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The SERBIAN ORTHODOX CHURCH (Serbian : Српска православна црква/Srpska pravoslavna crkva) is one of the autocephalous Eastern Orthodox
Eastern Orthodox
Christian Churches . It is the second oldest Slavic Orthodox Church in the world (after the Bulgarian Orthodox Church ).

The Serbian Orthodox Church
Serbian Orthodox Church
comprises the majority of population in Serbia
Serbia
, Montenegro
Montenegro
, and the Republika Srpska
Republika Srpska
entity of Bosnia and Herzegovina
Herzegovina
. It is organized into metropolises and eparchies located primarily in Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro
Montenegro
and Croatia
Croatia
, but also all over the world where Serb diaspora lives.

The Serbian Orthodox Church
Serbian Orthodox Church
is an autocephalous , or ecclesiastically independent, member of the Eastern Orthodox
Eastern Orthodox
communion . Serbian Patriarch
Patriarch
serves as first among equals in his church; the current patriarch is Irinej . The Church achieved autocephalous status in 1219 under the leadership of St. Sava , becoming independent Archbishopric of Žiča . Its status was elevated to that of a patriarchate in 1346, and was known afterwards as the Serbian Patriarchate
Patriarchate
of Peć . This patriarchate was abolished by the Ottoman Turks in 1766. The modern Serbian Orthodox Church
Serbian Orthodox Church
was re-established in 1920 after the unification of the Patriarchate
Patriarchate
of Karlovci , the Metropolitanate of Belgrade
Belgrade
and the Metropolitanate of Montenegro
Montenegro
.

CONTENTS

* 1 Historical background

* 1.1 Early Christianity
Christianity
* 1.2 Christianization of Serbs
Serbs
* 1.3 Archbishopric of Ohrid (1018–1219)

* 2 History

* 2.1 Autocephalous Archbishopric
Archbishopric
(1219–1346) * 2.2 Medieval Patriarchate
Patriarchate
(1346–1463) * 2.3 Renewed Patriarchate
Patriarchate
(1557–1766) * 2.4 Church in the Habsburg Monarchy * 2.5 Modern history

* 3 Adherents

* 4 Structure

* 4.1 Territorial organisation

* 4.1.1 Autonomous Archbishopric of Ohrid

* 5 Worship, liturgy and doctrine

* 5.1 Inter-Christian relations

* 6 Art

* 6.1 Architecture * 6.2 Icons

* 7 Insignia * 8 See also * 9 References * 10 Sources * 11 External links

HISTORICAL BACKGROUND

EARLY CHRISTIANITY

Christianity
Christianity
spread to the Balkans
Balkans
beginning in the 1st century. Florus and Laurus are venerated as Christian martyrs of the 2nd century; they were murdered along with 300 Christians
Christians
in Lipljan
Lipljan
. Constantine the Great (306–337), born in Niš
Niš
, was the first Christian Roman Emperor
Roman Emperor
. Several bishops seated in what is today Serbia
Serbia
participated in the First Council of Nicaea (325), such as Ursacius of Singidunum . In 380, Eastern Roman Emperor
Roman Emperor
Theodosius decreed that his subjects would be Christians
Christians
according to the Council of Nicea formula. Greek was used in the Byzantine church, while the Roman church used Latin. With the definite split in 395, the line in Europe ran south along the Drina river . Tim Judah says that the Roman split resulted in that Serbs
Serbs
are Orthodox and the Croats Catholic. Among old Christian heritage is the Archbishopric
Archbishopric
of Justiniana Prima , established in 535, which had jurisdiction over the whole of present-day Serbia. However, the Archbishopric
Archbishopric
did not last, as the Slavs and Avars destroyed the region sometime after 602, when the last mention is made of it. In 731 Leo III attached Illyricum and Southern Italy (Sicily and Calabria) to Patriarch
Patriarch
Anastasius of Constantinople , transferring the papal authority to the Eastern Church.

CHRISTIANIZATION OF SERBS

Slavs invaded and settled the Balkans
Balkans
in the 6th and 7th centuries. The history of the early medieval Serbian Principality is recorded in the work De Administrando Imperio
De Administrando Imperio
(DAI), compiled by the Byzantine Emperor Constantine VII Porphyrogenitus (r. 913–959). The DAI drew information on the Serbs
Serbs
from, among others, a Serbian source. The Serbs
Serbs
were said to have received the protection of Emperor Heraclius (r. 610–641), and Porphyrogenitus stressed that the Serbs
Serbs
had always been under Imperial rule. His account on the first Christianization of the Serbs
Serbs
can be dated to 632–638; this might have been Porphyrogenitus' construction, or may have really taken place, encompassing a limited group of chiefs and then very poorly received by the wider layers of the tribe. The establishment of Christianity as state religion dates to the time of Prince Mutimir (r. 851–891) and Byzantine Emperor
Byzantine Emperor
Basil I (r. 867–886); Porphyrogenitus attests that Croats and Serbs
Serbs
sent delegates asking for baptism, thus Basil "baptized all of them that were unbaptized of the aforesaid nations". The Christianization was due partly to Byzantine and subsequent Bulgarian influence. At least during the rule of Kocel (861–874) in Pannonia, communications between Serbia
Serbia
and Great Moravia, where Methodius was active, must have been possible. This fact, the pope was presumably aware of, when planning Methodius' diocese as well as that of the Dalmatian coast, which was in Byzantine hands as far north as Split . There is a possibility that some Cyrillomethodian pupils reached Serbia
Serbia
in the 870s, perhaps even sent by Methodius himself. Serbia
Serbia
was accounted Christian as of about 870.

