New Cultural and Political Perspectives on Serbian-Romanian Relations

by Aleksandra Djurić Milovanović (Volume editor) Jovana Kolundžija (Volume editor) Mircea Măran (Volume editor) Otilia Hedeșan (Volume editor) Christene D'Anca (Volume editor)
©2024 Edited Collection VIII, 380 Pages
Series: South-East European History, Volume 10


Initiated by the Balkan History Association, this unique interdisciplinary volume explores the complex history of cultural, diplomatic and religious relations between Serbia and Romania during the late nineteenth and twentieth century. The authors, scholars with a wide range of academic backgrounds, address these themes in the context of Austro-Hungarian imperialism, the interwar period and the Communist era. The essays in Part I examine diplomatic, political and military relations, while those in Part II explore intellectual and artistic links between the two countries, including religion, literature and the visual arts.
This is a landmark publication, the first of its kind in English, and will leave readers with a more comprehensive understanding of cultural and political relations in Southeastern Europe.
"This volume, the first of its kind, covers political diplomatic, cultural and religious relations between the Romania and Serbia, seen through the processes that shaped the two nations over the past two centuries, but also through case studies of prominent diplomats, educators, artists, rulers and statesmen. The result is a comprehensive survey of Romanian-Serbian relations based on serious archival research, leading to new and more inclusive perspectives. I am quite convinced that the collection will become a standard guide for all those interested in the relations between Serbs and Romanians."
—Prof. Slobodan G. Markovich, University of Belgrade
"Historically, relations between neighboring nations and the people who populated them, have at various points been plagued by conflict. Yet it is difficult to cast complete blame on either side as it can be surmised that the actions taken were a result of people subject to their times. However, aside from confrontations, neighboring states also cooperated, fought together in the interest of common values, against invaders, while they also intermarried, thus enhancing both cultures. The present volume is a successful attempt by Romanian and Serbian specialists to find the political-diplomatic, cultural, and artistic interferences, that amounted to the elements of cooperation between Romanians and Serbs in the last centuries. Such instances of alliance, far from few in number, certainly prevailed in the history of the two nations, and they shaped the destiny of Romania and Serbia into the modern and contemporary eras."
—Prof. dr Ioan Bolovan, Institutul de Istorie “George Bariţ” Cluj-Napoca and University Babeș-Bolyai Cluj-Napoca

Table Of Contents

  • Cover
  • Title
  • Copyright
  • About the author
  • About the book
  • This eBook can be cited
  • Table of Contents
  • Introduction: New Cultural and Political Perspectives on Serbian-Romanian Relations
  • Part I Serbian-Romanian Relations—Historical and Diplomatic Contexts
  • The Idea of Nationality among Romanians in the Austro-Hungarian Monarchy: The Political Involvement of Vincențiu Babeș, Andrei, and Alexandru Mocsonyi as Representatives of the Banat Region
  • Romanians and Serbs in the Banat Military Border
  • Romanian-Serbian Relations Reflected in Vasile Popeangă’s Works. Historiographical Insight
  • Boško Čolak-Antić and Yugoslav-Romanian Relations
  • Maria of Yugoslavia: Romanian Princess, Yugoslav Queen
  • The First Yugoslav Ambassador: Jovan Dučić in Romania, 1937–1940
  • Josip Broz Tito, Petru Groza and Yugoslav-Romanian Relations 1945–1947
  • Tito’s and Ceauşescu’s Personal Contribution to the Development of Yugoslav-Romanian Cooperation in the Late 1960s and Early 1970s
  • Part II Serbian-Romanian Relations—Cultural, Artistic and Religious Studies Perspective
  • The Circulation of Icon Painters between Banat and Transylvania during the Eighteenth and Early Nineteenth Centuries
  • Stefan Tenecki: The Baroque Painter of Serbs and Romanians
  • Serbian Intellectuals from Arad, Personalities of Central Europe
  • Vladimir Dimitrijević and Serbian-Romanian Church Relations in the Late Nineteenth and Early Twentieth Centuries
  • Romanian-Serbian Literary Relations at the Beginning of the Millennium
  • In-between Local Identity and National Artistic Heritage. A Case Study: Naive Painting from Uzdin
  • Acknowledgments
  • Notes on Editors and Contributors
  • Index


Introduction: New Cultural and Political Perspectives on Serbian-Romanian Relations

