "God, help Strojimir (CTPOHMIP)".

Petar Gojniković (r. 892-917), was evidently a Christian prince. Christianity presumably was spreading in his time, also since Serbia bordered Bulgaria, Christian influences and perhaps missionairies came from there. This would increase in the twenty-year peace. The previous generation (Mutimir, Strojimir
Strojimir
Strojimir Vlastimirović or Strojimir of Serbia was the co-ruler of the Serbian Principality alongside his two brothers Mutimir and Gojnik, from ca 851 to his and Gojnik's deposition in the 880s after an unsuccessful coup against the eldest Prince Mutimir .He was a younger son of Vlastimir, Knez of...

 and Gojnik
Gojnik
Gojnik Vlastimirović or Gojnik of Serbia was a Serbian Župan who was subject to his elder brother Mutimir, the Grand Župan of the Serbian lands from ca. 850-860 with his brother Strojimir...

) had Slav names, the following (Petar, Stefan
Stefan Mutimirović
Stefan Mutimirović was a 9th century Serbian royal member of the ruling dynasty, the Vlastimirović.He was the younger son of Mutimir of the ruling Serbian dynasty, the Vlastimirovići. His father had with his brothers Strojimir and Gojnik, defeated the Bulgar Army sent by Tsar Boris, led by his son...

, Pavle, Zaharija) has Christian names, a notice of strong Byzantine missions to Serbia, as well as to the Slavs of the Adriatic coast, in the 870s.

The Bulgarian annexation of Serbia in 924 was important for the future direction of the Serbian church. By now, at latest, Serbia must have received the Cyrillic alphabet and Slavic religious text, already familiar but perhaps not yet preferred to Greek.

Archbishopric of Ochrid (1018-1219)


In 1018/9, the Archbishopric of Ohrid is formed after the Byzantines conquers the First Bulgarian Empire
First Bulgarian Empire
The First Bulgarian Empire was a medieval Bulgarian state founded in the north-eastern Balkans in c. 680 by the Bulgars, uniting with seven South Slavic tribes...

. The Greek language replaces the Slavic. Serbia is ecclesiastically administered into several dioceses; The Diocese of Ras, mentioned in the first charter of Basil II (r. 976–1025), becomes part of the Ohrid archbishopric and encompassed the areas of southern Serbia, by the rivers Raska, Ibar and Lim, evident in the second charter of Basil II . Among the first bishops are Leontius (fl. 1123-1126), Cyril (fl. 1141–1143), Euthemius (fl. 1170) and Kalinik (fl. 1196). It joined the autocephalous Archbishopric of Zica in 1219, at the time of Saint Sava.

In the chrysobulls of Basil II dated to 1020, the Ras bishopric is mentioned as serving the whole of Serbia
Serbia
Serbia , officially the Republic of Serbia , is a landlocked country located at the crossroads of Central and Southeast Europe, covering the southern part of the Carpathian basin and the central part of the Balkans...

, with the seat at the Church of Saint Apostles Peter and Paul.

The 10th- or 11th-century Gospel Book Codex Marianus
Codex Marianus
The Codex Marianus ) is a Glagolitic fourfold Gospel Book from the beginning of eleventh century , which is , one of the oldest manuscript witnesses to the Old Church Slavonic language, one of the two fourfold gospels being part of the Old Church Slavonic canon, which contains a parts written by...

, written in Old Church Slavonic
Old Church Slavonic
Old Church Slavonic or Old Church Slavic was the first literary Slavic language, first developed by the 9th century Byzantine Greek missionaries Saints Cyril and Methodius who were credited with standardizing the language and using it for translating the Bible and other Ancient Greek...

 in the Glagolithic script, is one of the oldest known Slavic manuscripts and was partly written in the Old Serbian
Old Church Slavonic
Old Church Slavonic or Old Church Slavic was the first literary Slavic language, first developed by the 9th century Byzantine Greek missionaries Saints Cyril and Methodius who were credited with standardizing the language and using it for translating the Bible and other Ancient Greek...

-redaction. Other early manuscripts include 11th-century Grškovićev odlomak Apostola and Mihanovićev odlomak.

Autocephaly and first Archbishop Sava


In the autumn of 1192 (or shortly thereafter), Rastko Nemanjić, the former Grand Prince of Hum under his father Stefan Nemanja
Stefan Nemanja
Stefan Nemanja was the Grand Prince of the Grand Principality of Serbia from 1166 to 1196, a heir of the Vukanović dynasty that marked the beginning of a greater Serbian realm .He is remembered for his contributions to Serbian culture and...

, joined Russian monk, giving alms
Alms
Alms or almsgiving is a religious rite which, in general, involves giving materially to another as an act of religious virtue.It exists in a number of religions. In Philippine Regions, alms are given as charity to benefit the poor. In Buddhism, alms are given by lay people to monks and nuns to...

 to the St. Panteleimon monastery of Mount Athos
Mount Athos
Mount Athos is a mountain and peninsula in Macedonia, Greece. A World Heritage Site, it is home to 20 Eastern Orthodox monasteries and forms a self-governed monastic state within the sovereignty of the Hellenic Republic. Spiritually, Mount Athos comes under the direct jurisdiction of the...

, where he was given the monastic name of Sava (Sabbas
Sabbas
Sabbas is the name of a number of Christian saints:* Sabbas the Sanctified - Palestinian Monastic* Sabbas the Goth martyred 12 April, 372, by being drowned in the Musaeus, a tributary of the Danube...

). They did not stay long, leaving for the Greek Vatopedi
Vatopedi
The Holy and Great Monastery of Vatopedi on Mount Athos, Greece, was built during the second half of the 10th century by three monks, Athanasius, Nicholas, and Antonius, from Adrianople, who were disciples of Athanasius the Athonite...

. His father later joined him, coming to Mount Athos
Mount Athos
Mount Athos is a mountain and peninsula in Macedonia, Greece. A World Heritage Site, it is home to 20 Eastern Orthodox monasteries and forms a self-governed monastic state within the sovereignty of the Hellenic Republic. Spiritually, Mount Athos comes under the direct jurisdiction of the...

 on March 25, 1195, and taking monastic vows under the name Simeon. Father and son asked of the Holy Community that the Serbian religious centre be founded at the abandoned site of Hilandar
Hilandar
Hilandar Monastery is a Serbian Orthodox monastery on Mount Athos in Greece. It was founded in 1198 by the first Serbian Archbishop Saint Sava and his father, Grand Prince Stefan Nemanja of the medieval Serbian principality of Raška...

, which they renovated, marking the beginning of a renaissance (in arts, literature
Serbian literature
Serbian literature refers to literature written in Serbian and/or in Serbia.The history of Serbian literature begins with theological works from the 10th- and 11th centuries, developing in the 13th century by Saint Sava and his disciples...

 and religion
Religion in Serbia
Serbia is a multi-religious country. The dominant religion is Orthodox Christianity , but there are also some adherents of Islam , and Catholic Christianity , as well as adherents of other...

). Sava's father died at Hilandar on February 13, 1199, and was canonised as Saint Simeon
Stefan Nemanja
Stefan Nemanja was the Grand Prince of the Grand Principality of Serbia from 1166 to 1196, a heir of the Vukanović dynasty that marked the beginning of a greater Serbian realm .He is remembered for his contributions to Serbian culture and...

. Sava built a church and cell at Karyes
Karyes (Athos)
Karyes is a settlement in Mount Athos. It is the seat of the clerical and secular administration of the Athonite monastic state. The 2001 Greek census reported a population of 233 inhabitants...

, where he stayed for some years, becoming a Hieromonk
Hieromonk
Hieromonk , also called a Priestmonk, is a monk who is also a priest in the Orthodox Church and Eastern Catholicism....

, then an Archimandrite
Archimandrite
The title Archimandrite , primarily used in the Eastern Orthodox and the Eastern Catholic churches, originally referred to a superior abbot whom a bishop appointed to supervise...

 in 1201. He wrote the Karyes Typicon
Karyes Typicon
The Karyes Typicon or Typicon of Saint Sava is a 12th-century Serbian Orthodox typicon written in 1199 by Saint Sava , the first "Archbishop of the Serbs" , the youngest son of Serbian Grand Prince Stefan Nemanja The Karyes Typicon or Typicon of Saint Sava is a 12th-century Serbian Orthodox...

 during his stay there, and a marble inscription of his work still exists.

He returned to Serbia in 1207, taking with him the remains of his father, which he interred at the Studenica monastery
Studenica monastery
The Studenica monastery is a 12th-century Serbian Orthodox monastery situated 39 km southwest of Kraljevo, in central Serbia. It is one of the largest and richest Serb Orthodox monasteries....

, after reconciling Stefan II with Vukan, who had earlier been involved in a succession feud (civil war). Stefan II asked him to remain in Serbia with his clerics, which he did, providing widespread pastoral care and education to the people of Serbia. He founded several churches and monasteries, among them the Žiča monastery. Sava brought the regal crown from Rome, crowning his older brother "King of All Serbia" in the Žiča monastery in 1217.

Sava returned to the Holy Mountain in 1217/18, marking the beginning of the real formation of the Serbian Church. He was consecrated in 1219 as the first Archbishop of the Serbian church, and was given autocephaly by Patriarch Manuel I of Constantinople
Patriarch Manuel I of Constantinople
Manuel I, surnamed Sarantenos or Charitopoulos , was Patriarch of Constantinople from December 1216 or January [1217] to [1222. He seems to have been called "the Philosopher": George Akropolites says he was "a philosopher, it seems, in deed, and so named by the people." Manuel was...

, who was then in exile at Nicaea. In the same year Sava published Zakonopravilo
Zakonopravilo
The Nomocanon of Saint Sava was the first Serbian constitution and the highest code in the Serbian Orthodox Church, finished in 1219. This legal act was well developed. St...

 (St. Sava's Nomocanon). Thus the Serbs acquired both forms of independence: political and religious. After this, in Serbia, he stayed in Studenica and continued to educate the Serbian people i their faith, and later he called for a council outlawing the Bogomils, who were regarded heretics. Sava appointed protobishops, sending them over all of Serbia to conduct baptisms, marriages etc.. To maintain his standing as the religious and social leader, he continued to travel among the monasteries and lands to educate the people. In 1221 a synod was held in the Žiča monastery, condemning Bogomilism
Bogomilism
Bogomilism was a Gnostic religiopolitical sect founded in the First Bulgarian Empire by the priest Bogomil during the reign of Tsar Petar I in the 10th century...