The first Serbian bishopric was founded at Ras , near modern Novi Pazar on the Ibar river . According to Vlasto, the initial affiliation is uncertain; it may have been under the subordination of either Split or Durazzo, both then Byzantine. The early Ras church 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 names of Serbian rulers through Mutimir (r. 851–891) are Slavic dithematic names , per the Old Slavic tradition. With Christianization in the 9th century, Christian names appear. The next generations of Serbian royalty had Christian names (Petar, Stefan, Pavle, Zaharije, etc.), evident of strong Byzantine missions in the 870s. Petar Gojniković (r. 892–917) was evidently a Christian prince, and Christianity
Christianity
presumably was spreading in his time; also since Serbia bordered Bulgaria, Christian influences and perhaps missionaries came from there, increasing during the twenty-year peace. The Bulgarian annexation of Serbia
Serbia
in 924 was important for the future direction of the Serbian church, and by then, at latest, Serbia
Serbia
must have received the Cyrillic alphabet and Slavic religious text, already familiar but perhaps not yet preferred to Greek.

ARCHBISHOPRIC OF OHRID (1018–1219)

Main article: Archbishopric of Ohrid

In 1018–19, the Archbishopric of Ohrid was established after the Byzantines conquered Bulgaria . Greek replaced Slavic as the liturgical language. Serbia
Serbia
was ecclesiastically administered into several bishoprics: the bishopric of Ras , mentioned in the first charter of Basil II (r. 976–1025), became part of the Ohrid archbishopric and encompassed the areas of southern Serbia, by the rivers Raška , Ibar and Lim, evident in the second charter of Basil II. In the chrysobulls of Basil II dated to 1020, the Ras bishopric is mentioned as serving the whole of Serbia, with the seat at the Church of the Holy Apostles Peter and Paul, Ras . Among the first bishops were Leontius (fl. 1123-1126), Cyril (fl. 1141–1143), Euthemius (fl. 1170) and Kalinik (fl. 1196). It later joined the autocephalous Archbishopric of Žiča in 1219, at the time of Saint Sava.

The 10th- or 11th-century Gospel Book Codex Marianus , written in Old Church Slavonic
Church Slavonic
in the Glagolithic script, is one of the oldest known Slavic manuscripts and was partly written in the Serbian redaction of Old Church Slavonic
Church Slavonic
. Other early manuscripts include 11th-century Grškovićev odlomak Apostola and Mihanovićev odlomak .

HISTORY

AUTOCEPHALOUS ARCHBISHOPRIC (1219–1346)

This section MAY BE TOO LONG AND EXCESSIVELY DETAILED. Please consider summarizing the material while citing sources as needed. (February 2015)

Saint Sava , first Serbian archbishop

Serbian prince Rastko Nemanjić , the son of Stefan Nemanja , took monastic vows at Mount Athos as Sava (Sabbas) in 1192. Three years later, his father joined him, taking monastic vows as Simeon. Father and son asked of the Holy Community that the Serbian religious centre be founded at the abandoned site of Hilandar , which they renovated, marking the beginning of a renaissance (in arts , literature and religion ). Sava's father died at Hilandar in 1199, and was canonised as St. Simeon. Sava stayed for some years, rising in rank, then returned to Serbia
Serbia
in 1207, taking with him the remains of his father, which he interred at the Studenica monastery
Studenica monastery
, after reconciling his two quarreling brothers Stefan II with Vukan . Stefan II asked him to remain in Serbia
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
Archbishop
of the Serbian church, and was given autocephaly by Patriarch Manuel I of Constantinople , who was then in exile at Nicaea . In the same year Sava published Zakonopravilo (St. Sava's Nomocanon). Thus the Serbs
Serbs
acquired both forms of independence: political and religious. After this, in Serbia, he stayed in Studenica and continued to educate the Serbian people in 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
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 .