Aleksandra Djurić Milovanović, Mircea Măran, Christene D’Anca

Serbs and Romanians have been cohabitating in Southeastern Europe for centuries, and as they share the historical circumstances of this particular area, in a wider international European context they also occupy a similar position in regard to economic, political, cultural, and religious characteristics, which throughout the nineteenth and twentieth centuries marked the era of the formation of European nations and national states. Serbian-Romanian relations have been the subject of numerous monographs and academic studies and have been expounded on by established researchers from Serbia and Romania. Serbian-Romanian historical and cultural ties constitute an important topic for research of dynamic and comparative processes of Southeast European past. When it comes to cultural, religious, and scholarly relations between Romanians and Serbs at the end of the eighteenth century and into the first half of the nineteenth, the most prolific author is the historian Nikola Gavrilović, with several monographs and studies concerning the subject.1 The renowned Romanian historian Nicolae Iorga also presented, in his numerous works, different aspects of the relations between these two nations. For example, the brochure published at the “Neamul Românesc” printing house in Vălenii de Munte in 1915 was in fact the proceedings from the conference held by Iorga in Craiova on November 22, 1915, in favor of the Serbian refugees who crossed into Romania as a result of the attack on the state by the Central Powers. Iorga’s numerous and extensive travel notes, along with those from other Romanian authors who traveled through Serbian counties, were presented in a volume of Rumunski putnici u Srbiji [Romanian travelers through Serbia], recently published in Serbian.2 Historian Miodrag Ciurușchin wrote about the relations between the two states in regard to the first military conflagration.3 Radu Flora, in addition to other contributions in the fields of linguistics, history, and cultural history, among others, also signed two general reference works on this topic,4 as well as produced several titles in which examples of the collaboration of certain personalities from the neighboring nations are discussed.5 The border issues in Banat after the end of the Great War were presented in Andrej Mitrović’s monograph, Demarcation of Yugoslavia with Romania and Hungary 1919–1920.6 The historian Gligor Popi, author of the monograph Jugoslovensko-rumunski odnosi 1918–1941, which was also his doctoral thesis that he defended at the University of Zagreb, dealt with Yugoslav-Romanian relations in the interwar period.7 Another historian, Milan Vanku, similarly covered the same period, but instead focused on the history of diplomacy in his monographs,8 which was the topic broached by the historian Vasile Rămneanțu as well.9 A contribution on the topic of Romanian-Serbian relations was also provided by the historian Ion Dejan, in his monograph, Cercetarea continu,10 and then by Miodrag Milin in a series of monographs on the topic of Serbian (Yugoslav)-Romanian relations in the modern and contemporary era, some of which he signed as the sole author, while others were composed together with Andrei Milin.11 Lastly, a notable addition from the field of ethnomusicology is Niță Frațilă’s monograph Vokalni muzički folklor Srba i Rumuna u Vojvodini.12 From ethnologic perspective studies of Mirjana Maluckov on Romanians in Vojvodina, represent one of the first ethnographic monographs on Romanian community.13 A significant contribution in the field of ethnology and especially ethnolinguistics have studies of Biljana Sikimić who focuses on Serbian minority in Romania and Romanian minority in Serbia from perspective of language and traditional culture.14 This list is by no means exhaustive, and numerous other authors have also published a series of articles and studies in which different aspects of Romanian-Serbian relations are presented, but we will limit the overview of previously published research as in many of the following chapters more detailed and comprehensive overviews can be found.

Found at the border of interference from the spheres of influence of two great empires—the Habsburg Monarchy and the Ottoman Empire—during a period of the awakening of national sentiments and the formation of nations, both Serbs and Romanians, not unlike the other peoples of the European Southeast, had a primary goal: survival, as well as the beginning of the struggle for national emancipation and, in time, for liberation from the foreign yoke.

