Metropolitanate of Karlovci


Metropolitanate of Karlovci

Карловачка митрополија
Karlovačka mitropolija
Coat of Arms of Metropolitanate of Karlovci
TerritoryHabsburg Monarchy
HeadquartersKarlovci, Habsburg Monarchy (today Sremski Karlovci, Serbia)
DenominationSerbian Orthodox Church
Sui iuris churchSelf-governing Serbian Orthodox Metropolitanate
Dissolved1848 (1920)
LanguageChurch Slavonic
Collection of Imperial Privileges, granted to Eastern Orthodox Serbs by Charles VI: front page of the issue printed in 1732
Confirmation of Serbian Privileges, issued by Maria Theresa in 1743
Serbian Orthodox Monastery of Krušedol, first seat of the Metropolitanate, from 1708 to 1713: graphics from 1775
Serbian Orthodox Cathedral of Saint Nicolas in Sremski Karlovci, built from 1758 to 1762: cathedral church of the Metropolitanate

The Metropolitanate of Karlovci (Serbian: Карловачка митрополија, romanizedKarlovačka mitropolija) was a metropolitanate of the Serbian Orthodox Church that existed between 1708 and 1848 (1920).[1] Between 1708 and 1713 it was known as the Metropolitanate of Krušedol, and between 1713 and 1848 as the Metropolitanate of Karlovci. In 1848, it was transformed into the Patriarchate of Karlovci, which existed until 1920, when it was merged with Metropolitanate of Belgrade and other Serbian church provinces to form the united Serbian Orthodox Church.


During the 16th and 17th centuries, all of the southern and central parts of the former medieval Kingdom of Hungary were under Turkish rule and organized as Ottoman Hungary. Since 1557, Serbian Orthodox Church in those regions was under jurisdiction of the Serbian Patriarchate of Peć. During the Austro-Turkish war (1683–1699), much of the central and southern Hungary was liberated and Serbian eparchies in those regions fell under the Habsburg rule. In 1689, Serbian Patriarch Arsenije III sided with Austrians, and moved from Peć to Belgrade in 1690, leading the Great Migration of the Serbs. In that time, a large number of Serbs migrated to southern and central parts of Hungary.[2][3]

Important privileges were given to them by Emperor Leopold I in three imperial chapters (Diploma Leopoldinum) the first issued on 21 August 1690, the second a year later, on 20 August 1691, and the third on 4 March 1695.[4] Privileges allowed Serbs to keep their Eastern Orthodox faith and church organization headed by archbishop and bishops. In next two centuries of its autonomous existence, autonomous Serbian Church in Habsburg Monarchy was organized on the basis of privileges originally received from the emperor.[5]

Creation and reorganization (1708–1748)

Until death in 1706, head of the church was Patriarch Arsenije III who reorganized eparchies and appointed new bishops. He held the title of Serbian Patriarch until the end of his life. New emperor Joseph I (1705-1711), following the advice of cardinal Leopold Karl von Kollonitsch abolished that title, and substitute it with less distinguished title of archbishop or metropolitan. In his decree, Emperor Joseph I stated, "we must make sure that they never elect another Patriarch since it is against the Catholic Church and the doctrine of the Fathers of the Church". According to that, future primates of the Serbian Orthodox Church in Habsburg Monarchy will bare the title of archbishop and metropolitan. The only exception from the Imperial decree was the case of later Serbian Patriarch Arsenije IV Jovanović (1725-1748) who brought his title directly from the historic see of Peć (1737).[6]

After the death of Patriarch Arsenije III (1706), the Serbian Church Council was held in the Monastery of Krušedol in 1708 and proclaimed Krušedol to be the official cathedral seat of the newly elected Archbishop and Metropolitan Isaija Đaković, while all administrative activities were moved to the nearby city of Sremski Karlovci. The monastery of Krušedol was bequest of the late medieval Serbian ruling family of Branković in the beginning of the 16th century, which was the main historical and national reason for the Serbs to choose this monastery as their Church capital.[7]

Between 1708 and 1713, the seat of the Metropolitanate was in the monastery of Krušedol, and in 1713 it was moved to Karlovci (today Sremski Karlovci, Serbia). The new archbishop Vićentije Popović (1713-1725) moved all administration from Krušedol to Karlovci.[8] So, the new capital of the Serbian Orthodox Church in Habsburg Monarchy became Sremski Karlovci which was confirmed by the seal of Imperial approval in the charter of Emperor Charles VI issued in October the same year.