The following seats were newly created in the time of Saint Sava:

* Žiča, the seat of the Archbishop
Archbishop
at Monastery of Žiča ; * Eparchy of Zeta (Zetska), seated at Monastery of Holy Archangel Michael in Prevlaka
Prevlaka
near Kotor
Kotor
in Zeta region; * Eparchy of Hum (Humska), seated at Monastery of the Holy Mother of God in Ston
Ston
, in Hum region; * Eparchy of Dabar (Dabarska), seated at Monastery of St. Nicholas in Dabar region; * Eparchy of Moravica (Moravička), seated at Monastery of St. Achillius in Moravica region; * Eparchy of Budimlja (Budimljanska), seated at Monastery of St. George in Budimlja region; * Eparchy of Toplica (Toplička), seated at Monastery of St. Nicholas in Toplica region; * Eparchy of Hvosno (Hvostanska), seated at Monastery of the Holy Mother of God in Hvosno region (northern Metohija ).

Older eparchies under the jurisdiction of Serbian Archbishop
Archbishop
were:

* Eparchy of Ras (Raška), seated at Church of the Holy Apostles Peter and Paul near Ras in Raška region; * Eparchy of Lipljan
Lipljan
(Lipljanska), seated at Lipljan
Lipljan
in Kosovo region; * Eparchy of Prizren (Prizrenska), seated at Prizren
Prizren
in the south of Metohija region.

In 1229/1233, Saint Sava went on a pilgrimage to Palestine and in Jerusalem
Jerusalem
he met with Patriarch
Patriarch
Athanasios II. Sava saw Bethlehem where Jesus
Jesus
was born, the Jordan River where Christ
Christ
was baptised, and the Great Lavra of Saint Sabbas the Sanctified ( 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
. His request was accepted and he was offered the monasteries of Saint John the Theologian on Mount Sion and St. George\'s Monastery on Akona, both to be inhabited by Serbian monks. The icon Trojerucica (Three-handed Theotokos
Theotokos
), a gift to the Great Lavra from St. John Damascene , was given to Sava and he, in turn, bequeathed it to Hilandar .

Sava died in Trnovo , capital of the Second Bulgarian Empire
Second Bulgarian Empire
, during the reign of Ivan Asen II of Bulgaria
Ivan Asen II of Bulgaria
. According to his Life
Life
, he fell ill following the Divine Liturgy on the Feast of the Epiphany
Feast of the Epiphany
, 12 January 1235. Sava was visiting Trnovo on his way back from the Holy Land
Holy Land
, where he had founded a hospice for Syrian pilgrims in Jerusalem
Jerusalem
and arranged for Serbian monks to be welcomed in the established monasteries there. He died of pneumonia 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 Monastery of Peć by archbishop Arsenije. The Serbian primates had since moved between the two. Sometime between 1276-1292 the Cumans 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 , were transferred to Peć.

MEDIEVAL PATRIARCHATE (1346–1463)

Patriarchate
Patriarchate
of Peć in Kosovo
Kosovo
, the seat of the Serbian Orthodox Church from the 14th century when its status was upgraded into a patriarchate Main article: Serbian Patriarchate
Patriarchate
of Peć

The status of the Serbian Orthodox Church
Serbian Orthodox Church
grew along with the expansion and heightened prestige of the Serbian kingdom . After King Stefan Dušan assumed the imperial title of tsar , the Serbian Archbishopric
Archbishopric
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 at Mount Athos.

On April 16, 1346 ( Easter
Easter
), Stefan Dušan convoked a grand assembly at Skopje
Skopje
, attended by the Serbian Archbishop
Archbishop
Joanikije II , Archbishop
Archbishop
Nicholas I of Ohrid , Patriarch
Patriarch
Simeon of Bulgaria and various religious leaders of Mount Athos . The assembly and clergy agreed on, and then ceremonially performed the raising of the autocephalous Serbian Archbishopric
Archbishopric
to the status of Patriarchate. The Archbishop
Archbishop
was from now on titled Serbian Patriarch, although some documents called him Patriarch
Patriarch
of Serbs
Serbs
and Greeks, with the seat at Patriarchal Monastery of Peć . The new Patriarch
Patriarch
Joanikije II now solemnly crowned Stefan Dušan as "Emperor and autocrat of Serbs
Serbs
and Romans " (see Emperor of Serbs
Serbs
). The Patriarchal status resulted in raising bishoprics to metropolitanates, as for example the Metropolitanate of Skopje
Skopje
. The Patriarchate
Patriarchate
took over sovereignty on Mt. Athos and the Greek archbishoprics under the jurisdiction of the Patriarchate
Patriarchate
of Constantinople (the Archbishopric of Ohrid remained autocephalous), which resulted in Dušan's excommunication by Patriarch
Patriarch
Callistus I of Constantinople in 1350.

RENEWED PATRIARCHATE (1557–1766)

Serbian Patriarchate
Patriarchate
of Peć (16th-17th century). Main article: Serbian Patriarchate
Patriarchate
of Peć

The Ottoman Empire
Ottoman Empire
finally conquered Serbian Despotate in 1459, Bosnian Kingdom in 1463, Herzegovina
Herzegovina
in 1482 and Montenegro
Montenegro
in 1499. All of the conquered lands were divided in sanjaks . Although some Serbs
Serbs
converted to Islam
Islam
, 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 Serbian Patriarch Arsenije II in 1463, a successor was not elected. The Patriarchate
Patriarchate
was thus de facto abolished, and the Serbian Church passed under the jurisdiction of Archbishopric
Archbishopric
of Ohrid and ultimately the Ecumenical Patriarchate
Patriarchate
which exercised jurisdiction over all Orthodox of the Ottoman Empire
Ottoman Empire
under the millet system.

