The majority of Bosnian Serbs are members of the Serbian Orthodox Church

The first Slavic people settled the region in the first half of the 7th century. During the second half of the ninth century the Serbs received their first official baptism. The majority of the Serb population was of Byzantine rite, in an autocephalous Orthodox Church, founded by Saint Saba (†1235). The Serbian Empire reached its territorial, spiritual and cultural peak in the 14th century.

Serbia was under Ottoman rule for many years

Between 1459 and 1804, Serbia suffered the occupation of the Ottoman Empire. In 1804, the first modern independent Serbia was established. In 1903, Serbia adopted a democratic constitution, more liberal than any other country in Europe besides Britain. The Balkan League (composed of Bulgaria, Serbia, Greece and Montenegro) was victorious in the First Balkan War, which broke out in October 1912.

Serbia has experienced complex and harsh conflicts

The double assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria, heir to the throne of Austria-Hungary, and his wife (Duchess of Hohenberg) Sophia, Duchess of Hohenberg, in Sarajevo, on June 28, 1914, by the Serbian Gavrilo Princip, led to Austria-Hungary declaring war on the Kingdom of Serbia. Serbia was part of the first Yugoslavia, established in 1918 under the name Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes in 1929 (later Kingdom of Yugoslavia).

During the Second World War in 1941, Germany demanded a right of passage for its troops to help the struggling Italian army in Greece. A collaborating Serbian state was established, causing a double resistance movement to develop, with the communist partisans led by the Croatian Tito on one side, and the Chetniks on the other. The Chetniks were involved in the liberation of Serbia in 1944, but after the war were classified as "fascists and collaborators" by the Communist and other leftist press. The Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia was formed in 1945, and with Serbia as one of its constituent countries.

After Tito's death in 1980, while Slobodan Miloševi? sought to preserve Yugoslav unity by playing on Serbian nationalism, Slovenia and Croatia declared independence on June 25, 1991. The federal army (JNA) intervened against the two breakaway republics. In late 1991, Bosnia-Herzegovina and Macedonia, in turn, proclaimed their independence, which triggered a three-year war in Bosnia-Herzegovina.

The Faith relected in Icons

From an artistic point of view, the icons of Ohrid and the iconostasis Catholikos Decani are remarkable.


Sources : Attilio GALLI, Madre della Chiesa dei Cinque continenti, Ed. Segno, Udine, 1997.