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The Orthodox Church in Eastern Europe in the Twentieth Century

Edited By Christine Chaillot

It is common knowledge that the majority of the population of Eastern Europe belong to the Christian Orthodox tradition. But how many people have an adequate knowledge of the past or even of the present of these Orthodox churches? This book aims to present an introduction to this history written for a general audience, both Christian and non-Christian.
After the 1917 revolution in Russia, communism spread to most of the countries of Eastern Europe. By 1953, at the time of Stalin’s death, the division between Eastern and Western Europe seemed absolute. However, the advent of perestroika at the end of the 1980s brought about political changes that have enabled the Orthodox Church to develop once again in Eastern Europe.
The foundation of the European Union in 1993 has had a broader significance for Orthodox communities, who can now participate in the future development of Europe. Some Orthodox Churches already have their representatives at the European Union in Brussels. These include the patriarchates of Constantinople, Russia and Romania, along with the Church of Greece and the Church of Cyprus.
Today, Europe is becoming increasingly religiously diverse, even within Christianity itself. A growing number of Orthodox Christians have come to work and settle in Western Europe. An understanding of the history of the Orthodox communities in Eastern Europe in the twentieth century will contribute, in a spirit of informed dialogue, to the shaping of a new united Europe that is still in the process of expansion.
This book is translated from the French version (published 2009).


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Predag Puzović - 5 A Short History of the Serbian Orthodox Church in the Twentieth Century in Former Yugoslavia 109


Predag Puzović 5 A Short History of the Serbian Orthodox Church in the Twentieth Century in Former Yugoslavia The Serbian Orthodox Church is an autocephalous church, with about nine million faithful in the world. According to the of ficial state census of 2003, there were 7,498,001 inhabitants in the Republic of Serbia: 6,371,584 (84.98 per cent) Orthodox; 410,976 (5.48 per cent) Roman Catholics; 239,658 (3.196 per cent) Muslims; 80,837 (1.078 per cent) Protestants and 785 (0.01046 per cent) Jews. History before the twentieth century Christianity was introduced into Serbia in the second half of the ninth century from the patriarchate of Constantinople. A Serbian archdiocese existed from 1219, when St Sava (1176–1235) was consecrated as its first archbishop at Nicaea, near Constantinople. From 1219 to 1346, its first seat was at the monastery of Žiča, near today’s Kraljevo. Three earlier established dioceses founded in the eleventh century had been managed by the ecclesial jurisdiction of the Ohrid (today in Macedonia) archdiocese until Sava’s time, to become part of the Serbian ecclesial jurisdiction with another eight new dioceses established at the time. In the middle of the thirteenth century, in 1253, the seat of the archbishop was moved further to the south, to Peć, in today’s Kosovo. At the very end of the thirteenth century and at the beginning of the fourteenth, the number of Serbian Church dioceses increased owing to the 110 Predag Puzović fact that the Serbian archdiocese acquired a...

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