During the Austro-Turkish War (1716-1718), regions of Lower Syrmia, Banat, central Serbia with Belgrade, and Oltenia were liberated from Ottoman rule, and under the Treaty of Passarowitz (1718) became part of Habsburg Monarchy.[9] Political change was followed by ecclesiastical reorganization. Eparchies in newly liberated regions were not subjected to the Metropolitan of Karlovci, mainly because Habsburg authorities did not want to allow the creation of unified and centralized administrative structure of the Eastern Orthodox Church in the Monarchy. Instead of that, they supported the creation of a separate metropolitanate for Eastern Orthodox Serbs and Romanians in liberated regions, centered in Belgrade. The newly created Metropolitanate of Belgrade was headed by metropolitan Mojsije Petrović (d. 1730). New autonomous Metropolitanate of Belgrade had jurisdiction over Kingdom of Serbia and Banat, and also over Oltenia.[10] The creation of new metropolitan province was approved by Serbian Patriarch Mojsije I Rajović (1712-1725), who also recommended future unification. Shortly after, two metropolitanates did merge, in 1726, and by the imperial decree of Charles VI, the administrative capital of Serbian Orthodox Church was moved from Sremski Karlovci to Belgrade in 1731. Metropolitan Vićentije Jovanović (1731-1737) resided in Belgrade.[6]

During the Austro-Turkish War (1737-1739), Serbian Patriarch Arsenije IV Jovanović (1725-1748) sided with the Habsburgs and in 1737 left Peć and came to Belgrade, taking over the administration of the Metropolitanate. He received imperial confirmation, and when Belgrade fell to Ottomans in the autumn of 1739, he moved the church headquarters to Sremski Karlovci.

Consolidation of the Metropolitanate (1748–1848)

In 1748, patriarch Arsenije IV died, and church council was held for the election of a new primate of the Serbian Orthodox Church in the Habsburg Monarchy. After the short tenure of metropolitan Isaija Antonović (1748-1749), another church council was held, electing the new metropolitan Pavle Nenadović (1749-1768).[11] During his tenure important administrative reforms were undertaken in the Metropolitanate of Karlovci. He also tried to help the patriarchal mother-church in Peć, under the Ottoman rule, but the old Serbian Patriarchate could not be saved. In 1766, the Serbian Patriarchate of Peć was finally abolished, and all of its eparchies that were under Turkish rule were overtaken by the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople. Serbian hierarchs of the Metropolitanate of Karlovci had no intention to submit themselves to the Greek Patriarch in Constantinople, and the Ecumenical Patriarchate also had enough wisdom not to demand their submission. From that time, Metropolitanate of Karlovci continued functioning as the fully independent ecclesiastical center of Eastern Orthodoxy in the Habsburg Monarchy, with seven suffragan bishops (Bačka, Vršac, Temišvar, Arad, Buda, Pakrac and Upper Karlovac).[12]

The position of Serbs and their Church in Habsburg Monarchy was further regulated by reforms brought about by Dowager-Empress Maria Theresa, Queen of Hungary (1740-1780). The Serbian Church Council of 1769 regulated various issues in a special act named "Regulament" and, later, in similar act called the Declaratory Rescript of the Illyrian Nation, published in 1779.[5] The death of Maria Theresa in 1780 marked the end the old imperial and royal House of Habsburg, highly respected among Orthodox Serbs, and succession passed to the new dynasty, called the House of Habsburg-Lorraine that ruled until 1918. Enlightened reforms of emperor Joseph II (1780-1790) affected all religious institutions in the Monarchy, including the Metropolitanate of Karlovci.

