Serbs of Romania

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Serbs of Romania
Total population
(18,076 (2011))
Regions with significant populations
Serbian and Romanian
Eastern Orthodoxy (Serbian Church)
Related ethnic groups
Croats of Romania

The Serbs of Romania (Romanian: Sârbii din România, Serbian: Срби у Румунији/Srbi u Rumiji) are a recognized ethnic minority numbering 18,076 people (0.1%) according to the 2011 census. The community is concentrated in western Romania, in the Romanian part of the Banat region (divided with Serbia), where they constitute absolute majority in two communes and relative majority in one other.


Historical background[edit]

Slavic presence is attested in Romania since the Early Middle Ages. The Avar Khaganate was the dominant power of the Carpathian Basin between around 567 and 803.[1] Most historians agree that Slavs and Bulgars, together with the remnants of the Avars, and possibly with Vlachs (or Romanians), inhabited the Banat region after the fall of the khaganate.[2] Place names of Slavic origin recorded already in the Middle Ages show the early presence of a Slavic-speaking population.[3]

Early modern period[edit]

From the late 14th- to the beginning of the 16th century a large number of Serbs lived in Wallachia and Moldavia.[4] Following Ottoman expansion in the 15th century, Serb mass migrations ensued into Pannonia.[4] Serbian Orthodox monasteries began to be built in the area from the 15th century, including Kusić and Senđurađ built by despot Jovan Branković, and in the 16th century including Bezdin and Hodoš built by the Jakšić family.[4] In the Ottoman period, some thirty Serbian Orthodox monasteries were built in the territory of Romania.[4]

Ottoman pressure traditionally forced members of several South Slavic communities to seek refuge in Wallachia - although under Ottoman rule as well, the latter was always subject to less requirements[clarification needed] than regions to south of the Danube.

The Serbian Uprising in Banat (1594) included territories part of modern Romania. There were reprisals, contemporary sources speaking of "the living envied the dead".[5] After the crushing of the uprising in Banat, many Serbs migrated to Transylvania under the leadership of Bishop Teodor; the territory towards Ineu and Teiuș was settled, where Serbs had lived since earlier – the Serbs had their eparchies, opened schools, founded churches and printing houses.[5]

Serbs-proper probably constituted the vast majority of mercenary troops known as seimeni, given that their nucleus is attested to have been formed by "Serb seimeni" (as it was during their revolt in 1655), and that the rule of Prince Matei Basarab had witnessed the arrival of a large group of Serb refugees.

The Great Migrations of the Serbs in 1690 and 1737–39 led to additional settlement of Serbs.


These groups are, however, hard to distinguish one from another in early Wallachian references, as the term "Serbs" is regularly applied to all Southern Slavs, no matter where they might have originated. This only changed in the 19th century, through a transition made clear by an official statistic of 1830, which reads "census of how many Serbs are resident here in the town of Ploiești, all of them Bulgarians" (Giurescu, p. 269).

The Bărăgan deportations (1951–56) saw minorities (including Serbs) from the Banat region bordering Yugoslavia deported to south-eastern Romania due to the deteriorating Yugoslav–USSR relations and the perceived "elements who present a danger through their presence in the area" to the Romanian Communist regime.[6]


According to the 2011 census, there was 18,076 people of the Serb minority,[7] down from 22,561 people in 2002.

In Caraș-Severin County, the Serbs constitute an absolute majority in the commune of Pojejena (52.09%)[8] and a plurality in the commune of Socol (49.54%).[9] Serbs also constitute absolute majority in the municipality of Svinița (87.27%) in the Mehedinți County.[10] The region where these three municipalities are located is known as Clisura Dunării in Romanian or Banatska Klisura (Банатска Клисура) in Serbian.


The following localities had a Serb population greater than 1% according to the 2011 census. Serbian placenames are included in brackets.


Most of the Serbs in Romania are Orthodox Christians; the vast majority belong to Serbian Orthodox Church Eparchy of Timișoara.

List of Serbian Orthodox monasteries in Romania:

  • Sveti Đurađ monastery (Манастир светог Ђорђа - Манастир свети Ђурађ / Manastir svetog Đorđa - Manastir sveti Đurađ). According to the legend, it was founded in 1485 by the Serbian despot, Jovan Branković. It was rebuilt in the 18th century.
  • Šemljug monastery (Манастир Шемљуг / Manastir Šemljug). It was founded in the 15th century.
  • Sveti Simeon monastery (Манастир светог Симеона / Manastir svetog Simeona).
  • Bazjaš monastery (Манастир Базјаш / Manastir Bazjaš), built 1225
  • Bezdin monastery (Манастир Бездин / Manastir Bezdin).
  • Zlatica monastery (Манастир Златица / Manastir Zlatica).
  • Kusić monastery (Манастир Кусић / Manastir Kusić).
  • The "St. Peter and Paul" Serbian Church, raised in 1698-1702 in Arad, early Baroque architecture

Notable people[edit]

Tsar Jovan Nenad monument crop.jpg
Count Đorđe Branković, Franz Schilhabel, 1849.jpg
Dositej Obradovic.jpg
Sava Tekelija by Mor Than.jpg
Kiev-St (3).jpg
Andrei Ivanovitch.jpg
Iosif Ivanovici.jpg

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Engel 2001, pp. 2-3.
  2. ^ Oța 2014, p. 18.
  3. ^ Györffy 1987b, pp. 306, 470.
  4. ^ a b c d Cerović 1997.
  5. ^ a b Cerović 1997, Oslobodilački pokreti u vreme Turaka.
  6. ^ Dennis Deletant (January 1999). Communist Terror in Romania: Gheorghiu-Dej and the Police State, 1948-1965. C. Hurst & Co. Publishers. pp. 142–. ISBN 978-1-85065-386-8. 
  7. ^ "Rezultatele finale ale Recensământului din 2011 - Tab8. Populaţia stabilă după etnie – judeţe, municipii, oraşe, comune" (in Romanian). National Institute of Statistics (Romania). 5 July 2013. Retrieved 18 December 2013. 
  8. ^
  9. ^
  10. ^
  11. ^ George Călinescu; Al Piru (1982). Istoria literaturii române: de la origini pînă în prezent. Editura Vlad & Vlad. p. 517. ISBN 978-973-95572-2-1. 
  12. ^ Olivera Bogavac (28 March 1990). "Tempo magazine #1257, pg. 11" (in Serbo-Croatian). Tempo magazine. 
  13. ^ "Romanian Coach Keeps Up the Fight" Jane Perlez, New York Times, July 13, 1995


Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]