.
In 1229/1233, he went on a pilgrimage to Palestine
Palestine
Palestine is a conventional name, among others, used to describe the geographic region between the Mediterranean Sea and the Jordan River, and various adjoining lands....

 and in Jerusalem he met with Patriarch Athanasios II. Sava saw Bethlehem
Bethlehem
Bethlehem is a Palestinian city in the central West Bank of the Jordan River, near Israel and approximately south of Jerusalem, with a population of about 30,000 people. It is the capital of the Bethlehem Governorate of the Palestinian National Authority and a hub of Palestinian culture and tourism...

 where Jesus
Jesus
Jesus of Nazareth , commonly referred to as Jesus Christ or simply as Jesus or Christ, is the central figure of Christianity...

 was born, the Jordan River where Christ
Christ
Christ is the English term for the Greek meaning "the anointed one". It is a translation of the Hebrew , usually transliterated into English as Messiah or Mashiach...

 was baptised, and the Great Lavra
Great Lavra
This is the monastery on Mount Athos. For the monastery associated with Saint Sabbas, see Mar Saba.The Monastery of Great Lavra is the first monastery built on Mount Athos. It is located on the southeastern foot of the Mount at an elevation of 160 metres...

 of Saint Sabbas the Sanctified
Sabbas the Sanctified
Saint Sabbas the Sanctified , a Cappadocian-Greek monk, priest and saint, lived mainly in Palaestina Prima. He was the founder of several monasteries, most notably the one known as Mar Saba...

 (Mar Saba monastery). Sava asked Athanasios II, his host, and the Great Lavra fraternity, led by hegoumenos Nicolas, if he could purchase two monasteries in the Holy Land
Holy Land
The Holy Land is a term which in Judaism refers to the Kingdom of Israel as defined in the Tanakh. For Jews, the Land's identifiction of being Holy is defined in Judaism by its differentiation from other lands by virtue of the practice of Judaism often possible only in the Land of Israel...

. His request was accepted and he was offered the monasteries of Saint John the Theologian on Mount Sion
Mount Sion
Mount Sion is a Gaelic Athletic Association club located in Waterford City, County Waterford, Ireland, founded by Brs O'Connor and Malone, teachers in the above school...

 and St. George's Monastery
St. George's Monastery
St. George Orthodox Monastery, or Monastery of St. George of Koziba is a monastery located in Wadi Qelt, in the eastern West Bank, . The sixth-century cliff-hanging complex, with its ancient chapel and gardens, is active and inhabited by Greek Orthodox monks. It is reached by a pedestrian bridge...

 on Akona, both to be inhabited by Serbian monks. The icon Trojerucica
Trojerucica
Bogorodica Trojeručica or simply Trojeručica is a famous wonderworking icon in the Serb Orthodox monastery of Hilandar on Mount Athos, Greece...

 (Three-handed Theotokos), a gift to the Great Lavra from St. John Damascene, was given to Sava and he, in turn, bequethed it to Hilandar
Hilandar
Hilandar Monastery is a Serbian Orthodox monastery on Mount Athos in Greece. It was founded in 1198 by the first Serbian Archbishop Saint Sava and his father, Grand Prince Stefan Nemanja of the medieval Serbian principality of Raška...

.

Sava died in Trnovo
Veliko Tarnovo
Veliko Tarnovo is a city in north central Bulgaria and the administrative centre of Veliko Tarnovo Province. Often referred to as the "City of the Tsars", Veliko Tarnovo is located on the Yantra River and is famous as the historical capital of the Second Bulgarian Empire, attracting many tourists...

, capital of the Second Bulgarian Empire
Second Bulgarian Empire
The Second Bulgarian Empire was a medieval Bulgarian state which existed between 1185 and 1396 . A successor of the First Bulgarian Empire, it reached the peak of its power under Kaloyan and Ivan Asen II before gradually being conquered by the Ottomans in the late 14th-early 15th century...

, during the reign of Ivan Asen II of Bulgaria
Ivan Asen II of Bulgaria
-Early rule:He was a son of Ivan Asen I of Bulgaria and Elena . Elena, who survived until after 1235, is sometimes alleged to be a daughter of Stefan Nemanja of Serbia, but this relationship is questionable and would have caused various canonical impediments to marriages between various descendants...

. According to his Life
Life
Life is a characteristic that distinguishes objects that have signaling and self-sustaining processes from those that do not, either because such functions have ceased , or else because they lack such functions and are classified as inanimate...

, he fell ill following the Divine Liturgy
Divine Liturgy
Divine Liturgy is the common term for the Eucharistic service of the Byzantine tradition of Christian liturgy. As such, it is used in the Eastern Orthodox and Eastern Catholic Churches. Armenian Christians, both of the Armenian Apostolic Church and of the Armenian Catholic Church, use the same term...

 on the Feast of the Epiphany, 12 January 1235. Sava was visiting Trnovo on his way back from the Holy Land
Holy Land
The Holy Land is a term which in Judaism refers to the Kingdom of Israel as defined in the Tanakh. For Jews, the Land's identifiction of being Holy is defined in Judaism by its differentiation from other lands by virtue of the practice of Judaism often possible only in the Land of Israel...

, where he had founded a hospice
Hospice
Hospice is a type of care and a philosophy of care which focuses on the palliation of a terminally ill patient's symptoms.In the United States and Canada:*Gentiva Health Services, national provider of hospice and home health services...

 for Syrian pilgrims in Jerusalem and arranged for Serbian monks to be welcomed in the established monasteries there. He died of pneumonia
Pneumonia
Pneumonia is an inflammatory condition of the lung—especially affecting the microscopic air sacs —associated with fever, chest symptoms, and a lack of air space on a chest X-ray. Pneumonia is typically caused by an infection but there are a number of other causes...

 in the night between Saturday and Sunday, January 14, 1235, and was buried at the Cathedral of the Holy Forty Martyrs in Trnovo where his body remained until May 6, 1237, when his sacred bones were moved to the monastery Mileševa in southern Serbia.

In 1253 the see was transferred to the Archbishopric of Peć
Patriarchate of Pec
The Patriarchate of Peć is a Serbian Orthodox monastery located near Peć. The complex of churches is the spiritual seat and mausoleum of the Serbian archbishops and patriarchs....

 (future Patriarchate) by Arsenije. The Serbian primates had since moved between the two. Sometime between 1276-1292 the Cumans
Cumans
The Cumans were Turkic nomadic people comprising the western branch of the Cuman-Kipchak confederation. After Mongol invasion , they decided to seek asylum in Hungary, and subsequently to Bulgaria...

 burned the Žiča monastery, and King Stefan Milutin renovated it in 1292-1309, during the office of Jevstatije II. In 1289-1290, the chief treasures of the ruined monastery, including the remains of Saint Jevstatije I
Saint Jevstatije I
Saint Jevstatije I or Eustathius I was the sixth Serbian Archbishop, holding the office from 1279 to 1286.He was born in the Budimlje parish, near Ivangrad. As a young man he took his monastics vows in Zeta, before going to Hilandar monastery, where he later became the hegumen , succeeding...

, were transferred to Peć.

In 1594, the Ottoman Turks unearthed his remains and took the relic to the Vračar hill
Vracar
Vračar is an urban neighborhood and one of 17 municipalities which constitute the City of Belgrade. With an area of only , it is the smallest of all Belgrade's municipalities, but also the most densely populated. Vračar is one of the three municipalities that constitute the central area of the...

 in Belgrade
Belgrade
Belgrade is the capital and largest city of Serbia. It is located at the confluence of the Sava and Danube rivers, where the Pannonian Plain meets the Balkans. According to official results of Census 2011, the city has a population of 1,639,121. It is one of the 15 largest cities in Europe...

 where they were burned by Sinan Pasha
Sinan Pasha
Sinan Pasha or Sinan Pashë Kahremanliu was an Albanian Grand Vizier, Ottoman military commander and statesman.-Life:...

 on a stake to intimidate the Serb people in case of revolts (see Banat Uprising). The Temple of Saint Sava
Temple of Saint Sava
The Cathedral of Saint Sava or Saint Sava Temple in Vračar, Belgrade, is an Orthodox church, the largest in the Balkans, and one of the 10 largest church buildings in the world.. The church is dedicated to Saint Sava, founder of the Serbian Orthodox Church and an important figure in medieval Serbia...

 was built on the place where his remains were burned.http://www.stsavanyc.org/english/e11/stsava.html

The status of the Serbian Orthodox Church grew along with the expansion and heightened prestige of the medieval Kingdom of Serbia
Kingdom of Serbia
The Kingdom of Serbia was created when Prince Milan Obrenović, ruler of the Principality of Serbia, was crowned King in 1882. The Principality of Serbia was ruled by the Karađorđevic dynasty from 1817 onwards . The Principality, suzerain to the Porte, had expelled all Ottoman troops by 1867, de...

. After King Stefan Dušan assumed the imperial title of tsar
Tsar
Tsar is a title used to designate certain European Slavic monarchs or supreme rulers. As a system of government in the Tsardom of Russia and Russian Empire, it is known as Tsarist autocracy, or Tsarism...

, the Archbishopric of Peć
Pec
Peć or Pejë is a city and municipality in north-western Kosovo and Metohija - Serbia, and the administrative centre of the homonymous district. Governor of city is Ali Berisha....

 was correspondingly raised to the rank of Patriarchate in 1346. In the century that followed, the Serbian Church achieved its greatest power and prestige. In the 14th century Serbian Orthodox clergy had the title of Protos
Protos (monastic office)
The protos is a monastic office at the Eastern Orthodox monastic state of Mount Athos in Greece.-Authority:The office is assumed by a monk who is elected among the members of the Iera Epistasia which functions as the executive committee of the Iera Koinotita — the governing body of Athos...

 at Mount Athos.

Raising to Patriarchate



On April 16, 1346 (Easter
Easter
Easter is the central feast in the Christian liturgical year. According to the Canonical gospels, Jesus rose from the dead on the third day after his crucifixion. His resurrection is celebrated on Easter Day or Easter Sunday...