The era of great revolutions that engulfed the Euro-Atlantic area in the last decades of the eighteenth century and the beginning of the nineteenth that were radiating the influence of Western European rationalism and enlightenment, especially the ideologies of the great French revolution, had an impact on the awakening of national sentiment among both Serbs and Romanians, ever-increasing their desire to free themselves from foreign rule and to form their own national states. An imported part of the Romanian people lived in the so-called Danubian principalities of Wallachia and Moldavia, found since the first decades of the eighteenth century in an unfavorable position as a result of the coming to power of the Phanariot regime, established by the Ottoman Porte. Even though they officially had statehood, this was noticeably minimized by the Phanariots who were completely submissive and faithful to the Ottoman sultan, so that the era of Phanariot rule (1714–1821) represents one of the most difficult periods in the history of the Romanian people. The Serbs, for their part, found themselves in an even more unfavorable position, directly subject to Ottoman rule, and in addition, at the beginning of the nineteenth century to the dahis who rebelled against the Sultan, who in turn introduced a reign of terror in the Belgrade Pashaluk as never before seen. The Serbs’ reaction was decided: in 1804 the First Serbian Uprising broke out as the first phase of the so-called Serbian Revolution, during which the Serbian people sought to free themselves from Ottoman rule and form their national state. The consequence of the First Uprising was the temporary creation of a national state and, later, after the Second Serbian Uprising, within a few decades, the formation in 1830 of the Principality of Serbia, autonomous and vassal to the Ottoman Empire, headed by Prince Miloš Obrenović, who had unlimited and hereditary power. Miloš profited from his position in Serbia and in a relatively short time became one of the richest Christians in the Balkan Peninsula, and despite the fact that in Miloš’s Serbia feudal relations were abolished, Serbia being the land of small freeholders, the prince himself had large tracts of land in Wallachia, retiring to his estates after leaving the Serbian throne in 1839. He remained there until his return to Serbia in 1858, following the Assembly of Saint Andrew.

Other Serbian leaders and chieftains also found refuge in the Romanian principalities during the turbulent years of the first decades of the nineteenth century. Karađorđe’s opponents during the First Uprising, voivodes Milenko Stojković and Petar Dobrnjac, after the decision of the People’s Assembly in which the Serbian leader’s adherents had the majority, left Serbia in favor of residing in the Romanian principalities the rest of their lives. Karađorđe himself, after the collapse of the First Serbian Uprising (1813), was exiled to Bessarabia, the southern territory of the principality of Moldavia that had been seized by Russia through the decisions of the Peace of Bucharest in 1812. Hadži Prodan Gligorijević, the leader of the anti-Ottoman revolt of 1814, after its failure also took refuge in Wallachia. During this century, numerous Serbian merchants settled in the cities of Wallachia and Moldavia where they opened their businesses, thus playing a dynamic role in the economic history of the Danube principalities.

Romanian-Serbian collaboration gained momentum during the reigns of Prince Mihajlo Obrenović in Serbia, and Alexandru Ioan Cuza in Romania, who, in 1859 became the first ruler of the unitary state. The relationship intensified during the reign of the last Obrenović, especially with the marriage of Prince Milan to the great granddaughter of the Moldavian prince Ioan Sturdza (1822–1828), Natalia Keschko (Cheșcu), who became the queen of Serbia. During the Great Eastern Crisis (1875–1878), both Romania and Serbia participated in the war against the Ottoman Empire, on the side of Russia, which following the victory resulted in the recognition of independence and the territorial expansion of both states, as brought about by the decisions of the Berlin Congress of 1878. Shortly after gaining full independence, both states were elevated to kingdom status, Romania in 1881 and Serbia in 1882.

During this period, both states pursued a policy of supporting Austria-Hungary. However, Serbia abandoned this policy following the May Uprising of 1903, when the ruling couple of Serbia, King Aleksandar Obrenović and Queen Draga Mašin, were killed. With King Peter I Karađorđević’s rise to power, there was a turning point in Serbia’s foreign policy, abandoning the Austrophile policy of the last Obrenović rulers and approaching Russia and France. The same approach was taken by Romania in 1916, during World War I, as the state sided with the Entente powers while declaring war on Austria-Hungary.

A distinct form of Serbian-Romanian cooperation was present in the areas under Habsburg rule in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, until the breakup of Austria-Hungary in 1918. For example, the Romanian Orthodox population of Transylvania and Banat was from an ecclesiastical point of view under the jurisdiction of the Serbian Orthodox Metropolitanate of Sremski Karlovci. This was primarily a result of the abolition of the Orthodox Metropolitanate of Transylvania and the transfer of a large number of Romanian parishioners from Transylvania to the united church. However, by granting privileges to the Serbian population settled in Southern Hungary during the Great Migration of the Serbs in 1690 under the leadership of Patriarch Arsenie III Čarnojević, privileges through which the Serbian Orthodox Church received the right to autonomy, it also implied the inclusion of the Romanian Orthodox population (those who did not join the Catholic Church) within the Serbian Metropolitanate which since 1713 had its headquarters in Sremski Karlovci. Romanian parishioners from the Habsburg Monarchy remained within the Metropolitanate of Sremski Karlovci until the end of 1864, when the Orthodox Metropolitanate for Romanians from Transylvania and Banat was established in the Habsburg Monarchy, headed by Metropolitan Andrei Șaguna.

