The main religion in Serbia and the religion of the vast majority of ethnic Serbs is Christian Orthodox. The Serbian Orthodox Church became autonomous (1219). The Church played a major role in the development of the Serbian national identity. This was especially true after the Ottoman conquest. Serbian nationalism to this day is intertwined with the Orthodox faith. Some of the minority groups in Serbia are also Orthodox, including the Romanians, Bulgarians and many Romani. Other religions include: Islam, Roman Catholic, Protestant, Jewish and others. Religion is often intertwined with ethnicity. Croats are mostly Roman Catholic and Kosovars are mostly Islamic.
The main religion in Serbia and the religion of the vast majority of ethnic Serbs is Orthodox Christianity.
The Serbian Orthodox Church is one of the autocephalous (ecclesiastically independent) Orthodox Christian churches, ranking sixth after Constantinople, Alexandria, Antioch, Jerusalem, and Russia.
The Serb Orthodox is led by the Patriarch, "Archbishop of Peć, Metropolitan of Belgrade and Karlovci, and Patriarch of the Serbs."
The Serbian people gradually converted to Christianity as a result of the work from Byzantine missionaries St. Sava played a major role in the conversion of the Slavs.
The Serbian Orthodox Church became autonomous (1219). The Church played a major role in the development of the Serbian national identity. This was especially true after the Ottoman conquest. Serbian nationalism to this day is intertwined with the Orthodox faith. Some of the minority groups in Serbia are also Orthodox, including the Romanians, Bulgarians and many Romani.
It exercises jurisdiction over Orthodox Christians in Serbia and surrounding Slavic and other lands, as well as exarchates and patriarchal representation churches around the world. The Patriarch of Serbia serves as first among equals in his church; the current patriarch is His Holiness Pavle.
A HBC reader writes, "I came across a religious celebration and joined the procession and photographed it. I got ahint something special was happening today. Bells and Laural crowns were on sale everywhere. In the celebration both girls and boys wear the crowns. There is a bell ringing throughout the ceremony. The procession walks around the church three times. It then precesses into the church. People then line up for a blessing. They make the sign of the cross in front of two religious icons. These are kissed. The priest then makes the sign of the cross on the forehead of adults and children. Both men, women and children kiss the hand of the priest.
I joined the in but being Protestant could not do the crossing or the kissing. I did bow before the sacred icons and had the sign of the cross on the forehead. The priest squeezed my arm in recognition that a stranger was in his midst.
First Communion is an important time in a Serbian child's life. We do not yet have much information about Serbian First Communions. A Serbian reader tells us that she came across an exhibition in Belgrade about children's saving boxes. There was a photograph showing Serbian school boys dressed liked the photographs that HBC has posted showing German children attending their First Communions. The Serbian boys looked to be between 11-12 and were dressed in short pant suits. This is a little plder thsn the German children. Perhaps Orthodox children do their First Communuin a little later than Catholic children. The boys were also wearing the same type of military looking cap, presumably a school cap.
Serbia was one of the Balkan kingdoms conquerred by the Ottomans. King Lazar Grebelyanovich was killed at the Battle of Kosovo Polje 1389 when the Serbs suffered a disatrous defeat at the hands of Turkish Sultan Murat I. This ended the Serbian royal line and devestated the Serbian nobility. This ended the existance of Serbia as an independent state. The first of Serbiato be liberated from the Oyyomans was Vojvodina in the northwest which was acquired by te Hapsburggs and administered by the Hungarians. Jews began arrving their in the (16th century). The first group of Jews were the Sephardic refugees from Spain and Portugal. They were followed by Ashkenazic Jews (17th=19th centuries). Emperor Joseph II issued the Tolerance Edict on the eve of the French Revolution (1782). The Jews made an inportant contrubution in eastablishing new industries. One source reports that there were about 40 Jewish communities in Vojvodina (late-19th century). Most of the Vojvodina Jews were Orthodox. Serbian nationalists afer the Napoleonic Wars (1799-1815) began to agitate for indeopendence from the Ottoman Empire. The Sultan grabted Serbia internal independence (1830). As part of the Sultan's charter, Jews were given equal rights. The Serbian Constitution gve full civil rights to Jews (1888). Jews served in the Serbian Army that fought the Central Powers during World War I. Yugoslavia after World War I as built around Serbia. Jews throughout Yugoslavia received full civil rights. Anyti-Semitic incidents in Serbia were rare during the inter-War era. Serbia was at the center f resistance to NAZI encroachments in the Balkans. Riots in Belrade ousted Prince Paul who HItler had forced to join the Axis. Hitler's resonse was a the terror bombing of Belgrade and the invasion of Yugoslavia.
Most of the Serbian Jews were killed in the German World War II Holocaust. Much of the killing in Serbia was done by the puppet Serbian regime rather than the Germans themselves. As a result, there are now only small numbers of Jews living in Serbia.
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