), Stephen Uroš IV Dušan of Serbia convoked a huge assembly at Skopje
Skopje
Skopje is the capital and largest city of the Republic of Macedonia with about a third of the total population. It is the country's political, cultural, economic, and academic centre...

, attended by the Serbian Archbishop Joanikije II, the Archbishop of Ochrid Nikolaj I, the Bulgarian Patriarch Simeon and various religious leaders of Mount Athos
Mount Athos
Mount Athos is a mountain and peninsula in Macedonia, Greece. A World Heritage Site, it is home to 20 Eastern Orthodox monasteries and forms a self-governed monastic state within the sovereignty of the Hellenic Republic. Spiritually, Mount Athos comes under the direct jurisdiction of the...

. The assembly and clerics agreed on, and then ceremonially performed the raising of the autocephalous Serbian Archbishopric to the status of Patriarchate. The Archbishop from now on is titled Patriarch of Serbia, although one document called him Patriarch of Serbs and Greeks, with the seat at the monastery of Peć
Patriarchate of Pec
The Patriarchate of Peć is a Serbian Orthodox monastery located near Peć. The complex of churches is the spiritual seat and mausoleum of the Serbian archbishops and patriarchs....

. The new Patriarch Joanikije II now solemnly crowned Dušan as "Emperor
Basileus
Basileus is a Greek term and title that has signified various types of monarchs in history. It is perhaps best known in English as a title used by the Byzantine Emperors, but also has a longer history of use for persons of authority and sovereigns in ancient Greece, as well as for the kings of...

 and autocrat of Serbs
Serbs
The Serbs are a South Slavic ethnic group of the Balkans and southern Central Europe. Serbs are located mainly in Serbia, Montenegro and Bosnia and Herzegovina, and form a sizable minority in Croatia, the Republic of Macedonia and Slovenia. Likewise, Serbs are an officially recognized minority in...

 and Romans" (Greek
Greek language
Greek is an independent branch of the Indo-European family of languages. Native to the southern Balkans, it has the longest documented history of any Indo-European language, spanning 34 centuries of written records. Its writing system has been the Greek alphabet for the majority of its history;...

 ). The status of Patriarchate resulted in raising bishoprics to metropolitans, as for example the Metropolitanate of Skopje.

The Patriarchate took over sovereignty on Mt. Athos
Mount Athos
Mount Athos is a mountain and peninsula in Macedonia, Greece. A World Heritage Site, it is home to 20 Eastern Orthodox monasteries and forms a self-governed monastic state within the sovereignty of the Hellenic Republic. Spiritually, Mount Athos comes under the direct jurisdiction of the...

 and the Greek archbishoprics under the rule of the Constantinople Patriarchate
Patriarch of Constantinople
The Ecumenical Patriarch is the Archbishop of Constantinople – New Rome – ranking as primus inter pares in the Eastern Orthodox communion, which is seen by followers as the One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church....

 (The Ohrid Archbishopric remained autocephalous). For those acts he was excommunicated by the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople
Church of Greece
The Church of Greece , part of the wider Greek Orthodox Church, is one of the autocephalous churches which make up the communion of Orthodox Christianity...

 in 1350.

From 16th to 19th century



In 1459, the Ottoman Empire
Ottoman Empire
The Ottoman EmpireIt was usually referred to as the "Ottoman Empire", the "Turkish Empire", the "Ottoman Caliphate" or more commonly "Turkey" by its contemporaries...

 conquered Serbia and made much of the former kingdom a pashaluk
Pashaluk
Pashaluk or Pashalik is a term for one type of the Subdivisions of the Ottoman Empire.It is the abstract word derived from pasha, denoting the quality, office or jurisdiction of a pasha or the territory administered by him....

. Although some Serbs converted to Islam
Islam
Islam . The most common are and .   : Arabic pronunciation varies regionally. The first vowel ranges from ~~. The second vowel ranges from ~~~...

, most continued their adherence to the Serbian Orthodox Church.

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 which exercised jurisdiction over all Orthodox of the Ottoman Empire under the millet
Millet (Ottoman Empire)
Millet is a term for the confessional communities in the Ottoman Empire. It refers to the separate legal courts pertaining to "personal law" under which communities were allowed to rule themselves under their own system...

system. The Serbian Patriarchate was restored in 1557 by the Sultan
Sultan
Sultan is a title with several historical meanings. Originally, it was an Arabic language abstract noun meaning "strength", "authority", "rulership", and "dictatorship", derived from the masdar سلطة , meaning "authority" or "power". Later, it came to be used as the title of certain rulers who...

 Suleiman the Magnificent
Suleiman the Magnificent
Suleiman I was the tenth and longest-reigning Sultan of the Ottoman Empire, from 1520 to his death in 1566. He is known in the West as Suleiman the Magnificent and in the East, as "The Lawgiver" , for his complete reconstruction of the Ottoman legal system...

, thanks to the mediation of the statesman Sokollu Mehmet Pasha. Sokollu Mehmet's brother or cousin Macarios
Makarije Sokolovic
Makarije Sokolović was the Patriarch of the Serbian Orthodox Church from 1557 to 1571. He was the first patriarch of the restored Serbian Patriarchate, after its lapse in 1463 that resulted from the Ottoman conquest of Serbia...

 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 Ottoman Empire. After consequent Serbian uprisings against the Turkish occupiers in which the Church had a leading role, the Ottomans abolished the Patriarchate once again in 1766. The Church returned once more under the jurisdiction of the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople. This period of rule by the so-called "Phanariots" was a period of great spiritual decline because the Greek
Greeks
The Greeks, also known as the Hellenes , are a nation and ethnic group native to Greece, Cyprus and neighboring regions. They also form a significant diaspora, with Greek communities established around the world....

 bishops had very little understanding of 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 Habsburg Monarchy
Habsburg Monarchy
The Habsburg Monarchy covered the territories ruled by the junior Austrian branch of the House of Habsburg , and then by the successor House of Habsburg-Lorraine , between 1526 and 1867/1918. The Imperial capital was Vienna, except from 1583 to 1611, when it was moved to Prague...

 where they had been granted autonomy. The seat of the archbishops was moved from Peć
Pec
Peć or Pejë is a city and municipality in north-western Kosovo and Metohija - Serbia, and the administrative centre of the homonymous district. Governor of city is Ali Berisha....

 to Karlovci
Sremski Karlovci
Sremski Karlovci is a town and municipality in Serbia, in the autonomous province of Vojvodina, situated on the bank of the river Danube, 8 km from Novi Sad...

. The new Serbian Metropolitanate of Karlovci
Metropolitanate of Karlovci
The Metropolitanate of Karlovci was a metropolitanate of the Orthodox Church that existed between 1691 and 1848. Between 1691 and 1706 it was known as the Metropolitanate of Sentandreja, between 1708 and 1713 as the Metropolitanate of Krušedol, and between 1713 and 1848 as the Metropolitanate of...

 would become a patriarchate
Patriarchate of Karlovci
The Patriarchate of Karlovci was a patriarchate of the Orthodox Church that existed between 1848 and 1920. It was formed in 1848, when former Metropolitanate of Karlovci was elevated to the rank of patriarchate. The Patriarchate of Karlovci existed until 1920, when it was merged with...

 in 1848.

Modern history




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 1817 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 Churches existed – the Patriarchate of Karlovci
Patriarchate of Karlovci
The Patriarchate of Karlovci was a patriarchate of the Orthodox Church that existed between 1848 and 1920. It was formed in 1848, when former Metropolitanate of Karlovci was elevated to the rank of patriarchate. The Patriarchate of Karlovci existed until 1920, when it was merged with...

 in the Habsburg Monarchy
Habsburg Monarchy
The Habsburg Monarchy covered the territories ruled by the junior Austrian branch of the House of Habsburg , and then by the successor House of Habsburg-Lorraine , between 1526 and 1867/1918. The Imperial capital was Vienna, except from 1583 to 1611, when it was moved to Prague...

 and the Metropolitanate of Belgrade
Metropolitanate of Belgrade
The Metropolitanate of Belgrade was a metropolitanate of the Orthodox Church that existed between 1766 and 1920. It was formed in 1766, when Patriarchate of Peć was abolished by the Ottoman Empire. The Metropolitanate of Belgrade existed until 1920, when it was merged with Patriarchate of Karlovci...

 in the Kingdom of Serbia
Kingdom of Serbia
The Kingdom of Serbia was created when Prince Milan Obrenović, ruler of the Principality of Serbia, was crowned King in 1882. The Principality of Serbia was ruled by the Karađorđevic dynasty from 1817 onwards . The Principality, suzerain to the Porte, had expelled all Ottoman troops by 1867, de...

. The Cetinje Metropolitanate held successorship to the Serb Patriarchate in Peć, its Vladikas were titled "Exarchs of the Peć Throne"

After World War I
World War I
World War I , which was predominantly called the World War or the Great War from its occurrence until 1939, and the First World War or World War I thereafter, was a major war centred in Europe that began on 28 July 1914 and lasted until 11 November 1918...

 all the Orthodox Serbs were united under one ecclesiastical authority, and two Serbian churches were united into the single Patriarchate of Serbia in 1920 with the election of Patriarch Dimitrije
Patriarch Dimitrije
Dimitrije was the first patriarch of the reunified Serbian Orthodox Church, from 1920 until his death.He was styled "His Holiness, the Archbishop of Peć, Metropolitan of Belgrade and Karlovci, Serbian Patriarch".-Biography:...

. It gained great political and social influence in the inter-war Kingdom of Yugoslavia
Kingdom of Yugoslavia
The Kingdom of Yugoslavia was a state stretching from the Western Balkans to Central Europe which existed during the often-tumultuous interwar era of 1918–1941...

, during which time it successfully campaigned against the Yugoslav government's intentions of signing a concordat
Concordat
A concordat is an agreement between the Holy See of the Catholic Church and a sovereign state on religious matters. Legally, they are international treaties. They often includes both recognition and privileges for the Catholic Church in a particular country...

 with the Holy See
Holy See
The Holy See is the episcopal jurisdiction of the Catholic Church in Rome, in which its Bishop is commonly known as the Pope. It is the preeminent episcopal see of the Catholic Church, forming the central government of the Church. As such, diplomatically, and in other spheres the Holy See acts and...

