The Communist Authorities and the Serbian Orthodox Church in Bosnia-Herzegovina (1945-1955) - Pressure, Attacks, Arrests and Trials Cover Image

Komunistička vlast i Srpska Pravoslavna Crkva u Bosni i Hercegovini (1945-1955) - Pritisci, napadi, hapšenja i suđenja
The Communist Authorities and the Serbian Orthodox Church in Bosnia-Herzegovina (1945-1955) - Pressure, Attacks, Arrests and Trials

Author(s): Denis Bećirović
Subject(s): History
Published by: Institut za noviju istoriju Srbije
Keywords: Serbian Orthodox Church; clergy; religion; oppression; Yugoslavia; Bosnia-Herzegovina; Communism

Summary/Abstract: The communists, as undisputed and the only powers that be started building up a new socio­political order in Yugoslavia (Bosnia­Herzegovina) during the first years after WWII. They completely monopolized all segments of development of the society in Bosnia­Herzegovina. Due to their atheist ideology and the endeavors to obviate religious communities from social life, the communist authorities imposed a number of legal and other measures against these communities, aimed at their marginalization. The religious communities in Bosnia­Herzegovina became the only independent institutions legally separated from the state. They remained the only favorable place from where resistance to the communist reshaping of social life was possible. Because of that the communists of Bosnia­Herzegovina launched a number of measures aimed at weakening and discrediting the religious communities in this republic. The state and party apparatus in Yugoslavia (Bosnia­Herzegovina) regarded the larger part of the clergy of the Serbian Orthodox Church (SOC) as a real or potential enemy of the state. The new authorities applied a number of measures which helped weaken the position and influence of the SOC in the society. Parallel with these measures government organs implemented organized activities aimed at squaring accounts with those priests who, as the communists put it, were in one way or another, implicated in the activity of the Chetnik movement and especially with those responsible for war crimes. The government applied measures of oppression on those ministers in Bosnia­Herzegovina who refused to comply with the policy of the new authorities after 1945. Most often priests were labeled and accused as “reactionaries“, “enemy elements“, “class enemies“ etc. Punishment or ideological and political measures were meant to have preventive effect, but in practice they often produced contrary results. In course of oppression against the clergy there were also groundless accusations against ministers, as is testified by some Party documents. Regarding arrests and trials of SOC clergy in Bosnia­Herzegovina between 1945 and 1955 on the whole, it is obvious that the repressive measures of the government organs were most frequently applied during the first four post­ ­war years. Nevertheless, compared with other religious communities, especially with the Roman­Catholic Church in Bosnia­Herzegovina, the repression against SOC was smaller in scope.

  • Issue Year: 2010
  • Issue No: 3
  • Page Range: 73-87
  • Page Count: 15
  • Language: Bosnian