Serbian-Romanian political cooperation throughout the territory of the Monarchy came to the fore after the signing of the Austro-Hungarian Agreement (1867), as both peoples, as well as others from the Hungarian part of the dualist monarchy, tried to fight together against the policy of Hungarianization carried out by the regime. In this struggle, the leading Serbian politicians, Svetozar Miletić and Mihailo Polit Desančić, paid special attention to cooperation with Romanians, and among the Romanian leaders, a similar policy was pursued by Vincentiu Babeș. They garnered success during the elections of the 1870s and ‘80s due to their joint efforts and votes obtained by a candidate from both sides. Additionally, in 1895, the Congress of Nationalities took place in Budapest, at which the political representatives of three peoples from the territory of the Hungarian part of the dualist monarchy participated: Romanians, Serbs and Slovaks. Moreover, they decided that in the future they would participate together in parliamentary elections, with the aim of obtaining as many mandates as possible in the Hungarian parliament.

However, tensions in Serbian-Romanian relations were present, especially as a result of the hierarchical split, and due to the division of church assets in the mixed Serbian-Romanian localities of Banat, as well as the division of monasteries. Yet, despite the problems that arose, these tensions were overcome because both the Romanians and Serbs realized that only through joint forces could they oppose the regime in Budapest in their struggle for the realization of full national rights.

An example of good Serbian-Romanian relations in the field of education was represented by the Serbian-Romanian Clerical Institute in “Vršac”, which operated in the period 1822–1867 and trained hundreds of young people, Serbian and Romanian, providing priests for Serbian and Romanian parishes from all over the Banat region.

However, as a result of the breakup of Austria-Hungary, Serbian-Romanian relations once again became tense for several years due to the division of Banat, as both states, Romania and the newly forged Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes, claimed rights to the entirety of the territory. Nevertheless, the long-lived friendship and common interest of the two nations once again helped in overcoming the tension between them, and the Banat region was divided between the states (with a small part also given to Hungry). Further, the dynastic families from both countries became related through the marriage of King Alexander I Karađorđević with Princess Maria Mařioara of Hohenzollern, who became Queen of Yugoslavia. In the meantime, the two states, together with Czechoslovakia, signed an alliance treaty in 1920–21, known as the Little Entente. The purpose of the treaty was to secure against any revisionist actions from Austria and Hungary, since the nations had been dissatisfied by the outcome of the peace conferences that had initially followed World War I. Additionally, the two states also signed numerous other agreements during the interwar period, including one in 1933 that regulated the education of Romanian students from the Serbian Banat and Serbian students from the Romanian Banat in their respective mother tongues. By facilitating the education of students in their respective native language, conditions were created for the formation of a new intellectual elite among the two minorities (Serbians in Romania and Romanians in Yugoslavia), which in the following period would become the harbinger of all cultural and educational activities tied to national identity.

Even after World War II, the communist regimes in both countries, with the exception of the period of conflict between Yugoslavia and the Information Bureau countries (1948–1955), continued the traditional policy of good neighborly relations and cooperation in all fields. In the first post-war years the two countries solidified their relationship that had originally been founded under strong influence from the Soviet Union, by signing several treaties, including the Treaty of Friendship, Collaboration and Mutual Aid, signed in 1947 by Josip Broz Tito and Petru Groza, then president of the Romanian government. However, shortly thereafter a worsening of relations and their outright interruption occurred as a result of the outbreak of the conflict between the regime of Josip Broz Tito and the states of the Information Bureau led by the Soviet Union, among which was Romania. The period from 1948–1955 was one in which relations were particularly strained, with tensions only beginning to become subdued with the death of Stalin in 1953 and the signing of the Belgrade and Moscow Declaration in 1955, which led to the normalization of relations between Yugoslavia and the socialist bloc. The ensuing Yugoslav-Romanian friendship over the following decades bore the fruit of construction, with projects such as the Iran Gates I and II hydroelectric plant, among others.

Finally, when the citizens of Romania, at the end of 1989, decided to finally overthrow the communist regime of Nicolae Ceauşescu, the neighboring Serbian people were the first to come to their aid, representing one of the most recent examples of the bond of friendship between the two neighboring countries, which also brings us to the chronological end of our volume.