.

During the Second World War the Serbian Orthodox Church suffered severely from persecutions by the occupying powers and the rabidly anti-Serbian Ustaše
Ustaše
The Ustaša - Croatian Revolutionary Movement was a Croatian fascist anti-Yugoslav separatist movement. The ideology of the movement was a blend of fascism, Nazism, and Croatian nationalism. The Ustaše supported the creation of a Greater Croatia that would span to the River Drina and to the border...

 regime of Independent State of Croatia
Independent State of Croatia
The Independent State of Croatia was a World War II puppet state of Nazi Germany, established on a part of Axis-occupied Yugoslavia. The NDH was founded on 10 April 1941, after the invasion of Yugoslavia by the Axis powers. All of Bosnia and Herzegovina was annexed to NDH, together with some parts...

, which sought to create a "Croatian Orthodox Church
Croatian Orthodox Church
The Croatian Orthodox Church was a religious body created during World War II by the Ustasha regime in the Independent State of Croatia .The reason for formation of this church was that Orthodox Christian Churches are state-based...

" which Orthodox Serbs were forced to join. Many 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 Socialist government of Josip Broz Tito
Josip Broz Tito
Marshal Josip Broz Tito – 4 May 1980) was a Yugoslav revolutionary and statesman. While his presidency has been criticized as authoritarian, Tito was a popular public figure both in Yugoslavia and abroad, viewed as a unifying symbol for the nations of the Yugoslav federation...

, 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 socialism 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
Slobodan Milošević
Slobodan Milošević was President of Serbia and Yugoslavia. He served as the President of Socialist Republic of Serbia and Republic of Serbia from 1989 until 1997 in three terms and as President of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia from 1997 to 2000...

 in the 1990s.

The Macedonian Orthodox Church
Macedonian Orthodox Church
The Macedonian Orthodox Church – Ohrid Archbishopric or just Macedonian Orthodox Church is the body of Christians who are united under the Archbishop of Ohrid and Macedonia, exercising jurisdiction over Macedonian Orthodox Christians in the Republic of Macedonia and in exarchates in the Macedonian...

 was created in 1967, effectively as an offshoot of the Serbian Orthodox Church in what was then the Socialist Republic of Macedonia
Socialist Republic of Macedonia
The Socialist Republic of Macedonia was a socialist state that was a constituent country of the former Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia...

, as part of the Yugoslav drive to build up a Macedonian national identity
Macedonians (ethnic group)
The Macedonians also referred to as Macedonian Slavs: "... the term Slavomacedonian was introduced and was accepted by the community itself, which at the time had a much more widespread non-Greek Macedonian ethnic consciousness...

. This was strongly resisted by the Serbian Church, which does not recognize the independence of its Macedonian counterpart. Campaigns for an independent Montenegrin Orthodox Church
Montenegrin Orthodox Church
The Montenegrin Orthodox Church is an Orthodox Christian organization acting in Montenegro and Montenegrin emigration circles - e.g. the village of Lovćenac and the Montenegrin emigration colony in Argentina...

 have also gained ground in recent years.

The Yugoslav wars
Yugoslav wars
The Yugoslav Wars were a series of wars, fought throughout the former Yugoslavia between 1991 and 1995. The wars were complex: characterized by bitter ethnic conflicts among the peoples of the former Yugoslavia, mostly between Serbs on the one side and Croats and Bosniaks on the other; but also...

 gravely impacted several branches of the Serbian Orthodox Church. Many Serbian Orthodox Church clergy supported the war, while others were against it.

Many churches in Croatia
Croatia
Croatia , officially the Republic of Croatia , is a unitary democratic parliamentary republic in Europe at the crossroads of the Mitteleuropa, the Balkans, and the Mediterranean. Its capital and largest city is Zagreb. The country is divided into 20 counties and the city of Zagreb. Croatia covers ...

 were damaged or destroyed since the start of the war in 1991. The bishops and priests and most faithful of the eparchies of Zagreb
Zagreb
Zagreb is the capital and the largest city of the Republic of Croatia. It is in the northwest of the country, along the Sava river, at the southern slopes of the Medvednica mountain. Zagreb lies at an elevation of approximately above sea level. According to the last official census, Zagreb's city...

, of Karlovac
Karlovac
Karlovac is a city and municipality in central Croatia. The city proper has a population of 49,082, while the municipality has a population of 59,395 inhabitants .Karlovac is the administrative centre of Karlovac County...

, of Slavonia
Slavonia
Slavonia is a geographical and historical region in eastern Croatia...

 and of Dalmatia
Dalmatia
Dalmatia is a historical region on the eastern coast of the Adriatic Sea. It stretches from the island of Rab in the northwest to the Bay of Kotor in the southeast. The hinterland, the Dalmatian Zagora, ranges from fifty kilometers in width in the north to just a few kilometers in the south....

 became refugees. The latter three were almost completely abandoned after the exodus of the Serbs from Croatia in 1995. The eparchy of Dalmatia also had its see temporarily moved to Knin
Knin
Knin is a historical town in the Šibenik-Knin county of Croatia, located near the source of the river Krka at , in the Dalmatian hinterland, on the railroad Zagreb–Split. Knin rose to prominence twice in history, as a one-time capital of both the Kingdom of Croatia and briefly of the...

 after the Republic of Serbian Krajina
Republic of Serbian Krajina
The Republic of Serbian Krajina was a self-proclaimed Serb entity within Croatia. Established in 1991, it was not recognized internationally. It formally existed from 1991 to 1995, having been initiated a year earlier via smaller separatist regions. The name Krajina means "frontier"...

 was established. The eparchy of Slavonia had its see moved from Pakrac
Pakrac
Pakrac is a town in western Slavonia, Croatia, population 4,852, total municipality population 8,482 . Pakrac is located on the road and railroad connecting the regions of Posavina and Podravina.-Name:...

 to Daruvar
Daruvar
Daruvar is a town in central Croatia, population 9,815 , total municipality population 13,243 ....

. After Operation Storm
Operation Storm
Operation Storm is the code name given to a large-scale military operation carried out by Croatian Armed Forces, in conjunction with the Army of the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina, to gain back control of parts of Croatia which had been claimed by separatist ethnic Serbs, since early...

, two monasteries were particularly damaged:
  • Monastery Krupa
    Krupa monastery
    Krupa monastery is a Serb Orthodox monastery on Krupa River in Dalmatia, Croatia.The Monastery was built in 1317 by monks from Bosnia. It is located at the southern slopes of the Velebit mountain, halfway between the towns of Obrovac and Knin. It is the oldest Orthodox monastery in Croatia.The...

     was damaged by unknown Croatian
    Croats
    Croats are a South Slavic ethnic group mostly living in Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina and nearby countries. There are around 4 million Croats living inside Croatia and up to 4.5 million throughout the rest of the world. Responding to political, social and economic pressure, many Croats have...

     assailants. It is located at the southern slopes of Velebit
    Velebit
    Velebit is the largest though not the highest mountain range in Croatia. Its highest peak is the Vaganski vrh at 1757 m.The range forms a part of the Dinaric Alps and is located along the Adriatic coast, separating it from Lika in the interior...

    , halfway between Obrovac
    Obrovac, Croatia
    Obrovac is a town located in northern Dalmatia, in the Zadar County of Croatia. Town population is 1,500 people , and the whole Obrovac municipality has a population of 4,000 people. The town is located in the canyon of the river Zrmanja....

     and Knin. Monastery was built in 1317.
  • Monastery Krka
    Krka monastery
    Krka Monastery is a Serbian Orthodox monastery dedicated to the Archangel Michael, located near the river Krka, 3 km east of Kistanje, in central Dalmatia, Croatia...

     was looted to an extent. It is located in the Krka National Park
    Krka National Park
    Krka National Park is one of the Croatian national parks, named after the river Krka that it encloses. It is located along the middle-lower course of the Krka River in central Dalmatia, in Šibenik-Knin county, downstream Miljevci area, and just a few kilometers northeast of the city of Šibenik...

     by the river Krka
    Krka (Croatia)
    Krka is a river in Croatia's Dalmatia region, famous for its numerous waterfalls. It is long and its basin covers an area of .Possibly the river called Catarbates by the ancient Greeks, it was known to the ancient Romans as Titius, Corcoras, or Korkoras.The river has its source near the border...

    . In 1345, this monastery was mentioned for the first time as the endowment of princess Jelena Šubić (Nemanjić)
    Jelena Šubic (Nemanjic)
    Jelena Šubić was the daughter of Stefan Uroš III Dečanski of Serbia and the half-sister of Stefan Uroš IV Dušan of Serbia. She was married to the Croatian magnate Mladen III Šubić, Prince of Bribir from noble Šubić family. They ruled from Klis Fortress in Dalmatia...

    .


The eparchies of Bihać and Petrovac, Dabar-Bosnia and Zvornik and Tuzla were also dislocated due to the war in Bosnia and Herzegovina. The eparchy see of Dabar-Bosnia was temporarily moved to Sokolac
Sokolac
Sokolac is a town and municipality in Bosnia and Herzegovina and the part of the City of East Sarajevo in the Republika Srpska entity....

, and the see of Zvornik-Tuzla to Bijeljina
Bijeljina
Bijeljina is a city and municipality in northeastern Bosnia and Herzegovina. The city is the second largest in the Republika Srpska entity after Banja Luka and fifth largest city in Bosnia and Herzegovina, and is situated on the flat rich plains of Semberija...

. 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 Serbian Orthodox Church was returned to 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
Eparchy of upper Karlovac
The Eparchy of upper Karlovac is an eparchy of the Serbian Orthodox Church seated in the city of Karlovac, Croatia. It covers the area of Banovina, Kordun, Lika, Krbava, Gorski Kotar, as well as northern Croatia and Istria....

 in Karlovac
Karlovac
Karlovac is a city and municipality in central Croatia. The city proper has a population of 49,082, while the municipality has a population of 59,395 inhabitants .Karlovac is the administrative centre of Karlovac County...

. The return of the SOC faithful also started, but they are not nearly close to their pre-war numbers, as of 2004.

