Patriarchate of Karlovci

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Patriarchate of Karlovci

Карловачка патријаршија
Karlovačka patrijaršija
TerritoryHabsburg monarchy
HeadquartersKarlovci, Habsburg monarchy (modern Sremski Karlovci, Serbia)
DenominationEastern Orthodox
Sui iuris churchSelf-governing Eastern Orthodox Patriarchate
LanguageChurch Slavonic
Patriarchate of Karlovci in 1909
Patriarchate Court in Sremski Karlovci, around 1890
Patriarchate Court in Sremski Karlovci, 2014

The Patriarchate of Karlovci (Serbian: Карловачка патријаршија, romanizedKarlovačka patrijaršija) or Serbian Patriarchate of Sremski Karlovci (Serbian: Српска патријаршија у Сремским Карловцима, romanizedSrpska patrijaršija u Sremskim Karlovcima), was a patriarchate of the Eastern Orthodox Church that existed between 1848 and 1920. It was formed when the Metropolitanate of Karlovci was elevated to the rank of patriarchate.[1][2] The Patriarchate of Karlovci nominally existed until 1920, when along with several other Eastern Orthodox jurisdictions in the defunct Austro-Hungarian Empire, as well as the Metropolitanate of Cetinje, it was merged with the Metropolitanate of Belgrade to form the united Serbian Orthodox Church.[3][4] The seat of the Patriarchate was in Karlovci (today Sremski Karlovci, Serbia).


At the May Assembly in Sremski Karlovci in 1848, prior to the Serb uprising of 1848–49, the Serbs of the Habsburg monarchy proclaimed the creation of the Serbian Vojvodina, a Serb autonomous region within the Monarchy. The metropolitan of Karlovci, Josif Rajačić, was also proclaimed "Serbian Patriarch", thus the Metropolitanate of Karlovci became a Patriarchate.[5] The title of "Serbian Patriarch" given to Rajačić was confirmed by the Emperor Franz Joseph I the same year.[6]

This confirmation of Rajačić as the Serbian Patriarch, and Stevan Šupljikac as Vojvoda, was a political move made by Emperor Franz Joseph I. He was confronted with revolution in his country and had difficulties subduing the Hungarians under Kossuth. Šupljikac and his Croatian counterpart, Josip Jelačić supported the Emperor against the Hungarians.[6]

The position of Serbian Orthodox Church and Serbs in Austria and Hungary was regulated in reforms brought about first by Empress Maria Theresa and later by Emperor Joseph II. The Serbian Church-Public Council of 1769 regulated the Serbs and their Church status in a special paper named "Regulament" and, later, in the "Declaratory Rescript of the Illyrian Nation" issued by Maria Theresa in 1779. These acts regulated the life of the Metropolitanate of Karlovci until 1868. Emperor Franz Joseph I published a special edict regulating Serbian Orthodox Church affairs and his edict was in force until the unification of Serbian Churches in 1920.[7]

The establishment of the Patriarchate in Karlovci was seen as restoration of Serbian unity in Austria and Hungary and the patriarch was even considered the ranking personage among the Serbs.[8] Some authors claimed that actually the Habsburg dynasty in Austria founded the patriarchate of Karlovci.[9]

In 1865, the Eastern Orthodox Romanians that were under jurisdiction of the Patriarchate of Karlovci were separated and transferred to the jurisdiction of newly created Romanian Metropolitanate of Sibiu. Process was accomplished by mutual agreement that included the transfer of the Eparchy of Arad and eastern parts of Eparchy of Temišvar and Eparchy of Vršac.

In 1873, Bishopric of Chernivtsi in Bukovina, that was since 1783 under the spiritual jurisdiction of Karlovci, was elevated to the rank of Archbishopric when new Metropolitanate of Bukovinian and Dalmatia was created. New Archbishop of Chernivtsi gained jurisdiction over Serbian eparchies of Dalmatia and Kotor, that also were (until then) under spiritual jurisdiction of Karlovci.[1]

Emperor Franz Joseph I exercised full control over the Patriarchate. In 1890, contrary to the Serb Church Congress ruling and the Orthodox tradition, he promoted Georgije Branković to the patriarchal throne. That way the emperor discredited the Church hierarchy in the eyes of laity and encouraged rise of the anti-clerical Serb People's Radical Party in Austria-Hungary.[10][11]

The last patriarch, Lukijan Bogdanović, was murdered in 1913. After his death, the patriarchal throne remained vacant for the last seven years of its existence, with following bishops serving as locum tenens: Miron (Nikolić) of Pakrac (1913 and 1914–1919), Mihailo (Grujić) [sr] of Gornji Karlovac (1913–1914) and Georgije (Letić) of Temišvar (1919–1920; coadjutor 1918–1919).