After the failed attempt by Pavle, Archbishop of Peć around 1530-1540, the Serbian Patriarchate
Patriarchate
was finally restored in 1557 under the Sultan
Sultan
Suleiman II , thanks to the mediation of pasha Mehmed Sokolović who was Serbian by birth. His cousin, one of the Serbian Orthodox bishops Makarije Sokolović was elected Patriarch
Patriarch
in Peć. The restoration of the Patriarchate
Patriarchate
was of great importance for the Serbs
Serbs
because it helped the spiritual unification of all Serbs
Serbs
in the Ottoman Empire. The Patriarchate
Patriarchate
of Peć also included some dioceses in western Bulgaria. In the time of Serbian Patriarch Jovan Kantul (1592-1614), the Ottoman Turks took the remains of Saint Sava from monastery Mileševa to the Vračar hill in Belgrade
Belgrade
where they were burned by Sinan Pasha
Pasha
on a stake to intimidate the Serb people in case of revolts (see Banat Uprising ) (1594). The Temple of Saint Sava was built on the place where his remains were burned.

After consequent Serbian uprisings against the Turkish occupiers in which the Church had a leading role, the Ottomans abolished the Patriarchate
Patriarchate
once again in 1766. The Church returned once more under the jurisdiction of the Ecumenical Patriarch
Patriarch
of Constantinople. This period of rule by the so-called " Phanariots " was a period of great spiritual decline because the Greek bishops had very little understanding of their Serbian flock.

CHURCH IN THE HABSBURG MONARCHY

The Great Serb Migrations , led by Patriarch
Patriarch
Arsenije III Carnojevic , 17th century. Main articles: Metropolitanate of Karlovci and Patriarchate
Patriarchate
of Karlovci

During this period, many Christians
Christians
across the Balkans
Balkans
converted to Islam
Islam
to avoid severe taxes imposed by the Turks in retaliation for uprisings and continued resistance. Many Serbs
Serbs
migrated with their hierarchs to Habsburg Monarchy where they had been granted autonomy. In 1708, an autonomous Serbian Orthodox Metropolitanate of Karlovci was created, that would later become a patriarchate (1848-1920).

MODERN HISTORY

The church's close association with Serbian resistance to Ottoman rule led to Eastern Orthodoxy
Orthodoxy
becoming inextricably linked with Serbian national identity and the new Serbian monarchy that emerged from 1817 onwards. The Serbian Orthodox Church
Serbian Orthodox Church
in Serbia
Serbia
finally regained its independence and became autocephalous in 1879, the year after the recognition by the Great Powers of Serbia
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
Patriarchate
of Karlovci in the Habsburg Monarchy and the Metropolitanate of Belgrade
Belgrade
in the Kingdom of Serbia
Serbia
. The Cetinje Metropolitanate of the Kingdom of Montenegro
Montenegro
preserved traditions of the Serbian Patriarchate
Patriarchate
of Peć , its metropolitans (vladika) were titled "Exarchs of the Peć Throne"

After World War I
World War I
all the Orthodox Serbs
Serbs
were united under one ecclesiastical authority, and two Serbian churches were united into the single Serbian Orthodox Church
Serbian Orthodox Church
in 1920 with the election of Serbian Patriarch Dimitrije . It gained great political and social influence in the inter-war Kingdom of Yugoslavia
Kingdom of Yugoslavia
, during which time it successfully campaigned against the Yugoslav government's intentions of signing a concordat with the Holy See
Holy See
.

United Serbian Orthodox Church
Serbian Orthodox Church
kept under its jurisdiction the Eparchy of Buda in Hungary. In 1921, Serbian Orthodox Church
Serbian Orthodox Church
created a new eparchy for the Czech lands , headed by bishop Gorazd Pavlik . In the same time, Serbian Church in diaspora was reorganized, and eparchy (diocese) for the United States
United States
and Canada was created. In 1931 another diocese was created, called Eparchy of Mukačevo and Prešov , for Eastern Orthodox
Eastern Orthodox
Christians
Christians
in Slovakia
Slovakia
and Carpathian Rusynia .

During the Second World War
Second World War
the Serbian Orthodox Church
Serbian Orthodox Church
suffered severely from persecutions by the occupying powers and the rabidly anti-Serbian Ustaše regime of Independent State of Croatia
Croatia
, which sought to create a " Croatian Orthodox Church " which Orthodox Serbs were forced to join. Many Serbs
Serbs
were killed during the war; bishops and priests of the Serbian Orthodox Church
Serbian Orthodox Church
were singled out for persecution, and many Orthodox churches were damaged or destroyed. Cathedral of Saint Sava , one of the largest Orthodox building in the world, being built continuously since the end of the 1980s on the site where relics of Saint Sava were desecrated by the Ottomans

After the war the Church was suppressed by the communist government of Josip Broz Tito , which viewed it with suspicion due to the Church's links with the exiled Serbian monarchy and the nationalist Chetnik
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.