Due to the Kosovo War
Kosovo War
The term Kosovo War or Kosovo conflict was two sequential, and at times parallel, armed conflicts in Kosovo province, then part of FR Yugoslav Republic of Serbia; from early 1998 to 1999, there was an armed conflict initiated by the ethnic Albanian "Kosovo Liberation Army" , who sought independence...

, after 1999 numerous Serbian Orthodox holy sites in the province were left occupied only by clergy. Since the arrival of NATO troops in June 1999, 156 Serbian Orthodox churches and monasteries have been damaged or destroyed and several priests have been killed. During the few days of the 2004 unrest in Kosovo, 35 Serbian Orthodox churches and monasteries were damaged and some destroyed by Albanian mobs. Thousands of Serbs were forced to move from Kosovo due to the numerous attacks of Kosovo Albanians on Serbian churches and Serbs.

Adherents


The number of adherents of the Serbian Orthodox Church is estimated between 6,500,000 and 7,500,000, while other figures exceed 11,000,000. Orthodoxy is the largest single religious faith
Faith
Faith is confidence or trust in a person or thing, or a belief that is not based on proof. In religion, faith is a belief in a transcendent reality, a religious teacher, a set of teachings or a Supreme Being. Generally speaking, it is offered as a means by which the truth of the proposition,...

 in Serbia with 6,371,584 adherents (84% of the population belonging to it), and in Montenegro with 460,383 (74%). It is the second largest faith in Bosnia and Herzegovina
Bosnia and Herzegovina
Bosnia and Herzegovina , sometimes called Bosnia-Herzegovina or simply Bosnia, is a country in Southern Europe, on the Balkan Peninsula. Bordered by Croatia to the north, west and south, Serbia to the east, and Montenegro to the southeast, Bosnia and Herzegovina is almost landlocked, except for the...

 with 36% of adherents, and in Croatia
Croatia
Croatia , officially the Republic of Croatia , is a unitary democratic parliamentary republic in Europe at the crossroads of the Mitteleuropa, the Balkans, and the Mediterranean. Its capital and largest city is Zagreb. The country is divided into 20 counties and the city of Zagreb. Croatia covers ...

 with 4.4% of adherents
, 6,371,584 (84%), 1,484,000 (37%) , 460,383 (74%), 201,631 (4.4%), 38,964 (2%)

Structure


The head of the Serbian Orthodox Church is the patriarch
Patriarch
Originally a patriarch was a man who exercised autocratic authority as a pater familias over an extended family. The system of such rule of families by senior males is called patriarchy. This is a Greek word, a compound of πατριά , "lineage, descent", esp...

. He is also the head (metropolitan
Metropolitan bishop
In Christian churches with episcopal polity, the rank of metropolitan bishop, or simply metropolitan, pertains to the diocesan bishop or archbishop of a metropolis; that is, the chief city of a historical Roman province, ecclesiastical province, or regional capital.Before the establishment of...

) of the Metropolitanate of Belgrade
Belgrade
Belgrade is the capital and largest city of Serbia. It is located at the confluence of the Sava and Danube rivers, where the Pannonian Plain meets the Balkans. According to official results of Census 2011, the city has a population of 1,639,121. It is one of the 15 largest cities in Europe...

 and Karlovci
Sremski Karlovci
Sremski Karlovci is a town and municipality in Serbia, in the autonomous province of Vojvodina, situated on the bank of the river Danube, 8 km from Novi Sad...

. The current patriarch is Irinej since 22 January 2010. The Serbian Orthodox patriarchs are styled His Holiness the Archbishop of Peć, Metropolitan of Belgrade and Karlovci, Serbian Patriarch. The highest body of the Church is the Holy assembly of Bishops . It is consisted of the Patriarch, the Metropolitan
Metropolitan bishop
In Christian churches with episcopal polity, the rank of metropolitan bishop, or simply metropolitan, pertains to the diocesan bishop or archbishop of a metropolis; that is, the chief city of a historical Roman province, ecclesiastical province, or regional capital.Before the establishment of...

s, Bishop
Bishop
A bishop is an ordained or consecrated member of the Christian clergy who is generally entrusted with a position of authority and oversight. Within the Catholic Church, Eastern Orthodox, Oriental Orthodox Churches, in the Assyrian Church of the East, in the Independent Catholic Churches, and in the...

s, Archbishop of Ohrid
Orthodox Ohrid Archbishopric
The Orthodox Ohrid Archbishopric is an autonomous Eastern Orthodox archdiocese in the Republic of Macedonia...

 and Vicar Bishops. It meets twice a year in spring and in autumn. Holy assembly of Bishops makes important decisions for the church's life and elects the patriarch. The executive body of the Serbian Orthodox Church is the Holy Synod
Holy Synod
In several of the autocephalous Eastern Orthodox churches and Eastern Catholic Churches, the patriarch or head bishop is elected by a group of bishops called the Holy Synod...

. It has five members: four bishops and the patriarch. Holy Synod takes care of the everyday life of the Church. It meets on regular basis.

The territory of the Serbian Orthodox Church is divided into:
  • 5 metropolitanates, headed by metropolitan
    Metropolitan bishop
    In Christian churches with episcopal polity, the rank of metropolitan bishop, or simply metropolitan, pertains to the diocesan bishop or archbishop of a metropolis; that is, the chief city of a historical Roman province, ecclesiastical province, or regional capital.Before the establishment of...

    s
  • 32 eparchies (diocese
    Diocese
    A diocese is the district or see under the supervision of a bishop. It is divided into parishes.An archdiocese is more significant than a diocese. An archdiocese is presided over by an archbishop whose see may have or had importance due to size or historical significance...

    s
    ), headed by episcops (bishop
    Bishop
    A bishop is an ordained or consecrated member of the Christian clergy who is generally entrusted with a position of authority and oversight. Within the Catholic Church, Eastern Orthodox, Oriental Orthodox Churches, in the Assyrian Church of the East, in the Independent Catholic Churches, and in the...

    s)
  • 1 autonomous archeparchy (archdiocese, archbishopric), headed by archepiscop (archbishop
    Archbishop
    An archbishop is a bishop of higher rank, but not of higher sacramental order above that of the three orders of deacon, priest , and bishop...

    ), the Autonomous Archbishopric of Ohrid
    Orthodox Ohrid Archbishopric
    The Orthodox Ohrid Archbishopric is an autonomous Eastern Orthodox archdiocese in the Republic of Macedonia...

    . It is further divided into 1 metropolitanate and 6 dioceses.


Dioceses are further divided into episcopal deaneries
Deanery
A Deanery is an ecclesiastical entity in both the Roman Catholic Church and the Church of England. A deanery is either the jurisdiction or residence of a Dean.- Catholic usage :...

, each consisting of several church congregations
Local church
A local church is a Christian congregation of members and clergy.Local church may also refer to:* Local churches , a Christian group based on the teachings of Watchman Nee and Witness Lee, and associated with the Living Stream Ministry publishing house.* Parish church, a local church united with...

 and/or parish
Parish
A parish is a territorial unit historically under the pastoral care and clerical jurisdiction of one parish priest, who might be assisted in his pastoral duties by a curate or curates - also priests but not the parish priest - from a more or less central parish church with its associated organization...

es. Church congregations consist of one or more parishes. A parish is the smallest Church unit - a communion of Orthodox faithful congregating at the Holy Eucharist with the parish priest at their head.

Holy assembly of Bishops



Metropolitans

  • Metropolitan of Belgrade
    Belgrade
    Belgrade is the capital and largest city of Serbia. It is located at the confluence of the Sava and Danube rivers, where the Pannonian Plain meets the Balkans. According to official results of Census 2011, the city has a population of 1,639,121. It is one of the 15 largest cities in Europe...

     and Karlovci
    Sremski Karlovci
    Sremski Karlovci is a town and municipality in Serbia, in the autonomous province of Vojvodina, situated on the bank of the river Danube, 8 km from Novi Sad...

     Irinej (Gavrilović)
    Patriarch Irinej of Serbia
    Patriarch Irinej is the 45th Patriarch of the Serbian Orthodox Church, the spiritual leader of Eastern Orthodox Serbs, since 22 January 2010. His full title is His Holiness the Archbishop of Peć, Metropolitan of Belgrade and Karlovci, Serbian Patriarch Irinej...

  • Metropolitan of Dabar
    Dabar (zhupa)
    Dabar was a small administrative division of the medieval principality of Zahumlje .Dabar was situated around Dabar Polje, and bordered on Dubrava in the west, Nevesinje in the north, Fatnica in the east and Popovo in the south-west. "Dabar" means "beaver" and according to some explanations, the...

     and Bosnia
    Bosnia (region)
    Bosnia is a eponomous region of Bosnia and Herzegovina. It lies mainly in the Dinaric Alps, ranging to the southern borders of the Pannonian plain, with the rivers Sava and Drina marking its northern and eastern borders. The other eponomous region, the southern, other half of the country is...

     Nikolaj (Mrđa)
  • Metropolitan of Montenegro and the Littoral
    Metropolitanate of Montenegro and the Littoral
    The Metropolitanate of Montenegro is the largest diocese of the Serbian Orthodox Church in Montenegro. Founded in 1219 by Saint Sava, it is now one of the most prominent dioceses in the Serbian Orthodox Church. The current Metropolitan is Amfilohije...

     Amfilohije (Radović)
    Amfilohije Radovic
    Amfilohije Radović is the current Metropolitan of the Metropolitanate of Montenegro and the Littoral, Archbishop of Cetinje.His role in the Yugoslav Wars is considered controversial.- Biography :...

  • Metropolitan of Libertyville and Chicago
    Chicago
    Chicago is the largest city in the US state of Illinois. With nearly 2.7 million residents, it is the most populous city in the Midwestern United States and the third most populous in the US, after New York City and Los Angeles...

     Longin (Krco).
  • Metropolitan of Zagreb
    Zagreb
    Zagreb is the capital and the largest city of the Republic of Croatia. It is in the northwest of the country, along the Sava river, at the southern slopes of the Medvednica mountain. Zagreb lies at an elevation of approximately above sea level. According to the last official census, Zagreb's city...

    , Ljubljana
    Ljubljana
    Ljubljana is the capital of Slovenia and its largest city. It is the centre of the City Municipality of Ljubljana. It is located in the centre of the country in the Ljubljana Basin, and is a mid-sized city of some 270,000 inhabitants...

     and All Italy
    Italy
    Italy , officially the Italian Republic languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Italy's official name is as follows:;;;;;;;;), is a unitary parliamentary republic in South-Central Europe. To the north it borders France, Switzerland, Austria and...

