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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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Etele Kiss - 9 A History of the Orthodox Church in Hungary in the Twentieth Century 203


Etele Kiss 9 A History of the Orthodox Church in Hungary in the Twentieth Century Orthodoxy in Hungary at the beginning of the twentieth century The legal base for the Orthodox Church as an accepted religion in the Austro-Hungarian Monarchy was given in Law IX of 1868. This law accorded autonomy and liberty in the use of language at dif ferent levels of church administration as well as in the schools run by the church. It also sanctioned the already existing Romanian metropolitan see of Nagyszeben- Sibiu as being independent of Serbian jurisdiction. In fact the foundation of the see as a metropolitanate was proclaimed by the Assembly of the Romanians of Transylvania in 1864. The same law of 1868 also prescribed that Orthodox bishops should have permanent mandates in the upper house of the Hungarian parliament, as a relic of the ‘Declaratorium Illyricum’ that had regulated Orthodox matters in the eighteenth century. A Serbian national assembly that gathered in May 1848 gave to Josif Rajačić, the Serbian metropolitan of Karlóca/Sremski Karlovci (d. 1861), the title of patriarch. This proclamation was meant to demonstrate Rajačić’s incontestable role as the leader of the Serbian people in the Habsburg Empire. This decision was confirmed by Emperor Franz Joseph I in a decree dated December of the same year, honouring Josif Rajačić’s role in lead- ing the Serbians against the Hungarian Revolution of 1848–9. Now, after some years of interruption, this patriarchal title was reinstated by...

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