The edited volume New Cultural and Political Perspectives on Serbian-Romanian Relations provides basis for much-needed reflection and deeper understanding of Serbian-Romanian relations during nineteenth- and twentieth-century history. Contributions included in the volume are different case studies which provide contextualized understandings of relations between two neighboring countries, but mostly reflections regarding the circulation of ideas and perceptions within the wider South-East European cultural and political context. Indicating the most relevant historical accounts, which include some of the key personalities who contributed to strengthening relationships between Serbs and Romanians, the volume seeks to contribute to overall discussion on the theory of cultural transfer which was defined in the early 1980s by French Germanists Michel Espagne and Michael Werner.15 This approach according to Duthille “went beyond the simple concern with influences, and was concerned with tracing the cultural intermediaries and the institutional and social milieus effecting transfers (in a sociological perspective), but also (in a philological perspective) the genesis and development of references to German culture in French discourses.”16 The concept of influence is rejected because of its assumption of passivity on the part of the receptor culture, and because it presupposes that both cultures are given and static. The end product of a transfer is not simply an unchanged cultural item tacked into a receiving culture, but a hybrid product that serves an original purpose in that culture—unless the transfer was rejected, in which case the original product remains available for transfer.17

By focusing on various personalities which have contributed in different ways to developing relations between the two countries in different socio- historical contexts, the volume brings new interdisciplinary perspectives and understandings of Serbian-Romanian relations in the English language. Very rich archival sources from Serbia and Romania, as well as periodicals are analyzed and presented in the 14 chapters of the volume which have been divided thematically into two sections. The first, covers historical and diplomatic relations from the nineteenth until the twentieth century with diverse chapters from Serbian and Romanian historians, while the second part of the volume is dedicated to influences and contacts in the sphere of art, culture, and religion. Overall, the volume aims to provide a better understanding of mutual influences, exchanges, and transfers of knowledge and ideas which had a larger impact on Serbian-Romanian political and cultural history in modern times. The volume opens with “The Idea of Nationality Among Romanians in the Austro-Hungarian Monarchy: The Political Involvement of Vincențiu Babeș, Andrei, and Alexandru Mocsonyi as Representatives of the Banat Region,” a chapter translated from Romanian by Christene d’Anca from two Romanian historians, Miodrag Milin and Victor Neumann, who focus on the second half of the nineteenth century, when Romanians in Banat and Transylvania began to better organize themselves from a political and institutional standpoint, and forged connections with other ethnic groups. Their demands echoed not only those across the two regions, but throughout Central Europe. The chapter analyzes the problems facing the Romanian nationality in Banat and Transylvania, the organizations and leaders who played essential roles in formulating political demands, and lastly, those who criticized the authoritarian policies of the state that was preserving feudal privileges which dissatisfied a large part of the citizens from the two regions. As a continuation on the region of Banat, the second chapter, “Romanians and Serbs in the Banat Military border,” written by Serbian historian Ivana Spasović, is dedicated to Serbian-Romanian relations in the Banat Border in 1872. The chapter provides in-depth analyses based on rich archival sources about the period at the end of the ‘60s and the beginning of the ‘70s of the nineteenth century, which brought the Banat Border guards a historical turning point that reflected on the lives of their families, but also the challenge of entering the parliamentary life of Hungary. The chapter includes some of the main challenges Serbs and Romanians faced living in the area of the Banat Border, that was preoccupied with military-administrative, socio-economic, national-political and cultural-educational problems, which were brought by the temptation of terminating the border administration. From the perspective of individuals who significantly contributed to Serbian-Romanian relations, in the chapter by Felicia Aneta Oarcea, we learn about the life and work of Vasile Popeangă (1920–2012) one of the distinguished personalities of the Romanian education system. The chapter highlights Popeangă’s role in establishing Romanian-Serbian bridges of research in the field of education history in the former Habsburg monarchy. In the fourth chapter, historian Srđan Mićić focuses on the life and work of Serbian diplomat Boško Čolak-Antić and Yugoslav-Romanian relations. Boško Čolak-Antić was one of the three Yugoslav diplomats who had a privileged status in the diplomatic service based on close relations with the Karađorđević dynasty. For fifteen years, Čolak-Antić participated in the gradual forging of the friendly and allied Yugoslav-Romanian relations on a bilateral level and in the ranks of the Little Entente and the Balkan Entente. The chapter brings rich archival source materials and analyzes the role of Boško Čolak-Antić in Yugoslav-Romanian relations on bilateral and multilateral levels during the Interwar period. The chapter which chronologically follows, “Marie of Yugoslavia: Romanian princess, Serbian queen,” written by Anđelija Miladinović, is dedicated to Romanian-Yugoslav dynastic relations. Miladinović explores the arrival of Princess Marie of Romania into the role as a Yugoslav queen—an event that simultaneously created a much-needed alliance between the nations while also providing domestic stability after the end of World War I. The relations between the two countries were further strengthen through this marriage between King Alexander of Yugoslavia and Princess Marie of Romania in 1922. The interwar period was a very dynamic phase in Serbian (Yugoslav)-Romanian relations, especially in the area of bilateral diplomatic relations. In the sixth chapter, written by Dragan Bakić, he provides interesting accounts of the first Yugoslav ambassador of royal Yugoslavia to Romania, well known poet Jovan Dučić with a diplomatic career. The chapter examines Dučić’s reports from Bucharest and their impact on policy-making in Belgrade, but also his perspective on Romanian foreign policy. In the seventh chapter, which chronologically follows developments after World War II, historian Vladimir Lj. Cvetković contributes with “Josip Broz Tito, Petru Groza and Yugoslav-Romanian Relations 1945–1947.” The author stresses that Yugoslavia and Romania had no diplomatic relations during World War II, and due to Romanian recognition of the Independent State of Croatia in 1941, the first political representative of Yugoslavia was sent to Romania only in the beginning of October 1944. Therefore, Cvetković provides an analysis of Yugoslav-Romanian relations in the period between March 1945, when the Government of Petru Groza was established, and December 1947, when the monarchy was abolished in Romania. Personal relations between Josip Broz Tito and Groza played an important role, above all due to the importance of Groza for the Romanian Communist Party and the Soviet Union whose final aim was to turn Romania into a single party. The last chapter of the first thematic block on Serbian (Yugoslav) relations from the historiography perspective closes with the eighth chapter by Nemanja Mitrović, “Tito’s and Ceauşescu’s personal contribution to the development of Yugoslav-Romanian cooperation in the late 1960s and early 1970s.” The chapter addresses the personal contribution of Josip Broz Tito and Nicolae Ceauşescu to Yugoslav-Romanian relations in the late 1960s and early 1970s. This research focuses on their commitment to improving political, economic, and other forms of cooperation. Based on plentiful archival material and modern literature, it is possible to notice that the turbulent international circumstances in the second half of the 1960s significantly influenced their rapprochement. Mitrović brings an example of the construction of the Djerdap dam, as a symbol of Yugoslav-Romanian relations.