     Jovan (Pavlović)


Bishops
  • Bishop of Australia
    Australia
    Australia , officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a country in the Southern Hemisphere comprising the mainland of the Australian continent, the island of Tasmania, and numerous smaller islands in the Indian and Pacific Oceans. It is the world's sixth-largest country by total area...

     and New Zealand
    New Zealand
    New Zealand is an island country in the south-western Pacific Ocean comprising two main landmasses and numerous smaller islands. The country is situated some east of Australia across the Tasman Sea, and roughly south of the Pacific island nations of New Caledonia, Fiji, and Tonga...

     Irinej (Dobrijević)
  • Bishop of Banat
    Eparchy of Banat
    The Eparchy of Banat is an ecclesiastical territory or eparchy of the Serbian Orthodox Church in the Banat region, Serbia. It is mostly situated in the autonomous province of Vojvodina, while the eparchy also include a small south-western part of Banat that belongs to the City of Belgrade as well...

     Nikanor (Bogunović)
  • Bishop of Bačka
    Eparchy of Backa
    The Eparchy of Bačka is an ecclesiastical territory or eparchy of the Serbian Orthodox Church in the Bačka region, Serbia. It is situated in the autonomous province of Vojvodina and seat of the eparchy is in Novi Sad.-History:...

     Irinej (Bulović)
  • Bishop of Banja Luka
    Banja Luka
    -History:The name "Banja Luka" was first mentioned in a document dated February 6, 1494, but Banja Luka's history dates back to ancient times. There is a substantial evidence of the Roman presence in the region during the first few centuries A.D., including an old fort "Kastel" in the centre of...

     Jefrem (Milutonović)
  • Bishop of Bihać
    Bihac
    Bihać is a city and municipality on the river Una in the north-western part of Bosnia and Herzegovina, in the Bosanska Krajina region. Bihać is located in the Una-Sana Canton in the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina.-History:...

     and Petrovac
    Bosanski Petrovac
    Bosanski Petrovac is a town in western Bosnia and Herzegovina. It is also the name of the municipality. The town and municipality are part of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina and the Una-Sana Canton.-People:...

     Hrizostom (Jević)
  • Bishop of Braničevo
    Branicevo (region)
    Braničevo is a geographical region in east-central Serbia. It is mostly situated in the Braničevo District.-History:...

     Ignjatije (Midić)
    Ignatije Midic
    Ignatije Midić , bishop, Prof. Dr., was born on 17 October 1954 in Knez Selo near Niš.He is professor of dogmatic theology at the University of Belgrade Faculty of Theology, and one of the most remarkable contemporary orthodox theologians of younger generation in Serbia. His theological conceptions...

  • Bishop of Britain
    Great Britain
    Great Britain or Britain is an island situated to the northwest of Continental Europe. It is the ninth largest island in the world, and the largest European island, as well as the largest of the British Isles...

     and Scandinavia
    Scandinavia
    Scandinavia is a cultural, historical and ethno-linguistic region in northern Europe that includes the three kingdoms of Denmark, Norway and Sweden, characterized by their common ethno-cultural heritage and language. Modern Norway and Sweden proper are situated on the Scandinavian Peninsula,...

     Dositej (Motika)
  • Bishop of Buda
    Buda
    For detailed information see: History of Buda CastleBuda is the western part of the Hungarian capital Budapest on the west bank of the Danube. The name Buda takes its name from the name of Bleda the Hun ruler, whose name is also Buda in Hungarian.Buda comprises about one-third of Budapest's...

     Lukijan (Pantelić)
  • Bishop of Budimlje and Nikšić
    Eparchy of Budimlje-Nikšic
    The Eparchy of Budimlja-Nikšić is an ecclesiastical territory or eparchy of the Serbian Orthodox Church in Montenegro. It is mostly situated in eastern Montenegro...

     Joanikije (Mićović)
  • Bishop of Canada
    Canada
    Canada is a North American country consisting of ten provinces and three territories. Located in the northern part of the continent, it extends from the Atlantic Ocean in the east to the Pacific Ocean in the west, and northward into the Arctic Ocean...

     Georgije (Đokić)
  • Bishop of Central Europe
    Central Europe
    Central Europe or alternatively Middle Europe is a region of the European continent lying between the variously defined areas of Eastern and Western Europe...

     Constantine (Đokić)
  • Bishop of Dalmatia
    Dalmatia
    Dalmatia is a historical region on the eastern coast of the Adriatic Sea. It stretches from the island of Rab in the northwest to the Bay of Kotor in the southeast. The hinterland, the Dalmatian Zagora, ranges from fifty kilometers in width in the north to just a few kilometers in the south....

     Fotije (Sladojević)
  • Bishop of Eastern America
    Diocese of Eastern America
    The Serbian Orthodox Diocese of Eastern America is a Serbian Orthodox Church diocese located in the United States and in some countries of South America...

     Mitrophan (Kodić)
  • Bishop of Kruševac
    Kruševac
    Kruševac is a city and municipality, and the administrative center of the Rasina District, in central Serbia. According to the 2011 census, the municipality has a population of 127,429, while the town has 57,627....

     David (Perović)
  • Bishop of Mileševa Filaret (Mićević)
  • Bishop of Midwestern America
    Diocese of New Gracanica - Midwestern America
    The Serbian Orthodox Diocese of New Gracanica - Midwestern America is a Serbian Orthodox Church diocese located in the United States. Its headquarters are in Third Lake, Illinois...

     Longin (Krčo)
  • Bishop of Niš
    Niš
    Niš is the largest city of southern Serbia and third-largest city in Serbia . According to the data from 2011, the city of Niš has a population of 177,972 inhabitants, while the city municipality has a population of 257,867. The city covers an area of about 597 km2, including the urban area,...

     Jovan (Purić)
  • Bishop of Osečko polje
    Osijek
    Osijek is the fourth largest city in Croatia with a population of 83,496 in 2011. It is the largest city and the economic and cultural centre of the eastern Croatian region of Slavonia, as well as the administrative centre of Osijek-Baranja county...

     and Baranja Lukijan (Vladulov)
  • Bishop of Ras and Prizren
    Prizren
    Prizren is a historical city located in southern Kosovo. It is the administrative center of the eponymous municipality and district.The city has a population of around 131,247 , mostly Albanians...

     Teodosije (Šibalić)
  • Bishop of Šabac
    Šabac
    Šabac is a city and municipality in western Serbia, along the Sava river, in the historic region of Mačva. It is the administrative center of the Mačva District. The city has a population of 52,822 , while population of the municipality is 115,347...

     Lavrentije (Trifunović)
  • Bishop of Slavonia
    Slavonia
    Slavonia is a geographical and historical region in eastern Croatia...

     Sava (Jurić)
  • Bishop of Srem
    Eparchy of Srem
    The Eparchy of Srem is an ecclesiastical territory or eparchy of the Serbian Orthodox Church in the Syrmia region, Serbia. It is mostly situated in the autonomous province of Vojvodina, while the eparchy also include a small south-eastern part of Syrmia that belong to Belgrade as well as some...

     Vasilije (Vadić)
  • Bishop of Šumadija
    Šumadija
    Šumadija is a geographical region in Serbia. The area is heavily covered with forests, hence the name...

     Jovan (Mladenović)
  • Bishop of Timok
    Timočka Krajina
    Timočka Krajina is a geographical region located in Serbia. It is situated in eastern Serbia around the Timok River. The population of Timočka Krajina is 284,112 .-Name:...

     Justin (Stefanović)
  • Bishop of Upper Karlovac
    Eparchy of upper Karlovac
    The Eparchy of upper Karlovac is an eparchy of the Serbian Orthodox Church seated in the city of Karlovac, Croatia. It covers the area of Banovina, Kordun, Lika, Krbava, Gorski Kotar, as well as northern Croatia and Istria....

     Gerasim (Popović)
  • Bishop of Valjevo
    Valjevo
    Valjevo is a city and municipality located in western Serbia. It is the center of the Kolubara District, which includes five other smaller municipalities with a total population of almost 180,000 people...

     Milutin (Knežević)
  • Bishop of Vranje
    Vranje
    Vranje is a city and municipality located in southern Serbia. In 2011 the city has total population of 82,782, while the urban area has 54,456...

     Pahomije (Gačić)
  • Bishop of Western America
    Diocese of Western America
    The Serbian Orthodox Diocese of Western America is a Serbian Orthodox Church diocese located in the United States. Its headquarters are in Alhambra, California. The diocese has churches in Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, Utah, and Washington.-External...

     Maksim (Vasiljević)
  • Bishop of Western Europe Luka (Kovačević)
  • Bishop of Zahumlje and Herzegovina
    Eparchy of Zahumlje and Herzegovina
    The Eparchy of Zahumlje and Herzegovina is an eparchy of the Serbian Orthodox Church with its seat in Mostar, temporarily transferred to the Tvrdoš monastery near Trebinje, Republika Srpska, Bosnia and Herzegovina.-Early:The region was under the Metropolitanate of Durazzo, which in turn was under...

     Grigorije (Durić)
  • Bishop of Žiča
    Žica
    Žiča is an early 13th century Serb Orthodox monastery near Kraljevo, Serbia. The monastery, together with the Church of the Holy Dormition, was built by the first King of Serbia, Stefan the First-Crowned and the first Head of the Serbian Church, Saint Sava....

     Hrizostom (Stolić)
  • Bishop of Zvornik
    Zvornik
    Zvornik is a city on the Drina river in northeastern Bosnia and Herzegovina, located south of the town of Bijeljina in Bosnia and Herzegovina. The town Mali Zvornik lies directly across the river in Serbia, and not far north is Loznica.-History:Zvornik is first mentioned in 1410, although it was...

     and Tuzla
    Tuzla
    Tuzla is a city and municipality in Bosnia and Herzegovina. At the time of the 1991 census, it had 83,770 inhabitants, while the municipality 131,318. Taking the influx of refugees into account, the city is currently estimated to have 174,558 inhabitants...

