Croatian Orthodox Church

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Croatian Orthodox Church
Hrvatska pravoslavna crkva
Croatian Orthodox Church - Coat of Arms.PNG
LanguageCroatian and Church Slavonic
HeadquartersZagreb; traditionally Srijemski Karlovci and historically Split
TerritoryCentral and Southeastern Europe (Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina and parts of Montenegro and Serbia)
FounderKing Tomislav I
Independence925–1060
1708-1848
1942-1945
Recognition925 (Autocephaly)
1942 (Autocephaly)
1944 (Patriarchate)

The Croatian Orthodox Church (Croatian: Hrvatska pravoslavna crkva) was an autocephalous Orthodox Church established during World War II (1942-1945) in the Independent State of Croatia, as well as a name used to describe the Orthodox Church in the Triune Kingdom of Croatia and an Religious community and association created in 2010.

Organized religion in Croatia started in the province of Dalmatia during ancient times. In the medieval period the Councils of Split in 925 were held, which were presided over by King Tomislav I. The Councils of Split were the turning point in which the Croatian Church was established. From 1708 until 1848 the Croatian Metropolitanate of Karlovci were established and their leader was given among others the title of Croatian Patriarch[1] which can be seen in the coat of arms of Patriarch Arsenije IV. After 1848 the Metropolitanate of Karlovci was raised onto the Patriarchate of Karlovci and a more Serb national title was added as well, during that whole time it was under the protection and jurisdiction of the Habsburgs. The Patriarchate of Karlovci was illegally abolished with the creation of the Serbian Orthodox Church by decree of regent Alexander of Yugoslavia. After the fall of Yugoslavia in 1941, the idea of a national Church was becoming reality. In order to unite all Orthodox communities (Croats, Serbs, Vlachs ect.) in the newly formed Independent State of Croatia, the Croatian Orthodox Church was created. It was an state-based autocephalous Orthodox Church which was in full communion with the Bulgarian Orthodox Church, Romanian Orthodox Church and the Ecumenical Patriarchate.[2] In 1945 communist persecuted Croatian Orthodox clergy and executed even lay members of the Orthodox Church. In 1990 with the reestablishment and independence of Croatia the idea to resurrect the Croatian Orthodox Church was once again mentioned, since 2010 an organization of the same name operates as a religious community.

Early history[edit]

Left: Baptism of Croats 7-8th century, Bela Čikoš Sesija
Right: Church council of 925 in Split, Celestin Medović

In the medieval period the Councils of Split in 925 were held, which were presided over by King Tomislav I. The Councils of Split were the turning point in which the Croatian Church was established. Which regulated the language, especially Church SLavic which was used by Glagolitic clergy.[3] In the Council of 928 the Archbishop of Split was given right to govern all parishes on the Croatian territory.[4] With this The supremacy of the metropolitan Archbishopric of Split was confirmed, and the Diocese of Nin was abolished.[5] With the Church Council of 1067 promoted Latin, but did not ban Galgolitic or Church Slavonic. This would be the end of the Byzantine influence and the start of the domination of the Latin influence.

Modern era and attempts[edit]

The basis was on the Croatian Metropolitanate of Karlovci created in the 18th century on Croatian crown lands under the Habsburgs, during that time the Head of the Church held the title of Croatian Patriarch,[6] which can be even seen in the coat of arms of Patriarch Arsenije IV. In 1848 Croatian Ban Josip Count Jelačić Bužimski in an attempt to gain Serb support pushed for Metropolit Josip Rajačić to be elevated to Patriarch of the new Patriarchate of Karlovci and gaining autonomy for the Serbian Vojvodina, which would result in him gaining the title Patriarch of the Serbs and even enthrone Jelačić as the Ban of the Triune Kingdom of Croatia.[7] This started a support for creating a separate Croatian Orthodox Church under Croatian administration and territory, which was advocated especially during the reign of Croatian Ban Josip Baron Šokčević.[8] The idea never came to life and the Patriarchate of Karlovci was left as it is until 1920 when it was forcefully abolished without a synod, by a state decree under regent Alexander of Yugoslavia. During the Kingdom of Yugoslavia the newly created Serbian Orthodox Church supported by the Serbian dominated Yugoslav regime,[9] advocated mass Serbianisation of all Orthodox Slavic speaking population. When the Yugoslav regime and state broke down during the April War a new Croatian State was proclaimed. It was controlled under the Ustaše regime and saw many crimes committed against the Serbs, which was viewed as an act of revenge. During the first year the Orthodox question was brought up, since the Orthodox population was largely formed by Serbs, then Croats, then Vlachs ect. In an act to normalize relationship with the Orthodox and specially Serb population an idea to proclaim an independent Orthodox Church was established.

