Patriarch Gavrilo V of Serbia

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Gabriel V Dožić-Medenica
Гаврило V Дожић-Меденица
Patriarch of the Serbian Orthodox Church
Патријарх Гаврило (Дожић).jpg
Church Serbian Orthodox Church
See Belgrade
Installed 21 February 1938
Term ended 7 May 1950
Predecessor Barnabas
Successor Vicentius II
Ordination 1900
Consecration 1911
Personal details
Birth name Gavrilo Dožić
Born 17 May 1881
Vrujci, Principality of Montenegro
Died 7 May 1950 (aged 68)
Belgrade, Serbia, Federal People's Republic of Yugoslavia
Styles of
Patriarch Gavrilo of Serbia
Reference style His Holiness
Spoken style Your Holiness
Religious style Patriarch
Posthumous style His Holiness Patriarch Gavrilo of Blessed Repose

Gavrilo Dožić (Serbian Cyrillic: Гaврилo Дoжић; also known as Gavrilo V Dožić-Medenica; 17 May 1881 – 7 May 1950) was the Metropolitan of Montenegro and the Littoral (1920–1938) and the 41st Patriarch of the Serbian Orthodox Church (1938–1950)[1]


Gavrilo Dožić was born on 17 May 1881 in Vrujci, Lower Morača, Montenegro, near the Morača Monastery.

After the death of Mitrofan Ban, the Metropolitan of Montenegro and the Littoral, in 1920, Gavrilo was picked as the new Metropolitan of Montenegro and the Littoral on 17 November 1920. He stayed in this position until he was chosen to become the 51st Patriarch of Serbia on 21 February 1938. During World War II Patriarch Gavrilo and Bishop Nikolaj Velimirović were incarcerated at Dachau. After the Allied victory and the liberation of concentration camps, both Patriarch Gavrilo and Bishop Nikolaj went to England to live. But after a short stay, Patriarch Gavrilo decided to return home to die.

Detention and imprisonment in World War II[edit]

During World War II in 1941, as soon as the German forces occupied Yugoslavia, Patriarch Gavrilo was arrested by the Nazis in the Monastery of Žiča, after which he was confined in the Monastery of Ljubostinja. Later he was transferred to the Monastery of Vojlovica (near Pančevo) in which he was confined together with Bishop Nikolaj Velimirović until the end of 1944.

On September 15, 1944 both Patriarch Gavrilo V of Serbia (Dožić) and Bishop Nikolaj Velimirović were sent to the Dachau concentration camp, which was at that time the main concentration camp for priests arrested by the Nazis. Both Dožić and Velimirović were held as special prisoners (Ehrenhäftlinge) imprisoned in the so-called Ehrenbunker (or Prominentenbunker) separated from the work camp area, together with high-ranking Nazi enemy officers and other prominent prisoners whose arrest has been dictated by Hitler directly.[2] In December 1944 they were transferred from Dachau to Slovenia, together with Milan Nedić, the Serbian collaborationist PM, and German general Hermann Neubacher, the first Nazi mayor of Vienna (1938–1939),[citation needed] as the Nazis attempted to make use of Patriarch Gavrilo's and Nikolaj's authority among the Serbs in order to gain allies in the anti-Communist movements. Contrary to claims of torture and abuse at the camp, Patriarch Dožić testified himself that both he and Velimirović were treated normally by the guards. The statement "treated normally", if made by Patriarch Gavrilo (Dozić), was made at the time when Nazi Germany still held sway in Yugoslavia.

Later, Patriarch Dožić and Bishop Nikolaj were moved to Austria, and were finally liberated by the US 36th Infantry Division in Tyrol in 1945. He was physically weakened by these vicissitudes and grew to look very old and frail. Soon after, he was taken to England. Both Dožić and Velimirović were at Westminster Abbey at the baptism of King Peter II of Yugoslavia's son and heir, Crown Prince Alexander of Yugoslavia. Velimirović preached a very moving sermon at the Serbian Orthodox chapel in the house in Egerton Gardens. But there was no place for him in England such as there had been during the First World War. Patriarch Gavrilo, being old and ill, returned to what then came to be known as the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, while Bishop Nikolaj opted to emigrate to the United States.

Patriarch Gavrilo died on 7 May 1950 in Belgrade, Serbia. He was buried in the Cathedral Church.


Eastern Orthodox Church titles
Preceded by
Patriarch of Serbs
Succeeded by
Vikentije II