Serbian Orthodox Church



The people of modern day Serbia converted to Christianity not long after their arrival in the Balkans, before the Great Schism split the Christian Church into rival Latin-speaking (Roman Catholic) and Greek-speaking Eastern Orthodox Churches. During the early Middle Ages, the religious allegiance of the Serbs was divided between the two churches.

The various Serbian principalities were united ecclesiastically in the early 13th century by Saint Sava, the son of the Serbian ruler and founder of the Serbian medieval state Stefan Nemanja and brother of Stefan Prvovencani, the first Serbian king. Sava persuaded the patriarch of the Eastern Orthodox Church to establish the Church in Serbia as an self governing body, with Sava himself as its archbishop, consecrated in 1219.

The status of the Serbian Orthodox Church grew along with the growth in size and prestige of the medieval kingdom of Serbia. When King Stefan Dušan assumed the imperial title of tsar in 1346, the Archbishopric of Pec was correspondingly raised to the rank of Patriarchate. In the century that followed, the Serbian Church achieved its greatest power and prestige.

Organization - Structure of the Church

The supreme authority of the Serbian Orthodox Church is the Holy Synod, a "parliament" composed of all its bishops, who meet once a year. A permanent synod of four members carries out the administration of the day-to-day affairs of the church.

The Serbian Orthodox Church is divided into 40 dioceses each headed by its own Metropolitan, Archbishop or Bishop

Central Beliefs - Worship

The Serbian Orthodox Church's beliefs are the same as the Greek and Russian Orthodox Churches.  It is sacramental in its worship. Serbian Orthodox Churches are highly decorated with icons and makes use of them in private prayer and worship.