Dr. Rayko Veselinovich

The role of the Serbian Orthodox Church in the development of the idea of the Serbia's statehood during foreign occupation

pages: 63-74

Abstract

After the colapse of Mediaeval Serbian states in the 15 th Century the memory of Serbian rulers, especially from Nemanich' dynasty did not vanish. The legacy of Stephan Nemanya and his son St. Sava — the State of Serbia in which political and religious life were in harmony — inherited the Serbian Orthodox Church, which survived all the Serbian mediaeval formations. Throughout the centuries of foreign jrule the Serbian clergy has preserved and cultivated that precious legacy, 'to Iwhich it gave a form of a national ideology. The final goal of that ideology was the restoration of the glorious Serbian state in the new conditions of modern times. In the formation of that national ideology many other factors contributed to its spiritual core juridical, moral, literary and political idealism.

All these factors together propagate the idea of unity of the Serbian nation, regardless of the teritorial ‘ dismemberment of /the nation's body. The frontiers of Turkey, Austria and Venice cutting through the living body of Serbian people did not succeed to offuscate the feeling of unity of the Serbianism, because the Serbian Orthodox Church united its flock across and despite all these tyrannical frontiers.

The propagators of the idea of the desired unity in the Serbian State, beside the clergy, were the family-zadruga, village and county authonomy. Those small political units, reckognized by the invadors, kept alive mediaeval legal traditions.

The restoration of the Patriarchate of Pech was decisive for upkeeping of the unity of dismembered Serbian nation, because its jurisdiction encompassed the regions from Skoplye to Budapest and from Sofia to the Adriatic Sea. The person of the Patriarch of Pech symbolically and practically represented the spiritual and national unity of all Serbs. The special hagiographies and genealogies composed to the glory of the Serbian saints contributed to the enchancing of love towards the glorious historical past of Serbia, which, in its turn, created the nostalogia of an independant Serbian State. In this respect the Serbian epic poetry published in the 19 th Century was decisive for the national leberation under Kara-George and Prince Milosh.

The romantic portraits of the Serbian mediaeval Serbian rulers could be found in monasteries and parish churches throughout all Serbian lands; from Morava Valley, Montenegro, Bosnia-Herzegovina up to Dalmatia, Croatia, Slavonia and Voyvodina. The classical church architecture also witnessed to the old glory of Serbian creativity.

According to Vasa Cubrilovich, the Serbian Church gave her contribution to the development of the Serbian political consciousness in the Serbian nation: first, linking the Orthodox faith with the national liberation, and second, purifying the Nemanich State tradition from its feudal elements;

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