The second part of the volume aims to contribute to better understandings of relations between Serbs and Romanians in the area of arts, literature, and religion. The section opens with a chapter by art historian Raluca Prelipceanu, “The Circulations of Icon Painters between Banat and Transylvania during the 18th and early 19th century.” The contribution explores the circulation of painters and models between Banat and Transylvania during the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. Prelipceanu provides detailed accounts of painters who brought to Banat the neo-Byzantine style of painting developed at the court of prince Constantin Brâncoveanu, the activity of the Transylvanian painters who worked in Banat during this period, and the influence of Serbian painters on Transylvanian art. In this, but also in the next chapter, special focus is given to the activity and work of Stefan Tenecki (Rom. Ștefan Tenețchi), Serbian icon painter of Aromanian origin. The following chapter, by Jovana Kolundžija, “Stefan Tenecki: the Baroque painter of Serbs and Romanians” provides a rich biography of the well-known painter whose eclectic painting demonstrates the multi-layered and complex ideological conflicts between the original painting of the medieval Balkans and modern European artistic achievements. Tenecki was significant for the development of art and culture of the Serbs inhabiting the territory of today’s Romania, but he was equally important for the Romanian art and culture in the area. Continuing with significant personalities who contributed to Serbian and Romanian culture, Maria Alexandra Pantea’s and Virginia Popovici’s chapter, “Serbian Intellectuals from Arad, Personalities of Central Europe,” examines the role of urban places, such as the city of Arad, and the intellectuals who significantly contributed to the rich and diverse cultural heritage. Serbian priests and writers living in Arad and their collaboration with Romanians is the main thematic focus of this chapter, with special emphasis on the role of Sava Tekelija, philanthropist, Doctor of Law and noble who was born in Arad. In this insightful chapter, Pantea and Popovici reveal significant historical accounts on Serbs living in Arad and their contribution to the cultural life. Another noteworthy figure for both Serbs and Romanians is theologian Vladimir Dimitrijević, as discussed in the chapter by Mircea Măran and Aleksandra Đurić Milovanović, “Vladimir Dimitrijević and Serbian-Romanian Orthodox Church Relations at the Beginning of 20th Century” which introduces church relations and the religious landscape of Banat in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. The life and work of Vladimir Dimitrijević contributed to relationships between two Orthodox churches, and his role was particularly relevant in combating newly emerged neo-Protestant communities. Numerous publications by Dimitrijević, both in Serbian and Romanian, are an important ethnographic account on many of the neo-Protestant communities, especially Nazarenes.

