The article attempts to define the role of the Serbian Orthodox Church in the formation and preservation of the Serbian national identity. Religion is a significant factor of human self-identification that influences the formation of the national identity. However, scholarly and public debate continues about how and why it happens and to what extent influential social actors can control and direct these processes. The Serbian Orthodox Church has been criticized for its conservatism, privileged standing, and insufficient attention to real social problems. Nevertheless, at the same time, it remains one of the most respected Serbian social institutions, and its political activity and influence occasionally increase. This study analyses the activity of the Serbian Orthodox Church at the present stage and in different periods of the history of the Serbian nation (the Nemanjić dynasty rule, the Ottoman conquest, Austro-Hungarian occupation, the national liberation movement and independence, World War II and communist Yugoslavia). Special interest in the Serbian “case” is driven by the historically prominent role of religion in the Balkan region and the influence of external forces on regional processes, which was bound to leave a profound imprint on the self-determination of the nations, inhabiting the area. Drawing on scientific research, the speeches of political figures, surveys and archival documents, we argue that the most significant areas of activity of the Serbian Orthodox Church for national self-awareness are strengthening historical memory, cultural and religious activity, building constructive relations with state authorities based on the principle of “symphony”, and church diplomacy.
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31 March 2022
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Morozova, N. M., Kolobova, S. A., Korshunov, D. S., Mitrović, M., & Zhiganova, A. V. (2022). Serbian Orthodox Church And Serbian National Identity. In & I. Savchenko (Ed.), Freedom and Responsibility in Pivotal Times, vol 125. European Proceedings of Social and Behavioural Sciences (pp. 675-683). European Publisher. https://doi.org/10.15405/epsbs.2022.03.81