In 1963, Serbian Church in diaspora was reorganized, and eparchy for the United States
United States
and Canada was divided into three eprchies. In the same time, some internal divisions sparked in Serbian diaspora, leading to the creation of the separate "Free Serbian Orthodox Church". Division was healed in 1991, and Metropolitanate of New Gračanica was created, within the united Serbian Orthodox Church.

The gradual demise of Yugoslav communism and the rise of rival nationalist movements during the 1980s also led to a marked religious revival throughout Yugoslavia, not least in Serbia. The Serbian Patriarch
Patriarch
Pavle , supported the opposition to Slobodan Milošević
Slobodan Milošević
in the 1990s.

The Macedonian Orthodox Church
Macedonian Orthodox Church
was created in 1967, effectively as an offshoot of the Serbian Orthodox Church
Serbian Orthodox Church
in what was then the Socialist Republic of Macedonia
Republic of Macedonia
, as part of the Yugoslav drive to build up a Macedonian national identity . 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 have also gained ground in recent years. The Yugoslav wars gravely impacted several branches of the Serbian Orthodox Church. Many Serbian Orthodox Church
Serbian Orthodox Church
clergy supported the war, while others were against it.

Many churches in Croatia
Croatia
were damaged or destroyed during the Croatian War (1991–95). The bishops and priests and most faithful of the eparchies of Zagreb
Zagreb
, of Karlovac
Karlovac
, of Slavonia and of Dalmatia became refugees. The latter three were almost completely abandoned after the exodus of the Serbs
Serbs
from Croatia
Croatia
in 1995 ( Operation Storm ). The eparchy of Dalmatia also had its see temporarily moved to Knin after the Republic of Serbian Krajina was established. The eparchy of Slavonia had its see moved from Pakrac to Daruvar . After Operation Storm , two monasteries were particularly damaged, the Krupa monastery built in 1317, and the Krka monastery built in 1345.

The eparchies of Bihać and Petrovac, Dabar-Bosnia and Zvornik and Tuzla were also dislocated due to the war in Bosnia and Herzegovina
Bosnia and Herzegovina
. The eparchy see of Dabar-Bosnia was temporarily moved to Sokolac
Sokolac
, and the see of Zvornik-Tuzla to Bijeljina . Over a hundred Church-owned objects in the Zvornik-Tuzla eparchy were destroyed or damaged during the war. Many monasteries and churches in the Zahumlje eparchy were also destroyed. Numerous faithful from these eparchies also became refugees. LEFT: Destroyed Serbian Orthodox Holy Trinity Church in Petrić village RIGHT: Devič monastery after it was burned down in 2004 unrest in Kosovo
Kosovo
.

By 1998 the situation had stabilized in both countries. Most of the property of the Serbian Orthodox Church
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
Karlovac
in Karlovac
Karlovac
. The return of the Serbian Orthodox Church faithful also started, but they are not nearly close to their pre-war numbers, as of 2004.

Due to the Kosovo
Kosovo
War , after 1999 numerous Serbian Orthodox holy sites in the province were left occupied only by clergy. Since the arrival of NATO
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
Kosovo
, 35 Serbian Orthodox churches and monasteries were damaged and some destroyed by Albanian mobs. Thousands of Serbs
Serbs
were forced to move from Kosovo
Kosovo
due to the numerous attacks of Kosovo
Kosovo
Albanians on Serbian churches and Serbs.

The process of church reorganization in diaspora and full reintegration of the Metropolitanate of New Gračanica was completed from 2009 to 2011. By that, full structural unity of Serbian church institutions in diaspora was achieved.

ADHERENTS

Based on the official census results in countries which encompass territorial canonic jurisdiction of the Serbian Orthodox Church (basically former Yugoslavia), there are more than 8 million adherents of the church. Orthodoxy
Orthodoxy
is the largest single religious faith in Serbia
Serbia
with 6,079,296 adherents (84.5% of the population belonging to it) according to the 2011 census, and in Montenegro
Montenegro
with 460,383 (74%). It is the second largest faith in Bosnia and Herzegovina
Bosnia and Herzegovina
with 31.2% of adherents, and in Croatia
Croatia
with 4.4% of adherents. Figures for eparchies abroad (Western Europe, North America, and Australia) is unknown although some estimates can be reached based on the size of Serb diaspora , which numbers over 2 million people.

STRUCTURE

The head of the Serbian Orthodox Church, the patriarch , also serves as the head (metropolitan ) of the Metropolitanate of Belgrade
Belgrade
and Karlovci . Irinej became patriarch on 22 January 2010. Serbian Orthodox patriarchs use the style His Holiness the Archbishop
Archbishop
of Peć, Metropolitan of Belgrade
Belgrade
and Karlovci, Serbian Patriarch.