The last two chapters are dedicated to literary relations and local artistic expression. In the chapter by Octavia Nedelcu and Gordana Nicoleta-Peici, “Romanian-Serbian Literary Relations at the Beginning of the New Millennium,” we learn about the reception of Serbian literature in Romania, since the literary relationship between two cultures over time, were and continue to be, a clear indicator of interculturality, and of the transcendental dialogue between two neighboring peoples. The authors focus on translations and literary connections, including an extensive list of translated books and authors. The last chapter of the edited volume, written by Diana Mihuț, “In-between local identity and national artistic heritage. A case study: naive painting from Uzdin,” delves into the art of naive painting from Uzdin and provides an example of artistic heritage built in a certain political context that has been systematically revivified by authorities, professionals and even by the local community. At a closer look, it must be integrated within a broader context, that of naive painting schools specific to the minorities of the former Yugoslavia in order to understand its larger significance within the artistic community.

The edited volume New Cultural and Political Perspectives on Serbian-Romanian Relations seek to understand and reflect on the continuing role of cultural and political ties of the two neighboring countries. The role of post-empire heritage as well as the establishment of new borders are the key element in understanding shared values, beliefs, and traditions that have had a significant impact in shaping both past and present realities. As cultures and nations are not built nor continue to exist in isolation, it is important to gain perspective on their multi-layered interactions with those around them past and present. The novelty of this edited volume and collected chapters lies in providing a cohesive reflection of political, economic, literary, artistic, and cultural relations between Serbia and Romania during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Further, by approaching these subjects from the viewpoint of disparate academic fields, interested readers can gain a more well-rounded understanding of the circumstances that produced these relations, and the influence they have held into the modern era. We hope that this volume will be of interest to the wider readership interested in Serbian-Romanian relations and cultural transfers from interdisciplinary perspective and that will inspire new research projects on cultural and political relations in Southeastern Europe.

1 Nikola Gavrilović, Rumunski hroničar o banatskim Srbima u austro-turskom ratu 1788–1790 [Romanian chronicler on Serbs from Banat in Austria-Turkish war 1788–1790] (Novi Sad: Matica srpska, 1972); Kako je doneta uredba za srpske i rumunske osnovne škole u Banatu iz 1774. godine [How decree on the Serbian and Romanian elementary schools was passed in 1774] (Novi Sad: Matica srpska, 1975); Plan Uroša Nestorovića o organizaciji srpskih i rumunskih pravoslavnih škola u austrijskim naslednim zemljama (23. maj 1811) [The plan of Uroš Nestorović on the organization of Serbian and Romanian orthodox schools in Austrian lands, 23 of May 1811] (Novi Sad: Matica srpska, 1978); O rumunskom prevodu Rajićevog Malog Katihizisa [On Romanian translation of Small Catechesis of Rajić] (Novi Sad: Matica srpska, 1978); Srpsko-rumunska pravoslavna seminarija u Temišvaru u XVIII veku (b.m. b.i.) [Serbian-Romanian theological seminary in Timisoara in 18th century], 1982; Srpsko-rumunsko klirikalno učilište u Vršcu 1822–1867 [Serbian-Romanian Clerical Seminary 1822–1867] (Novi Sad: Filozofski fakultet u Novom Sadu, Institut za istoriju, 1983); Rad temišvarskog vladike Vićentija Jovanovića Vidaka na osnivanju srpskih i rumunskih škola u Banatu [The work of Timisoara Bishop Vicentije Jovanovic Vidak on the establishment of Serbian and Romanian schools in Banat] (Novi Sad: Matica srpska, 1986); Srbi i Rumuni [Serbs and Romanians] (Novi Sad: Zavod za udžbenike i nastavna sredstva-Prometej, 1997).