Croatian Orthodox Church (1942-1945)[edit]

The Croatian Orthodox Church was created, to be considered one of the three faiths to which Croats could officially belong (the main being Catholicism and Islam). The reason for the creation of this Church was a loss of a significant part of the territory to Partisans and Chetniks, as well as the additional German pressure over growing anarchy in the country, which is why concession to the Serb population was deemed necessary.[10]

Ante Pavelić (left) and Andrija Artuković (in the middle) meet Patriarch Germogen.

The church was formed by a government statute (No. XC-800-Z-1942) on 4 April 1942. On 5 June, using a statute issued by the government, the church's constitution was passed. On 7 June, Germogen became the only Orthodox Metropolitan of Zagreb. The church lasted until the collapse of the NDH. Its leader Germogen, Metropolitan of Zagreb and previously a priest of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia, who is said to have had Uniate sympathies, was shot dead by Partisans after the war. Many or most of the church's priests were Orthodox Croatians, as well as Serbs and many Russian and Ukrainian Orthodox priests (émigré priests from Russia).

The Croatian Orthodox Church was in full communion with three other Churches. Its autocephaly was recognized in 1942 by the Bulgarian Orthodox Church, Romanian Orthodox Church and on 27th July 1942 by Ecumenical Patriarchate (Benjamin I).[11]

Proposals for a revival[edit]

On 6 March 1993, Juraj Kolaric, dean of the Catholic Faculty of Theology in Zagreb, was reported by the Tanjug news agency as stating that the "Orthodox Church in Croatia should be organized along the Macedonian principle, with its patriarch, and break away as far as territory was concerned, from Serbia”.[12] Kolaric tried several times to establish such a church by the "Croat Orthodox believers and possible Croatian Orthodox clergy, because then all the conditions for an autocephalous church would be met".

Since 2010 the Croatian Orthodox Church, an association of Orthodox believers is active and currently waiting for the state to change the status from communion to Church.

Insignia and symbols[edit]

Coat of arms of the Croatian Orthodox Church

Since the reestablishment of the Croatian Metropolitanate of Karlovci in the 18th century, the Croatian coat of arms was part of the official coat of arms as well as present on the Metropolitanatian throne, this can be seen in the coat of arms above the throne of Patriarch Arsenije IV, as well as from the Church flag from 1748. Since 1848 the Croatian tricolor was used alone or sometimes together with the Serbian tricolor flag (if mixed population) in local areas, as well as bishops and archbishops palaces. In 1942 the Croatian tricolor flag with the Croatian coat of arms with a blue Orthodox Greek Cross was used as the official insignia of the Croatian Orthodox Church.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Pećki patrijarsi i Karlovački mitropoliti u 18 veku, publisher= Glasnik Istoriskog društva u Novom Sadu, No 4, author=Radoslav Grujić, date=1931, pp=13-34
  2. ^ Croatian Orthodox Church - with facts against falsification, 22 October 2018 (Retrieved 28 December 2018)
  3. ^ Članci i rasprave iz starije hrvatske povijesti, publisher= Hrvatsko kulturno društvo sv. Jeronima, author=Zelić-Bučan, date=1994, pp=130-136
  4. ^ Članci i rasprave iz starije hrvatske povijesti, publisher=Hrvatsko kulturno društvo sv. Jeronima, author=Zelić-Bučan, date=1994, pp=136
  5. ^ Prva stoljeća Hrvatske, publisher= Hrvatska sveučilišna naklada, author=Neven Budak, date=1994, pp=32
  6. ^ Pećki patrijarsi i Karlovački mitropoliti u 18 veku, publisher= Glasnik Istoriskog društva u Novom Sadu, No 4, author= Radoslav Grujić, date=1931, pp=13-34
  7. ^ 1848 in Croatia, publisher= Croatian Historic Museum, date=1998, pp=30-50
  8. ^ Hrvatsko Slovo, author= Mate Kovačević, date=2013, pp=14
  9. ^ Vijenac no 149, publisher= Matica Hrvatska, date=1999
  10. ^ Kolaric 2007, pp. 232–234
  11. ^ Croatian Orthodox Church - with facts against falsification, 22 October 2018 (Retrieved 28 December 2018)
  12. ^ "The Orthodox Church in Croatia". Vreme News Digest Agency. 15 March 1993. Retrieved 11 Nov 2016.

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