Following the dissolution of the Austria-Hungary in the autumn of 1918, the Patriarchate of Karlovci was in 1920 merged into the newly united Serbian Orthodox Church under one Serbian patriarch residing in Belgrade.[3]


The Patriarchate included the following eparchies:

Eparchy Seat Notes
Archeparchy of Karlovci Sremski Karlovci
Eparchy of Buda Szentendre (Sentandreja)
Eparchy of Pakrac Pakrac Now Eparchy of Slavonia
Eparchy of Gornji Karlovac Karlovac
Eparchy of Bačka Novi Sad Bačka
Eparchy of Temišvar Timișoara (Temišvar)
Eparchy of Vršac Vršac
Eparchy of Arad Arad Until 1865
Eparchy of Bukovina Chernivtsi Spiritual jurisdiction only
Eparchy of Dalmatia Šibenik Spiritual jurisdiction until 1873
Eparchy of Kotor Kotor Spiritual jurisdiction until 1873

Patriarchs, 1848–1920[edit]

No. Primate Portrait Personal name Reign Title Notes
1 Josif
Ilija Rajačić
Илија Рајачић
1848–1861 Archbishop of Karlovci and Serbian Patriarch
(1st Patriarch in Karlovci)
2 Samuilo
Sava Maširević
Сава Маширевић
1864–1870 Archbishop of Karlovci and Serbian Patriarch
(2nd Patriarch in Karlovci)
3 Prokopije
Petar Ivačković
Петар Ивачковић
1874–1879 Archbishop of Karlovci and Serbian Patriarch
(3rd Patriarch in Karlovci)
4 German
Grigorije Anđelić
Григорије Анђелић
1881–1888 Archbishop of Karlovci and Serbian Patriarch
(4th Patriarch in Karlovci)
5 Georgije
Đorđe Branković
Ђорђе Бранковић
1890–1907 Archbishop of Karlovci and Serbian Patriarch
(5th Patriarch in Karlovci)
6 Lukijan
Lazar Bogdanović
Лазар Богдановић
1908–1913 Archbishop of Karlovci and Serbian Patriarch
(6th Patriarch in Karlovci)
Murdered in Bad Gastein under unclear circumstances

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Paul Robert Magocsi: Historical Atlas of Central Europe, University of Toronto Press, 2002
    "Then, in 1766, when the Ottomans abolished Pec, the Karlovci province became an independent body, eventually with six suffragan bishops (Novi Sad, Timișoara, Vrsac, Buda, Pakrac, and Karlovac), known as the Serbian Orthodox Slav Oriental Church, which after 1848 was raised to the status of a patriarchate."
  2. ^ Erwin Fahlbusch, Geoffrey William Bromiley (editors): The Encyclopedia of Christianity: J-O Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing, 2003 page 603
    In these territories a Serbian church for "Hungarian" Serbs was set up, elevated to the Patriarchate of Sremski Karlovci by Emperor Francis Joseph in 1848
  3. ^ a b Radić 2007, p. 235.
  4. ^ The Balkans and eastern Europe / The Eastern Orthodox Church since World War I, Britannica
  5. ^ Barbara Jelavich: History of the Balkans, Cambridge University Press, Jul 29, 1983 page 316
    In May 1848 Serbian national assembly attended by several thousand people met in Sremski Karlovci. The delegates chose Josip Rajačić as patriarch and Stephen Supljikac as vojvoda.
  6. ^ a b Aidan Nichols: Theology in the Russian Diaspora: Church, Fathers, Eucharist in Nikolai Afanasyev (1893–1966) CUP Archive, 1989 pages 49, 242
  7. ^ Mario Katic, Tomislav Klarin, Mike McDonald:Pilgrimage and Sacred Places in Southeast Europe: History, Religious Tourism and Contemporary Trends, LIT Verlag Münster, Jan 12, 2014 page 207
  8. ^ Vladimir Dedijer: History of Yugoslavia, McGraw-Hill Book Co., 1974 page 222
    Under successive patriarchs, of Serbian origin, unity was restored and the patriarch was even considered the ranking personage among the Serbs under Habsburg rule, organized in the see of Sremski Karlovci.
  9. ^ The Salesianum, Volumes 31-32, Alumni Association of St. Francis Seminary, 1936 page 121 Serbia were an autonomous patriarchate; the Habsburg dynasty in Austria founded the patriarchate of Karlovci.
  10. ^ Bojan Aleksov: Religious Dissent Between the Modern and the National: Nazarenes in Hungary and Serbia 1850–1914, Otto Harrassowitz Verlag, 2006 pages 37-38
    But too tight imperial control over the Karlovci Patriarchate – as in the appointment of unpopular patriarchs – tended to discredit the hierarchy in the laity's eyes, further encouraging the rise of the anti-clerical Radical Party among Hungarian Serbs
  11. ^ Dejan Medaković: Prilog Srpske akademije nauka i umetnosti javnoj raspravi o nacrtu amandmana na ustav SR Srbije, Srpska akademija nauka i umetnosti, 1989 page 53


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