2 Mirča Maran, Rumunski putnici u Srbiji [Romanian travelers in Serbia] (Vršac: Centar za banatske studije, 2017).

3 Miodrag Ciurușchin, Relații politico-diplomatice ale României cu Serbia în perioada 1903–1914 [Political-diplomatic relations between Serbia and Romania from 1903 until 1914] (Timișoara: Mitron, 2010).

4 Radu Flora, Din relațiile sîrbo-romîne (privire în ansamblu) [From Serbian-Romanian relations] (Panciova: Libertatea, 1964); Relațiile sîrbo-române. Noi contribuții [Serbian-Romanian relations. New contributions] (Panciova: Libertatea, 1968).

5 Radu Flora, Vuk și românii [Vuk and Romanians] (Panciova: Libertatea, 1988).

6 Andrej Mitrović, Razgraničenje Jugoslavije sa Rumunijom i Mađarskom 1919–1920 [Demarcation of Yugoslavia with Romania and Hungary 1919–1920] (Novi Sad: Institut za izučavanje istorije Vojvodine, 1975).


VIII, 380
ISBN (Hardcover)
Publication date
2023 (December)
Serbian-Romanian relations culture, political history Southeastern Europe cultural transfer religion art history influences diplomacy personalities New Cultural and Political Perspectives on Serbian-Romanian Relations Aleksandra Djurić Milovanović Jovana Kolundžija Mircea Măran Otilia Hedeșan Christene D' Anca
New York, Berlin, Bruxelles, Chennai, Lausanne, Oxford, 2024. VIII, 380 pp.

Biographical notes

Aleksandra Djurić Milovanović (Volume editor) Jovana Kolundžija (Volume editor) Mircea Măran (Volume editor) Otilia Hedeșan (Volume editor) Christene D'Anca (Volume editor)

Aleksandra Djurić Milovanović is an anthropologist and senior research fellow at the Institute for Balkan Studies, Serbian Academy of Sciences and Arts (Belgrade, Serbia). She received her PhD from the Faculty of Philosophy in Belgrade in 2012. Her research interests cover Serbian-Romanian relations, religious minorities, national minorities, cultural transfers and Balkan studies. Representative publications include: Double Minorities in Serbia. Distinctive Aspects of Religion and Ethnicity of Romanians in Vojvodina (2015) and Orthodox Christian Renewal Movements in Eastern Europe, co-edited with Radmila Radić (2017). She is a member of the Balkan History Association. Jovana Kolundžija is art historian and PhD candidate at the University of Belgrade, She has been a research fellow at the Institute for Balkan Studies SASA and is currently affiliated with the Center for Banat Studies as project coordinator. Her research includes eighteenth-century Serbian art, religious painting, Serbian baroque, visual culture and Habsburg heritage in Serbia. She is a member of the Balkan History Association. Mircea Măran is a full professor of history at the Preschool Teacher training college "Mihailo Palov" in Vršac, Serbia. Măran’s main area of interest are the history of Banat, the Romanian minority in Serbia and cultural history between the two world wars. He is the author of 12 books, Representative titles include: Romanii din Banatul sârbesc în anii interbelici (1918–1941) pagini de istorie culturală (2012), Biserica Ortodoxă română din Banatul Iugoslav (1918–1941) with A. Djurić Milovanović (2019) and Românii din Voivodina – istorie, demografie, identitate românească în localitățile Voivodinei (2009). He is a member of the Balkan History Association. Otilia Hedeșan is an anthropologist and professor of Romanian civilization and culture at the West University of Timișoara. She is the coordinator of the Research Centre for Heritage and Anthropology. Her main areas of research are storytelling, Romanian mythology in its contemporary aspects, the history of Romanian ethnology in the communist and post-communist period, and food as cultural heritage. She has undertaken field research in Romania, Serbia, Hungary, Croatia, Bulgaria, Ukraine and the Republic of Moldova. She has written and edited many books and articles. Christene D’Anca is a lecturer at California Lutheran University, as well as at her alma mater, the University of California, Santa Barbara, where she received her PhD in comparative literature, with an emphasis in medieval studies. She specializes in twelfth- to fourteenth-century funerary arts, female patronage and socio-cultural studies. Her recent publications include essays in Early Middle English and the Journal of Animal Ethics.


Title: New Cultural and Political Perspectives on Serbian-Romanian Relations