Franjo Komarica

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His Excellency
Franjo Komarica
Bishop of Banja Luka
President of the Bishops' Conference of Bosnia and Herzegovina
Franjo Komarica 1.jpg
Province Sarajevo
Diocese Banja Luka
See Banja Luka
Appointed 15 May 1989
Predecessor Alfred Pichler
Other posts President of the Bishops' Conference of Bosnia and Herzegovina
President of Caritas Bosnia and Herzegovina
Ordination 29 June 1972
by Alfred Pichler
Consecration 6 January 1986
by John Paul II
Personal details
Birth name Franjo Komarica
Born (1946-02-03) February 3, 1946 (age 69)
Novakovići, Bosnia and Herzegovina
Nationality Croat
Denomination Roman Catholic
Previous post Auxiliary Bishop of Banja Luka (and Titular Bishop of Satafis; 1985–1989)
Motto Gospodin je moja snaga i moja pjesma (The Lord is my strength and my song)
Coat of arms

Dr Franjo Komarica (born February 4, 1946) is a Bosnian Croat Roman Catholic prelate, the Bishop of Banja Luka and president of the Bishops' Conference of Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Early life[edit]

One of eleven children, Franjo Komarica was born in Novakovići near Banja Luka, Bosnia and Herzegovina, to Ivo and Ivka (née Marić) Komarica.[1] He finished elementary school in Banja Luka, then he attended the minor seminary in Zagreb (1961-1963) and Đakovo (1963-1965). After completing his compulsory military service he began theological studies in Ðakovo (1967-1968), and continued studying at the Faculty of Catholic Theology of the University of Innsbruck (1968-1972).


Komarica was ordained to the priesthood by Alfred Pichler on June 29, 1972[2] in Mariastern Abbey and then continued special studies in Innsbruck, where he earned master's degree in 1973, and doctorate in liturgy in 1978.

Episcopal career[edit]

On October 28, 1985, Komarica was appointed Auxiliary Bishop of Banja Luka and Titular Bishop of Satafis in Africa by Pope John Paul II.[2] He received his episcopal consecration from John Paul II, with Agostino Casaroli and Bernardin Gantin serving as co-consecrators on January 6, 1986.[2] Until retirement of Bishop Alfred Pichler Komarica served as Bishop's Vicar General. On May 15, 1989, he was appointed Bishop of Banja Luka and two months later, officially took the office.

Role during the Bosnian war[edit]

Just a few years after he took the office whole Bosnia and Herzegovina and particular the Diocese of Banja Luka faced with armed aggression. During the Bosnian war, Bishop Komarica's diocese fell under Serbian control. Over 220,000 Roman Catholics were forced to flee the area now known as Republika Srpska, at least 400 were killed, including seven priests and nun. In the Diocese of Banja Luka, 98% of churches and a third of other Church property was destroyed in the war.[3] It is an ethnocide, or genocide, the bishop said in 1996, because the presence of a nation, its culture and religion is being wiped out. All the recognisable signs of our existence are being destroyed: churches, monasteries, graveyards, monuments, names ...[3]

He fought under extremely difficult conditions for survival of the local Catholic community (while also helping Muslims persecuted by Serbs) through a patient dialogue with Serb authorities and cooperation with the international community. During the war, though he was under house arrest and could not move around, the Bishop tried to keep in contact with his diocese, sending out priests to bring him information from the various parishes while endeavouring to make contact with Bosnian Serbian officials. Komarica sent letters to a number of Bosnian Serb officials, urging them to stop crimes from being committed against Catholics in Banja Luka. The letters went unanswered.

During and after the war bishop Komarica gave hospitality in his own residence to displaced Bosnian Muslim, Serbian Orthodox and Croat Catholic families, numbering more than 30 people at a time.[4]

After the war[edit]

Bishop Komarica with Vinko Puljić and Luigi Pezzuto

After the war, the bishop remained a great advocate of human rights and supporter of preserving Croatian and Catholic traditions in Bosnia and Herzegovina.[5]

In 2005 at the request of the bishop, Missionaries of Charity, established by Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta, opened their first monastery in Bosnia and Herzegovina. On November 16, 2005 bishop Komarica founded the European Academy in Banja Luka,[6] he also established Center for Life and Family of Caritas Bosnia and Herzegovina on February 3, 2006.


In 2004 he was nominated as a candidate for the Nobel Peace Prize.[8]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ (Croatian) Bishops' Conference of Bosnia and Herzegovina: Biography of Bishop Komarica
  2. ^ a b c "Bishop Franjo Komarica". David M. Cheney. Retrieved 21 January 2015. 
  3. ^ a b Catholic Herald: Bishop seeks to heal wounds of Bosnian war
  4. ^ "Impulses of the Spirit, The servant church after Vatican II". America. October 8, 2012. Retrieved 2013-04-20. 
  5. ^ Catholic News - Catholic Charity - Catholic World: Bosnia-Herzegovina: Thousands of Catholics want to return
  6. ^ "O nama" (in Croatian). Europska akademija. Retrieved 2013-04-20. 
  7. ^ "Odluka kojom se biskup Franjo Komarica odlikuje" (in Croatian). Narodne novine. 2 July 2007. Retrieved 2008-07-12. 
  8. ^ "Visit of Bishop Franjo Komarica to Harvard: "Developed Europe and the US Should Not Abandon Us"". Croatian Chronicle Network. December 19, 2012. Retrieved 2013-04-10. 

External links[edit]

Catholic Church titles
Preceded by
Antonio Teutonico
Auxiliary Bishop of Banja Luka
Titular Bishop of Satafis

Succeeded by
Norberto Eugenio Conrado Martina
Preceded by
Alfred Pichler
Bishop of Banja Luka
15 May 1989–present
Preceded by
Vinko Puljić
President of the Bishops' Conference of Bosnia and Herzegovina
2002–2005; 2010–present
Succeeded by
Vinko Puljić