The highest body of the Church is the Holy assembly of Bishops (Serbian : Sveti arhijerejski sabor, Свети архијерејски сабор). It consists of the Patriarch, the Metropolitans , Bishops , Archbishop
Archbishop
of Ohrid and Vicar Bishops. It meets twice a year - in spring and in autumn. The Holy assembly of Bishops makes important decisions for the church and elects the patriarch.

The executive body of the Serbian Orthodox Church
Serbian Orthodox Church
is the Holy Synod . It has five members: four bishops and the patriarch. The Holy Synod takes care of the everyday operation of the Church, holding meetings on regular basis. Eparchies
Eparchies
of the Serbian Orthodox Church
Serbian Orthodox Church
in Serbian autochthonous region of Western Balkans
Balkans

TERRITORIAL ORGANISATION

Further information: List of Eparchies
Eparchies
of the Serbian Orthodox Church

The territory of the Serbian Orthodox Church
Serbian Orthodox Church
is divided into:

* 1 patriarchal eparchy , headed by Serbian Patriarch * 4 eparchies that are honorary metropolitanates , headed by metropolitans * 35 eparchies (dioceses ), headed by bishops * 1 autonomous archbishopric , headed by archbishop , the Autonomous Archbishopric of Ohrid . It is further divided into 1 eparchy headed by the metropolitan and 6 eparchies headed by bishops.

Dioceses are further divided into episcopal deaneries , each consisting of several church congregations and/or parishes . 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.

Autonomous Archbishopric
Archbishopric
Of Ohrid

The Autonomous Archbishopric of Ohrid or Orthodox Ohrid Archbishopric is an autonomous archbishopric in the Republic of Macedonia
Republic of Macedonia
under the jurisdiction of the Serbian Orthodox Church. It was formed in 2002 in opposition to the Macedonian Orthodox Church
Macedonian Orthodox Church
, which had had a similar relationship with the Serbian Orthodox Church
Serbian Orthodox Church
prior to 1967, when it unilaterally declared itself autocephalous . This archbishopric is divided into one metropolitanate, Skopje
Skopje
, and the six eparchies of Bregalnica , Debar and Kičevo , Polog and Kumanovo , Prespa and Pelagonija , Strumica and Veles and Povardarje .

WORSHIP, LITURGY AND DOCTRINE

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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 is the celebration of the Eucharist. The Divine Liturgy is not celebrated on weekdays during the preparatory season of Great Lent . Communion is consecrated on Sundays and distributed during the week at the Liturgy of the Presanctified Gifts . Services, especially the Divine Liturgy, can only be performed once a day on any particular altar.

The Serbian Orthodox Church
Serbian Orthodox Church
is characterized by monotheistic Trinitarianism , a belief in the Incarnation of the Logos
Logos
(Son of God ), a balancing of cataphatic theology with apophatic theology , a hermeneutic defined by Sacred Tradition , a concrete ecclesiology , a robust theology of the person , and a therapeutic soteriology .

A key part of the Serbian Orthodox religion is the Slava , a celebration of the Clan Patron Saint, placed into Serb Orthodox religious canon by the first Serb archbishop Saint Sava .

INTER-CHRISTIAN RELATIONS

The Serbian Orthodox Church
Serbian Orthodox Church
is in full communion with the Ecumenical Patriarchate
Patriarchate
of Constantinople (which holds a special place of honour within Orthodoxy
Orthodoxy
and serves as the seat for the Ecumenical Patriarch, who enjoys the status of first-among-equals ) and all of the autocephalous Eastern Orthodox
Eastern Orthodox
church bodies. It is a member of the World Council of Churches since 1965, and of the Conference of European Churches .

The Serbian Orthodox Church
Serbian Orthodox Church
is currently in conflict with the non-canonical Macedonian Orthodox Church
Macedonian Orthodox Church
and the Montenegrin Orthodox Church . An example of the Serbo-Byzantine style in the Gračanica monastery ( World Heritage Site
World Heritage Site
).

ART

ARCHITECTURE

See also: Serbian architecture "A Portrait of the Evangelist", a miniature from the Radoslav Gospel (1429).

Serbian medieval churches were built in the Byzantine spirit. The Raška style refers to the Serbian architecture from the 12th to the end of the 14th century (Studenica , Hilandar , Žiča ). The Vardal style , which is the typical one, was developed in the late 13th century combining Byzantine and Serbian influences to form a new architectural style (Gračanica , Patriarchal Monastery of Peć ). By the time of the Serbian Empire , the Serbian state had enlarged itself over Macedonia , Epirus
Epirus
and Thessaly
Thessaly
all the way to the Aegean Sea
Aegean Sea
, which resulted in stronger influences from Byzantine art tradition. The Morava style refers to the period of the fall of Serbia
Serbia
under the Ottoman Empire, from 1371 to 1459 ( Ravanica , Ljubostinja , Kalenić , Resava ).