     Vasilije (Kačavenda)


Vicar bishops
Vicar
Vicar
In the broadest sense, a vicar is a representative, deputy or substitute; anyone acting "in the person of" or agent for a superior . In this sense, the title is comparable to lieutenant...

 bishop (or titular bishop
Titular bishop
A titular bishop in various churches is a bishop who is not in charge of a diocese.By definition a bishop is an "overseer" of a community of the faithful, so when a priest is ordained a bishop the tradition of the Roman Catholic and Orthodox churches is that he be ordained for a specific place...

) is a bishop who is not in charge of a diocese. Vicar bishop bears in his title the name of a town or region that is within a diocese. He has no independent jurisdiction (even in his titular town), but is subordinate to his diocesan bishop. Only large dioceses have vicar bishops. There are five vicar bishops, not counting the Autonomous Archbishopric of Ohrid:
  • Vicar Bishop of Hvostno (northern Metohija
    Metohija
    Metohija , is a large basin and the name of the region covering the southwestern part of Kosovo.It encompasses three of the seven districts of Kosovo, namely the historical :* District of Peć * District of Đakovica * District of Prizren...

    ) Atanasije (Rakita)
  • Vicar Bishop of Jegar Porfirije (Perić)
  • Vicar Bishop of Moravica
    Golijska Moravica
    The Golijska Moravica or simply Moravica is a river in western Serbia. With a length of 98 km, it is the longer headstream of the Zapadna Morava , and thus, of the Velika Morava...

     Antonije (Pantelić)
  • Vicar Bishop of Lipljan Jovan (Ćulibrk)
  • Vicar Bishop of Remesiana
    Remesiana
    Remesiana was an ancient Roman city built after the Roman conquest of Moesia, in the area of the Dacian town Aiadava. It is located all around and under modern day city of Bela Palanka, Serbia....

     Andrej (Ćilerdžić)



Autonomous Archbishopric of Ohrid


The Autonomous Archbishopric of Ohrid or Orthodox Ohrid Archbishopric is an autonomous archbishopric in the Republic of Macedonia
Republic of Macedonia
Macedonia , officially the Republic of Macedonia , is a country located in the central Balkan peninsula in Southeast Europe. It is one of the successor states of the former Yugoslavia, from which it declared independence in 1991...

 under the jurisdiction of the Serbian Orthodox Church. It was formed in 2002 in opposition to the Macedonian Orthodox Church
Macedonian Orthodox Church
The Macedonian Orthodox Church – Ohrid Archbishopric or just Macedonian Orthodox Church is the body of Christians who are united under the Archbishop of Ohrid and Macedonia, exercising jurisdiction over Macedonian Orthodox Christians in the Republic of Macedonia and in exarchates in the Macedonian...

, which had had a similar relationship with the Serbian Orthodox Church prior to 1967, when it unilaterally declared itself autocephalous. Bishops from this archbishopric are:
  • Archbishop of Ohrid
    Orthodox Ohrid Archbishopric
    The Orthodox Ohrid Archbishopric is an autonomous Eastern Orthodox archdiocese in the Republic of Macedonia...

     and Metropolitan of Skopje
    Skopje
    Skopje is the capital and largest city of the Republic of Macedonia with about a third of the total population. It is the country's political, cultural, economic, and academic centre...

     Jovan VI (Vraniškovski)
  • Bishop of Bregalnica
    Bregalnica
    Bregalnica is the second largest river in the Republic of Macedonia. It starts as a spring near the mountain city of Berovo and it passes near the cities of Makedonska Kamenica, Kočani, Vinica and Štip, before joining the river Vardar on its way to the Aegean Sea...

     and locum tenens of Bitola
    Bitola
    Bitola is a city in the southwestern part of the Republic of Macedonia. The city is an administrative, cultural, industrial, commercial, and educational centre. It is located in the southern part of the Pelagonia valley, surrounded by the Baba and Nidže mountains, 14 km north of the...

     Marko (Kimev)
  • Bishop of Polog
    Polog
    Polog also known as the Polog Valley , is located in the north-western part of the Republic of Macedonia near the border with Serbia.It is divided into Upper and Lower Polog...

     and Kumanovo
    Kumanovo
    Kumanovo is a city in the Republic of Macedonia and is the seat of Kumanovo Municipality which is the largest municipality in the country. Municipal institutions include a city council, mayor and other administrative bodies.-Name:...

     and locum tenens of Debar
    Debar
    Debar is a city in the western part of the Republic of Macedonia, near the border with Albania, on the road from Struga to Gostivar. It is the seat of Debar Municipality.-Geography:...

     and Kičevo
    Kicevo
    Kičevo is a city in the western part of the Republic of Macedonia, located in a valley in the south-eastern slopes of Mount Bistra, between the cities of Ohrid and Gostivar. The capital Skopje is 112 km away. The city of Kičevo is the seat of Kičevo Municipality.-Population:The municipality...

     Joakim (Jovčeski)
  • Vicar Bishop of Stobi
    Stobi
    Stobi was an ancient town of Paeonia, later conquered by Macedon, and later turned into the capital of the Roman province of Macedonia Salutaris . It is located on the main road that leads from the Danube to the Aegean Sea and is considered by many to be the most famous archaeological site in the...

     and locum tenens of Strumica
    Strumica
    Strumica is the largest city in eastern Macedonia, near the Novo Selo-Petrich border crossing with Bulgaria. About 100,000 people live in the region surrounding the city. The city is named after the Strumica River which runs through it...

     David (Ninov)

Worship, liturgy and doctrine



Services cannot properly be conducted by a single person, but must have at least one other person present. Usually, all of the services are conducted on a daily basis only in monasteries and cathedrals, while parish churches might only do the services on the weekend and major feast days. The Divine Liturgy
Divine Liturgy
Divine Liturgy is the common term for the Eucharistic service of the Byzantine tradition of Christian liturgy. As such, it is used in the Eastern Orthodox and Eastern Catholic Churches. Armenian Christians, both of the Armenian Apostolic Church and of the Armenian Catholic Church, use the same term...

 is the celebration of the Eucharist. The Divine Liturgy is not celebrated on weekdays during the preparatory season of Great Lent
Great Lent
Great Lent, or the Great Fast, is the most important fasting season in the church year in Eastern Christianity, which prepares Christians for the greatest feast of the church year, Pascha . In many ways Great Lent is similar to Lent in Western Christianity...

. Communion is consecrated on Sundays and distributed during the week at the Liturgy of the Presanctified Gifts
Liturgy of the Presanctified Gifts
The Liturgy of the Presanctified Gifts, informally Presanctified Liturgy, is an Eastern Christian liturgical service for the distribution of communion on the weekdays of Great Lent....

. Services, especially the Divine Liturgy, can only be performed once a day on any particular altar.

The Serbian Orthodox Church is characterized by monotheistic
Monotheism
Monotheism is the belief in the existence of one and only one god. Monotheism is characteristic of the Baha'i Faith, Christianity, Druzism, Hinduism, Islam, Judaism, Samaritanism, Sikhism and Zoroastrianism.While they profess the existence of only one deity, monotheistic religions may still...

 Trinitarianism, a belief in the Incarnation
Incarnation (Christianity)
The Incarnation in traditional Christianity is the belief that Jesus Christ the second person of the Trinity, also known as God the Son or the Logos , "became flesh" by being conceived in the womb of a woman, the Virgin Mary, also known as the Theotokos .The Incarnation is a fundamental theological...

 of the Logos
Logos
' is an important term in philosophy, psychology, rhetoric and religion. Originally a word meaning "a ground", "a plea", "an opinion", "an expectation", "word," "speech," "account," "reason," it became a technical term in philosophy, beginning with Heraclitus ' is an important term in...

 (Son of God
Son of God
"Son of God" is a phrase which according to most Christian denominations, Trinitarian in belief, refers to the relationship between Jesus and God, specifically as "God the Son"...

), a balancing of cataphatic theology
Cataphatic theology
Cataphatic theology is the expressing of God or the divine through positive terminology. This is in contrast to defining God or the divine in what God is not, which is referred to as negative or apophatic theology.-Terminology:...

 with apophatic theology, a hermeneutic defined by Sacred Tradition
Sacred Tradition
Sacred Tradition or Holy Tradition is a theological term used in some Christian traditions, primarily in the Roman Catholic, Anglican, Eastern Orthodox and Oriental Orthodox traditions, to refer to the fundamental basis of church authority....

, a concrete ecclesiology
Ecclesiology
Today, ecclesiology usually refers to the theological study of the Christian church. However when the word was coined in the late 1830s, it was defined as the science of the building and decoration of churches and it is still, though rarely, used in this sense.In its theological sense, ecclesiology...

, a robust theology of the person
Hypostasis (religion)
In Christian theology, a hypostasis or person is one of the three elements of the Holy Trinity.In Christian usage, the Greek word hypostasis means beneath-standing or underpinning and, by extension, the existence of some thing...

, and a therapeutic soteriology
Soteriology
The branch of Christian theology that deals with salvation and redemption is called Soteriology. It is derived from the Greek sōtērion + English -logy....

.

Ecumenical relations


The Serbian Orthodox Church is in full communion
Full communion
In Christian ecclesiology, full communion is a relationship between church organizations or groups that mutually recognize their sharing the essential doctrines....

 with the Ecumenical Patriarchate and all of Eastern Orthodoxy.

Church architecture


Services are conducted in church buildings and involve both the clergy and faithful. The original style of Serbian Orthodox Church was the church built out of wood
Wood
Wood is a hard, fibrous tissue found in many trees. It has been used for hundreds of thousands of years for both fuel and as a construction material. It is an organic material, a natural composite of cellulose fibers embedded in a matrix of lignin which resists compression...

. These churches were typically found in poorer villages where it was too expensive to build a church out of stone.

Serbo-Byzantine Style


This is the typical style of churches built. This style of church architecture was developed in the late 13th century combining Byzantine
Byzantine Empire
The Byzantine Empire was the Eastern Roman Empire during the periods of Late Antiquity and the Middle Ages, centred on the capital of Constantinople. Known simply as the Roman Empire or Romania to its inhabitants and neighbours, the Empire was the direct continuation of the Ancient Roman State...

 and Raskan influences to form a new church style. By the end of 13th and in the first half of 14th century the Serbia
Serbia
Serbia , officially the Republic of Serbia , is a landlocked country located at the crossroads of Central and Southeast Europe, covering the southern part of the Carpathian basin and the central part of the Balkans...

n state enlarged over Macedonia
Macedonia (region)
Macedonia is a geographical and historical region of the Balkan peninsula in southeastern Europe. Its boundaries have changed considerably over time, but nowadays the region is considered to include parts of five Balkan countries: Greece, the Republic of Macedonia, Bulgaria, Albania, Serbia, as...

