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SERBIA
Religion

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Belgrade

Religion

The constitution guarantees religious freedom and church and state are separated in Serbia, at least as long as the interests of the state are not harmed. The Christian Serbian Orthodox Church, founded in 1219, is the largest faith community in Serbia at 85%, followed by Roman Catholics at 5.5%, Muslims at 3.2%, Protestants at 1.1%, other religions and atheists at 5.2%.

Serbia became Christian in the 7th century under the influence of Byzantine missionaries. Most of the country was Christian around AD 790. For the next two centuries, Serbia was alternately influenced by Rome and Constantinople, until in 1054 the Eastern Orthodox Church seceded from Rome. Problems with the primacy of the Pope and the language of the Creed were at the root of this.

For the next 165 years, all archbishops were appointed by the Patriarchate of Constantinople, but in 1219 the Serbian Orthodox Church seceded from the Eastern Orthodox Church. It was Stefan Nemanja's youngest son Sava who negotiated an independent status with Constantinople.

Sava, who was proclaimed a saint like his father, became the first physician-bishop of the Serbian Orthodox Church and has been the patron saint of the Serbs ever since. There are many Saint Sava churches not only in Serbia, but also in the rest of the world, especially in Canada and the United States.

Islam was introduced to the Balkans by the Ottoman Turks. Over a period of 500 years, many people were forced to convert to Islam. At present, Islam is mainly adhered to in Kosovo. Approx. 85% of Kosovars are Muslim Albanians. The rest are mainly Catholic Croats and Protestant Hungarians in northern Serbia.


Sources

Detrez, R. / Servië-Montenegro : mensen, politiek, economie, cultuur, milieu
Koninklijk Instituut voor de Tropen ; Novib

Milivojevic, J. / Serbia
Children’s Press

Mitchell, L. / Serbia
Bradt Travel Guides

Schuman, M.A. / Serbia and Montenegro
Facts On File

CIA - World Factbook

BBC - Country Profiles

Last updated May 2024
Copyright: Team The World of Info