During the 17th century many of the Serbian Orthodox churches that were built in Belgrade
Belgrade
took all the characteristics of baroque churches built in the Habsburg-occupied regions where Serbs
Serbs
lived. The churches usually had a bell tower, and a single nave building with the iconostasis inside the church covered with Renaissance
Renaissance
-style paintings. These churches can be found in Belgrade
Belgrade
and Vojvodina, which were occupied by the Austrian Empire from 1717 to 1739, and on the border with Austrian (later Austria-Hungary ) across the Sava and Danube rivers from 1804 when Serbian statehood was re-established.

ICONS

Icons are replete with symbolism meant to convey far more meaning than simply the identity of the person depicted, and it is for this reason that Orthodox iconography has become an exacting science of copying older icons rather than an opportunity for artistic expression. The personal, idiosyncratic and creative traditions of Western European religious art are largely lacking in Orthodox iconography before the 17th century, when Russian and Serbian icon painting was influenced by religious paintings and engravings from Europe.

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.

INSIGNIA

Flag of the Serbian Orthodox Church
Serbian Orthodox Church

The Serbian tricolour with a Serbian cross
Serbian cross
is used as the official flag of the Serbian Orthodox Church. A number of other unofficial variant flags, some with variations of the cross, coat of arms, or both, exist.

SEE ALSO

* List of heads of Serbian Orthodox Church * List of Serbian Orthodox monasteries * List of Serbian saints

REFERENCES

* ^ http://www.oikoumene.org/en/member-churches/regions/europe/serbia/serbian-orthodox-church.html Archived February 8, 2013, at the Wayback Machine . * ^ Douglas Johnston; Cynthia Sampson (1995). Religion, the Missing Dimension of Statecraft. Oxford University Press. p. 330. ISBN 978-0-19-510280-2 . 12 million Serbian Orthodox Christians
Christians
worldwide * ^ Judah, Tim. The Serbs. p. 44. ISBN 978-0-300-15826-7 . * ^ Fine 1991 , p. 116. * ^ Treadgold, Warren (1997). A History of the Byzantine State and Society. Stanford: University of Stanford Press. pp. 354–355. ISBN 0-8047-2630-2 . * ^ Živković 2006 , p. 23. * ^ Živković 2006 , p. 15. * ^ Живковић 2002 , pp. 207–209. * ^ A B C D E F G H I J K L Vlasto 1970 , p. 208. * ^ Moravcsik 1967 . * ^ SANU (1995). Glas. 377–381. SANU. p. 37. * ^ Fine 1991 , p. 141. * ^ Fine 1991 , pp. 141–142. * ^ Vlasto 1970 , p. 209. * ^ V. Jagić, Quattuor Evangeliorum versionis palaeoslovenicae Codex Marianus Glagoliticus, (Berlin: Weidmann, 1883; reprint Graz: Akademsiche Druck, 1960). * ^ Vlasto 1970 , p. 218. * ^ A B C D E F G Radić 2010 . * ^ Silvio Ferrari, W. Cole Durham, Elizabeth A. Sewell, Law and religion in post-communist Europe, 2003, p. 295. ISBN 978-90-429-1262-5 * ^ Vlasto 1970 , pp. 222, 233. * ^ A B István Vásáry, Cumans and Tatars: Oriental military in the pre-Ottoman Balkans, 1185-1365, p. 100-101 * ^ Serbia: the history behind the name, p. 11 * ^ Radivoje Ljubinković, The Church of the Apostles in the Patriarchate
Patriarchate
of Peć, p. viii * ^ Fine 1994 , pp. 309–310. * ^ Entangled Histories of the Balkans: Volume One: Roumen Daskalov, Tchavdar Marinov, Publisher BRILL, 2013, ISBN 9789004250765 , p. 29.

* ^ Paul Robert Magocsi: Historical Atlas of Central Europe, University of Toronto Press, 2002 "Even before the creation of a fully autocephalous Serbian Church in 1879, two other distinct Orthodoh bodies came into being in the Balkans." * ^ Vuković 1998 . * ^ Branka Pantic; Arsic Aleksandar; Miroslav Ivkovic; Milojkovic Jelena. "Republicki zavod za statistiku Srbije". Retrieved 5 March 2015. * ^ СВЕТИ АРХИЈЕРЕЈСКИ САБОР СРПСКЕ ПРАВОСЛАВНЕ ЦРКВЕ, the Serbian Orthodox Church
Serbian Orthodox Church
web site (in Serbian) * ^ See: List of Eparchies
Eparchies
of the Serbian Orthodox Church
Serbian Orthodox Church
* ^ Official SPC site: Eparchies
Eparchies
Links (in Serbian) * ^ Nikolić, Marko (2011). Ekumenski odnosi Srpske pravoslavne i Rimokatoličke crkve 1962-2000. godine . Belgrade: Službeni glasnik. p. 50. ISBN 978-86-519-0795-4 . * ^ Srpska pravoslavna crkva (1939). Законодавство Српске православне цркве. Издавачко и Књижарско Предузеће Г. Кон. p. 21. Застава Српске православне Цркве је тро- бојка: црвено-плаво-бело, са златним крстом и огњилима.

