Greeks in Serbia
|572 (2002 census)
4,500 of Greek descent (est.)
|Regions with significant populations|
|Belgrade, Smederevo, Novi Sad, Niš|
Greeks in Serbia number 572 people according to the 2002 census, and they are recognized as a national minority by the Serbian government. An estimation by the Association of Greeks in Serbia has the number of Serbs of Greek descent at 4,500 people. They are mostly concentrated in four Serbian cities: Belgrade, Smederevo, Niš and Novi Sad. Greek presence is also recorded in Sombor, Pančevo, Subotica, Kragujevac, Požarevac, Bor, Bački Petrovac and Zrenjanin. Many Greeks added the Slavic ending "ić", "ski" or "ev" to their surnames as an assimilation process in SFR Yugoslavia. The first association of Greeks in Serbia was formed in 1923 under the name "Riga od Fere". The first Serb-Greek friendship society was formed in 1934 by Pavle Karađorđević, the friendship society now has over 2,500 members in Serbia.
No illiteracy is recorded among the Greek minority. On occupation, 57.17% are workers, 26.4% are professional workers, 20.2% are professionals and 12.4% are legislators, officials and managers.
The Greek Foreign Ministry asserts that marriages between Serbs and Greeks living in Serbia are quite common, and that this is both a cause and result of the close bonds shared by many Greeks and Serbs.
Kale-Krševica, the northernmost Macedonian town was home to 3,000 people in the 4th century BC.
During the Middle Ages, Serbia was initially a frontier region of the Byzantine Empire, in the administrative unit of Sclaviniae, granted the Serbs because of their status as foederati (tribes bound by treaty, allies). Serbia was given greater self-rule and subsequently independence under the Vlastimirovic dynasty that had mainly good relations with the Macedonian dynasty (867-1056).
In the early 11th century, Serbia was under direct Byzantine rule; Rascia was annexed while a breakaway principality was established in Duklja. Constantine Diogenes was the governor of Serbia during this time.
The Serbian Empire stretched across half of present-day Greece, Despot Jovan Oliver was a 14th-century Serb nobility that ruled parts of Macedonia under Emperor Dušan the Mighty, the Emperor of Serbs and Greeks.
After the Ottoman conquest of Thessaly in 1394, the ruling Angeloi Philanthropenoi family took refuge in Serbia. A grandson of either Alexios or Manuel, Mihailo Anđelović, served as an official at the court of Đurađ and Lazar Branković in the mid 15th century.
The first mention of a Greek school in Serbia was in 1718, with Stephanos Daskalos as a teacher at Belgrade. The Greek schools were much respected and were attended by children of famous Serbs. The Greek schools invited language teachers from Greece to teach at primary and secondary schools wherever there was a Greek community such as Karlovac, Smederevo, Zemun, Belgrade, Požarevac, Kragujevac, Novi Sad, Šabac and others.
World War I
Several Aromanian families (from Macedonia) were held captives by the Bulgarians in 1916 in Bulgarian-occupied Požarevac (In Serbia) and stayed until 1918 when the Bulgarian front was breached and they returned to Greece. They worked at the Serbs' vineyards and in the homes of the Jewish merchant-families. However, a number of Greeks remained in Požarevac, who were involved chiefly in commerce and in hotel enterprises, and with great success at that. Some of them became renowned, rich and eminent citizens of the city. Especially as owners of kafeneia (coffee shops), hotels. They gave Greek names to their kafeneia, such as "Itia" (willow tree) or "Kleousa" (weeping willow), "Ta Dyo Lefka Peristeria" (The Two White Doves), or "Kasine". The Greeks and Serbs were Orthodox Christians, and consequently their co-habitation was very good. Very frequently, and early on, weddings between Serbs and Greeks. With the passage of time, the second and third generations of the Greek settlers lost the Greek language, mainly because the Greeks were not living isolated or in groups, but very quickly assimilated into the wider Serbian society.
World War II
In May 1945, 4,650 Greek refugees, mostly male members of ELAS, settled in the Maglić village with the help of Yugoslav government. From 1945 to 1948, it was a sui generis case of Greek extraterritorial jurisdiction. The Yugoslav conflict with informbiro saw the Greek community divided between loyalty to Yugoslavia and the Comintern, and those who supported the latter left the country. The remaining 800 also emigrated to Greek Macedonia eventually, with only a few remaining.
Greek politicians and organizations backed Serbia during the Yugoslav Wars. Greek volunteers fought alongside the Serbs in the Greek Volunteer Guard, a company of the Army of the Republika Srpska (ВРС, VRS).
Following the Kosovo independence
The Greek minority living in Serbia have turned to Greece to not recognize the unilateral secession in Kosovo by the Kosovo Albanians. They stated that the independence of Kosovo would endanger the stability in the Balkans and weaken the traditional Serbian-Greek relations.
|“||...We, Greeks in Serbia, feel concern over the fact that the Greek government has remained silent regarding the self-proclamation of the fake state of Kosovo... We appeal to Greece to not destroy everything honorable and good - which it has done until now by supporting a devoted friend and ally in this region.||”|
The appeal adds that a wrong decision in the matter by the Greek government would "ruin what has taken a long time to build between the two countries".
- Vladan Ðordevic (Hippocrates Tsolekas), Prime Minister of Serbia (1897–1900)
- Rigas Feraios, Greek writer and revolutionary, died in Belgrade
- Constantine Kumanudis, 1874–1962, from Adrianupolisa, PhD of Political Sciences, professor of administrative law at the University of Belgrade's Law School, reserve Captain in the Balkan wars and in World War II, a deputy of the Democratic Party, President of the Belgrade municipality, the Minister of Finance, Education, Forest and Mining, Trade and Industry, Chairman of the National Assembly. He was a writer and political philosopher. Decorations: White Eagle V, III and IV lines, and Saint Sava, and Karađorđeva Star IV lines and the Legion of Honor.
- Vera Jeftimijades-Jobst
- Dragutin Inkiostri, architect (Cvijić house)
- Nama Su Samo Srbi Braca
- "Grci u Srbiji - ŽIVOT U SRBIJI DANAS" (in Serbian). Udruženje Grka u Srbiji "Riga od Fere". 2008. Retrieved 2010-11-10.
- Bilateral Relations Between Greece and Serbia Greek Ministry of Foreign Affairs
- Y. Veligratlis, Interview in Serres, November 17, 2005.
- Miroljub Manojlovic
- The Greek national minority council and Association of Greeks in Serbia
- Стереотипи о Грцима у српском језику (Serbian)
- Serbian-Greek Friendship Official Site (Serbian)
- Diogenis Valvanidis: President of Serbian-Greek friendship in Serbia
- Interview with Janis Savas, President of the Association of Greeks in Serbia (Serbian)