, Epirus
Epirus
The name Epirus, from the Greek "Ήπειρος" meaning continent may refer to:-Geographical:* Epirus - a historical and geographical region of the southwestern Balkans, straddling modern Greece and Albania...

 and Thessaly
Thessaly
Thessaly is a traditional geographical region and an administrative region of Greece, comprising most of the ancient region of the same name. Before the Greek Dark Ages, Thessaly was known as Aeolia, and appears thus in Homer's Odyssey....

 up to the Aegean Sea
Aegean Sea
The Aegean Sea[p] is an elongated embayment of the Mediterranean Sea located between the southern Balkan and Anatolian peninsulas, i.e., between the mainlands of Greece and Turkey. In the north, it is connected to the Marmara Sea and Black Sea by the Dardanelles and Bosporus...

. On these new territories Serbian art was even more influenced by the Byzantine art
Byzantine art
Byzantine art is the term commonly used to describe the artistic products of the Byzantine Empire from about the 5th century until the Fall of Constantinople in 1453....

 tradition.

Gračanica
Gracanica monastery
Gračanica is a Serbian Orthodox monastery located in Kosovo. It was founded by the Serbian king Stefan Milutin in 1321. Gračanica Monastery was declared Monument of Culture of Exceptional Importance in 1990, and it is protected by Republic of Serbia, and on 13 July 2006 it was placed on UNESCO's...

, which was entirely rebuilt by King Milutin
Stefan Uroš II Milutin of Serbia
Stefan Uroš II Milutin was a king of Serbia , and member of the House of Nemanjić.-Early:...

 in 1321, is the most beautiful monument of Serbian architecture from the 14th century. The church of this monastery is an example of a construction that achieved the highest degree of architecture not only in the Byzantine form but in the creation of an original and freestyle exceeding its models. The wall creation in steps is one of the basic characteristics of this temple. The Kings's Church in Studenica, characterized as an ideal church, was built in the first decades of the 14th century.

By the end of the third decade of the 14th century the Pec Patriarchate had finally been shaped. The exterior of the Patriarchate is a vision of shapes characteristic of contemporary Serbian architecture. On the major part of the outer walls paint decoration was used instead of stone relief and brick and stone decoration. A typical Serbo-Byzantine church has a rectangular foundation, with a major dome
Dome
A dome is a structural element of architecture that resembles the hollow upper half of a sphere. Dome structures made of various materials have a long architectural lineage extending into prehistory....

 in the center with smaller domes around the center one. The inside of the church is covered with frescos that illustrate various biblical stories and portrays Serbian saints.

Western Influences


During the 17th Century many of the Serbian Orthodox Churches that were built in Belgrade
Belgrade
Belgrade is the capital and largest city of Serbia. It is located at the confluence of the Sava and Danube rivers, where the Pannonian Plain meets the Balkans. According to official results of Census 2011, the city has a population of 1,639,121. It is one of the 15 largest cities in Europe...

 took all the characteristics of baroque
Baroque
The Baroque is a period and the style that used exaggerated motion and clear, easily interpreted detail to produce drama, tension, exuberance, and grandeur in sculpture, painting, literature, dance, and music...

 churches built in the Austria
Austria
Austria , officially the Republic of Austria , is a landlocked country of roughly 8.4 million people in Central Europe. It is bordered by the Czech Republic and Germany to the north, Slovakia and Hungary to the east, Slovenia and Italy to the south, and Switzerland and Liechtenstein to the...

n occupied regions where Serbs lived. The churches usually had a bell tower, and a single nave building with the iconostasis inside the church covered with Renaissance
Renaissance
The Renaissance was a cultural movement that spanned roughly the 14th to the 17th century, beginning in Italy in the Late Middle Ages and later spreading to the rest of Europe. The term is also used more loosely to refer to the historical era, but since the changes of the Renaissance were not...

-style paintings.

These churches can be found in Belgrade
Belgrade
Belgrade is the capital and largest city of Serbia. It is located at the confluence of the Sava and Danube rivers, where the Pannonian Plain meets the Balkans. According to official results of Census 2011, the city has a population of 1,639,121. It is one of the 15 largest cities in Europe...

 and Vojvodina, which were occupied by the Austrian Empire
Austrian Empire
The Austrian Empire was a modern era successor empire, which was centered on what is today's Austria and which officially lasted from 1804 to 1867. It was followed by the Empire of Austria-Hungary, whose proclamation was a diplomatic move that elevated Hungary's status within the Austrian Empire...

 from 1717 to 1739, and on the border with Austrian (later Austro-Hungarian empire) across the Sava and Danube rivers from 1804 when Serbian statehood was re-established.

Icons



Icons are replete with symbol
Symbol
A symbol is something which represents an idea, a physical entity or a process but is distinct from it. The purpose of a symbol is to communicate meaning. For example, a red octagon may be a symbol for "STOP". On a map, a picture of a tent might represent a campsite. Numerals are symbols for...

ism meant to convey far more meaning than simply the identity of the person depicted, and it is for this reason that Orthodox iconography
Iconography
Iconography is the branch of art history which studies the identification, description, and the interpretation of the content of images. The word iconography literally means "image writing", and comes from the Greek "image" and "to write". A secondary meaning is the painting of icons in the...

 has become an exacting science of copying older icons rather than an opportunity for artistic expression. The Orthodox believe that the first icons of Christ
Christ
Christ is the English term for the Greek meaning "the anointed one". It is a translation of the Hebrew , usually transliterated into English as Messiah or Mashiach...

 and the Virgin Mary were painted by Luke the Evangelist
Luke the Evangelist
Luke the Evangelist was an Early Christian writer whom Church Fathers such as Jerome and Eusebius said was the author of the Gospel of Luke and the Acts of the Apostles...

. Orthodox regard their depiction of Christ
Christ
Christ is the English term for the Greek meaning "the anointed one". It is a translation of the Hebrew , usually transliterated into English as Messiah or Mashiach...

 as accurate, with Christ
Christ
Christ is the English term for the Greek meaning "the anointed one". It is a translation of the Hebrew , usually transliterated into English as Messiah or Mashiach...

 having brown semi-curly hair, brown eyes, and Semitic
Semitic
In linguistics and ethnology, Semitic was first used to refer to a language family of largely Middle Eastern origin, now called the Semitic languages...

 features (the Virgin Mary being similar). The personal, idiosyncratic and creative traditions of Western Europe
Western Europe
Western Europe is a loose term for the collection of countries in the western most region of the European continents, though this definition is context-dependent and carries cultural and political connotations. One definition describes Western Europe as a geographic entity—the region lying in the...

an religious art are largely lacking in Orthodox iconography
Iconography
Iconography is the branch of art history which studies the identification, description, and the interpretation of the content of images. The word iconography literally means "image writing", and comes from the Greek "image" and "to write". A secondary meaning is the painting of icons in the...

 before the 17th century, when Russian icon painting was strongly influenced by religious paintings and engravings from both Protestant and Catholic
Catholic
The word catholic comes from the Greek phrase , meaning "on the whole," "according to the whole" or "in general", and is a combination of the Greek words meaning "about" and meaning "whole"...

 Europe. Greek icon painting also began to take on a strong romantic western influence for a period and the difference between some Orthodox icons and western religious art began to vanish. More recently there has been a strong trend of returning to the more traditional and symbolic representations.


Icons are not considered by the Orthodox to be "graven images" or idols, but prohibitions against three-dimensional statuary are still in place, though before the crisis of Iconoclasm there was an Eastern Christian tradition of statuary, though not as major as in the West. Biblical prohibitions against material depictions have been altered by Christ
Christ
Christ is the English term for the Greek meaning "the anointed one". It is a translation of the Hebrew , usually transliterated into English as Messiah or Mashiach...

 (as God) taking on material form. Also, it is not the wood or paint that are venerated, but rather God is through the individual (or event) portrayed.

Large icons can be found adorning the walls of churches and often cover the inside structure completely. Orthodox homes often likewise have icons hanging on the wall, usually together on an eastern facing wall, and in a central location where the family can pray together.

Icons are often illuminated with a candle or oil lamp. (Beeswax for candles and olive oil for lamps are preferred because they are natural and burn cleanly.) Besides the practical purpose of making icons visible in an otherwise dark church, both candles and oil lamps symbolize the Light of the World which is Christ
Christ
Christ is the English term for the Greek meaning "the anointed one". It is a translation of the Hebrew , usually transliterated into English as Messiah or Mashiach...

.

Tales of miraculous icons that moved, spoke, cried, bled, or gushed fragrant myrrh are not uncommon, though it has always been considered that the message of such an event was for the immediate faithful involved and therefore does not usually attract crowds. Some miraculous icons whose reputations span long periods of time nevertheless become objects of pilgrimage
Pilgrimage
A pilgrimage is a journey or search of great moral or spiritual significance. Typically, it is a journey to a shrine or other location of importance to a person's beliefs and faith...

 along with the places where they are kept.

See also

  • List of heads of Serbian Orthodox Church
  • List of Serbian Orthodox monasteries
  • List of Serbian saints
  • Peter II of Yugoslavia
  • Serbian monasteries
    Serbian monasteries
    Serb Orthodox monasteries are found throughout Serbia, Croatia, Bosnia, Greece, Macedonia, Montenegro, Canada and the United States. This foundation of monasteries followed the forming of the first semi-independent Serbian states starting in the 10th century...


Sources

  • Conflict in the Former Yugoslavia: An Encyclopedia, John B. Allcock et al., 1998
  • Encyclopædia Britannica, 2005
  • Православље и екуменизам : зборник текстова, ed. Aleksandar Djakovac, Hrišćanski kulturni centar, Beograd 2005.
  • Kurta, F. 2001, "Limes and cross: The religious dimension of the sixth-century Danube frontier of the Early Byzantine Empire", Starinar, no. 51, pp. 45-70.


External links