SOURCES

* Constantine VII Porphyrogenitus (1967). De Administrando Imperio (Moravcsik, Gyula ed.). Washington D.C.: Dumbarton Oaks Center for Byzantine Studies. (Primary) * Dučić, Nićifor (1894). Istorija Srpske pravoslavne crkve od prvijeh desetina VII v. do naših dana. Drž. stamp Kralj. Srbije. (in Serbian) * Durković-Jakšić, Ljubomir (1951). Iz istorije Srpske pravoslavne crkve. Izdavačko preduzeče Narodne Republike Srbije. (in Serbo-Croatian) * Слијепчевић, Ђоко М. (1962). Историја Српске православне цркве (History of the Serbian Orthodox Church). књ. 1. Минхен: Искра. * Слијепчевић, Ђоко М. (1966). Историја Српске православне цркве (History of the Serbian Orthodox Church). књ. 2. Минхен: Искра. * Слијепчевић, Ђоко М. (1986). Историја Српске православне цркве (History of the Serbian Orthodox Church). књ. 3. Келн: Искра. * Fine, John Van Antwerp, Jr. (1991). The Early Medieval Balkans: A Critical Survey from the Sixth to the Late Twelfth Century. Michigan: The University of Michigan Press. ISBN 0-472-08149-7 . * Fine, John Van Antwerp, Jr. (1994). The Late Medieval Balkans: A Critical Survey from the Late Twelfth Century to the Ottoman Conquest. Michigan: The University of Michigan Press. ISBN 0-472-08260-4 . * Vuković, Sava (1998). History of the Serbian Orthodox Church
Serbian Orthodox Church
in America and Canada 1891–1941. Kragujevac: Kalenić. * Marjanović, Čedomir (2001). Istorija Srpske crkve. Ars Libri. (in Serbian) * Mileusnić, Slobodan (2000) . Sveti Srbi. Novi Sad: Prometej. ISBN 86-7639-478-4 . OCLC 44601641 . (in Serbian) * Pavlovich, Paul (1989). The History of the Serbian Orthodox Church. Serbian Heritage Books. ISBN 978-0-9691331-2-4 . * Pavlowitch, Stevan K. (2002). Serbia: The History behind the Name. London: Hurst & Company. * Puzović, Predrag (2000). Kratka istorija Srpske pravoslavne crkve. Kalenić. (in Serbian) * Radmila Radić: Chapter 11 Serbian Christianity
Christianity
in Ken Parry(ed):The Blackwell Companion to Eastern Christianity, John Wiley ">(PDF). 3: 389–399. Pećska Patrijaršija (in Serbo-Croatian) * Stojančević, Vladimir (2006). Iz istorije Srpske pravoslavne crkve. Eparhija Niška. ISBN 978-86-903325-3-3 . (in Serbian) * Vlasto, A. P. (1970). The Entry of the Slavs into Christendom: An Introduction to the Medieval History of the Slavs. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 978-0-521-07459-9 . * Вуковић, Сава (1996). Српски јерарси од деветог до двадесетог века (Serbian Hierarchs from the 9th to the 20th Century). Евро, Унирекс, Каленић. * Živković, Tibor (2006). Portreti srpskih vladara (IX—XII vek). Belgrade. pp. 11–20. ISBN 86-17-13754-1 . (in Serbian) * Живковић, Тибор (2002). Јужни Словени под византијском влашћу 600-1025 (South Slavs under the Byzantine Rule 600-1025). Београд: Историјски институт САНУ, Службени гласник. * Живковић, Тибор (2004). Црквена организација у српским земљама: Рани средњи век (Organization of the Church in Serbian Lands: Early Middle Ages). Београд: Историјски институт САНУ, Службени гласник. * Ćirković, Sima (2004). The Serbs. Malden: Blackwell Publishing.

EXTERNAL LINKS

Wikimedia Commons has media related to SERBIAN ORTHODOX CHURCH .

* Official website * List of Serbian Orthodox shrines abroad * Svetosavlje.org (in Serbian) * Srpsko Blago Serbian Treasure site - photos, QTVR and movies of Serbian monasteries and Serbian Orthodox art * Article on the Serbian Orthodox Church
Serbian Orthodox Church
by Ronald Roberson on the CNEWA website * Article on the medieval history of the Serbian Orthodox Church
Serbian Orthodox Church
in the repository of the Institute for Byzantine Studies of the Austrian Academy of Sciences (in German) * Serbian Orthodox holy sites in Kosovo

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Serbian Orthodox Church
Serbian Orthodox Church

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Serbian Orthodox Church
Serbian Orthodox Church
overview topics

OVERVIEW TOPICS

* Patriarchs (current ) * Holy Synod * Serbian saints *