Serbian metropolitans of Sremski Karlovci promoted the Enlightenment by introducing western education in the schools established in Sremski Karlovci (1733), and in Novi Sad (1737). In order to counter the Roman Catholic influence, the school curricula was exposed to cultural influence of the Russian Orthodox Church. As early as in 1724 the Holy Synod of Russian Orthodox Church sent M. Suvorov to open a school in Sremski Karlovci, which graduates were thereof passed on to Kievan seminary, and the more gifted to the Academy in Kiev.[13] The Church liturgical language became Russian Slavonic, called the New Church Slavonic. On another hand, baroque influence became visible in the church architecture, iconography, literature and theology.[14]

During the eighteenth century the Metropolitanate maintained close connections with Kiev and the Russian Orthodox Church. Many Serbian theological students were educated in Kiev. A Seminary was open in 1794 which educated Orthodox priests during the nineteenth century for the needs of the Karlovci Metropolitanate and beyond.[5]

By the end of the 18th century, the Metropolitanate of Karlovci included a large territory that stretched from the Adriatic Sea to Bukovina and from Danube and Sava to Upper Hungary. During the long tenure of highly conservative metropolitan Stefan Stratimirović (1790-1836),[15] internal reforms were halted, resulting in the gradual formation of two fractions that would subsequently mark the life of Orthodox Serbs in the Metropolitanate, and later Patriarchate of Karlovci throughout the 19th century. First fraction was clerical and conservative. It was led by majority of bishops and higher clergy. Second fraction was oriented towards further reforms within the church administration, in order to allow more influence on decision making to lower clergy, laity and civil leaders. In the same time, aspirations towards Serbian national autonomy within the Empire gained great importance, leading to historical events of 1848.[16]

Eparchies under direct or spiritual jurisdiction of Karlovci

It included following eparchies:

Eparchy Seat Notes
Eparchy of Arad Arad
Eparchy of Bačka Novi Sad Bačka
Eparchy of Belgrade Belgrade (Beograd) (1726–1739)
Eparchy of Buda Szentendre (Sentandreja)
Eparchy of Gornji Karlovac Karlovac
Eparchy of Kostajnica Kostajnica (1713–1771)
Eparchy of Lepavina Lepavina (1733–1750)
Eparchy of Mohács Mohács (Mohač) (until 1732)
Eparchy of Pakrac Pakrac Now Eparchy of Slavonia
Eparchy of Râmnicu Râmnicu Vâlcea (Rimnik) (1726–1739)
Eparchy of Srem Sremski Karlovci Syrmia
Eparchy of Temišvar Timișoara (Temišvar) Banat
Eparchy of Valjevo Valjevo (1726–1739)
Eparchy of Vršac Vršac Banat
Eparchy of Transilvania Sibiu (Sibinj) Spiritual jurisdiction only
Eparchy of Bukovina Chernivtsi (Černovci) Spiritual jurisdiction only
Eparchy of Dalmatia Šibenik Spiritual jurisdiction only

Heads of Serbian Orthodox Church in Habsburg Monarchy, 1690–1848

No. Primate Portrait Personal name Reign Title Notes
1 Arsenije III
Арсеније III
Arsenius III
Arsenije III.jpg Arsenije Čarnojević
Арсеније Чарнојевић
1690–1706 Archbishop of Peć and Serbian Patriarch Leader of the First Serbian Migration
2 Isaija I
Исаија I
Isaias I
No image.png Isaija Đaković
Исаија Ђаковић
1708 Metropolitan of Krušedol
3 Sofronije
No image.png Sofronije Podgoričanin
Софроније Подгоричанин
1710–1711 Metropolitan of Krušedol
4 Vikentije I
Викентије I
Vicentius I
No image.png Vikentije Popović-Hadžilavić
Викентије Поповић-Хаџилавић
1713–1725 Metropolitan of Karlovci
5 Mojsije I
Мојсије I
Moses I
No image.png Mojsije Petrović
Мојсије Петровић
1726–1730 Metropolitan of Belgrade and Karlovci
6 Vikentije II
Викентије II
Vicentius II
Vikentije Jovanović.jpg Vikentije Jovanović
Викентије Јовановић
1731–1737 Metropolitan of Belgrade and Karlovci
7 Arsenije IV
Арсеније IV
Arsenius IV
Arsenije IV Jovanović Šakabenta.jpg Arsenije IV Jovanović Šakabenta
Арсеније Јовановић Шакабента
1737–1748 Archbishop of Peć and Serbian Patriarch Leader of the Second Serbian Migration
8 Isaija II
Исаија II
Isaias II
No image.png Isaija Antonović
Јован Антоновић
1748–1749 Metropolitan of Karlovci
9 Pavle
Pavle Nenadović.jpg Pavle Nenadović
Павле Ненадовић
1749–1768 Metropolitan of Karlovci
10 Jovan
No image.png Jovan Georgijević
Јован Ђорђевић
1768–1773 Metropolitan of Karlovci
11 Vićentije III
Вићентије III
Vicentius III
No image.png Vićentije Jovanović Vidak
Вићентије Јовановић Видак
1774–1780 Metropolitan of Karlovci
12 Mojsije II
Мојсије II
Moses II
Mojsej Putnik.jpg Mojsije Putnik
Мојсије Путник
1781–1790 Metropolitan of Karlovci
13 Stefan I
Стефан I
Stephen I
Mitropolit karlovački Stefan Stratimirović.jpg Stefan Stratimirović
Стефан Стратимировић
1790–1836 Metropolitan of Karlovci
14 Stefan II
Стефан II
Stephen II
No image.png Stefan Stanković
Стефан Станковић
1836–1841 Metropolitan of Karlovci
15 Josif
Патријарх српски Јосиф.jpg Josif Rajačić
Јосиф Рајачић
1842–1848 Metropolitan of Karlovci Elevated to Patriarch

See also


  1. ^ The Encyclopedia of Eastern Orthodox Christianity, Volume 2 by John Anthony McGuckin, Wiley, Feb 8, 2011 page 564
    "The Serbian Church organization in the Habsburg monarchy was centered on the metropolitan of (Sremski) Karlovac, which in 1710 the patriarch of Peć, Kalinik I, recognized as autonomous."
  2. ^ Pavlović 2002, pp. 19-20.
  3. ^ Ćirković 2004, p. 144, 244.
  4. ^ Plamen Mitev (editor): Empires and Peninsulas: Southeastern Europe Between Karlowitz and the Peace of Adrianople, 1699 - 1829, LIT Verlag Münster, 2010 page 257
  5. ^ a b c Mario Katic, Tomislav Klarin, Mike McDonald: Pilgrimage and Sacred Places in Southeast Europe: History, Religious Tourism and Contemporary Trends, LIT Verlag Münster, Oct 1, 2014 page 207
  6. ^ a b Jelena Todorovic: An Orthodox Festival Book in the Habsburg Empire: Zaharija Orfelin's Festive Greeting to Mojsej Putnik (1757), Ashgate Publishing, Ltd., 2006 pages 12-13
  7. ^ Ćirković 2004, p. 150.
  8. ^ Ćirković 2004, p. 150-151.
  9. ^ Ingrao, Samardžić & Pešalj 2011.
  10. ^ Ćirković 2004, p. 151-152.
  11. ^ Ćirković 2004, p. 165.
  12. ^ Bojan Aleksov: Religious Dissent Between the Modern and the National: Nazarenes in Hungary and Serbia 1850-1914, Otto Harrassowitz Verlag, 2006 page 33
  13. ^ Aidan Nichols: Theology in the Russian Diaspora: Church, Fathers, Eucharist in Nikolai Afanasʹev (1893-1966), CUP Archive, 1989 page 49
  14. ^ Augustine Casiday: The Orthodox Christian World, Routledge, Aug 21, 2012 page 135
  15. ^ Ćirković 2004, p. 167, 171.
  16. ^ Ćirković 2004, p. 200-202.


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External links

  • About Metropolitanate of Karlovci (in Serbian)