The Eastern Christian Churches by Ronald Roberson

Greek Catholic Churches in Former Yugoslavia

The first Greek Catholics in what would later be Yugoslavia were Serbians living in Hungarian-controlled Croatia in the early 17th century. In 1611 they were given a bishop who served as Byzantine vicar of the Latin Bishop of Zagreb. He had his headquarters at Marcha Monastery, which became a center of efforts to bring Serbian Orthodox faithful in Croatia into communion with Rome.

After a period of tension with the local Latin bishops, the Serbs in Croatia were given their own diocesan bishop by Pope Pius VI on June 17, 1777, with his see at Križevci, near Zagreb. At first he was made suffragan to the Primate of Hungary, and later (1853) to the Latin Archbishop of Zagreb.

The diocese of Križevci was extended to embrace all the Greek Catholics in Yugoslavia when the country was founded after World War I. The diocese included five distinct groups: some ethnic Serbs in Croatia, Ruthenians who had emigrated from Slovakia around 1750, Ukrainians who emigrated from Galicia in about 1900, Slavic Macedonians in the south of the country who became Catholic through missionary activity in the 19th century, and a few Romanians in the Yugoslavian Banat.

After the breakup of Yugoslavia into several independent republics in 1991, new arrangements were necessary for the Greek Catholics in the region. In 2001 an Apostolic Exarchate was established for Greek Catholics in the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, headed by the Latin Bishop of Skopje, presently Kiro Stojanov (born 1959, appointed 2005). It now has five parishes and 11,491 faithful. In 2003 an Apostolic Exarchate was created for Greek Catholics in Serbia and Montenegro, headed by Bishop Djura Džudžar (born 1954, appointed 2003). It has 21 parishes and 22,720 faithful, consisting mostly of a group of ethnic Rusyn Greek Catholics in the region of Vojvodina. The diocese of Križevci now includes Croatia, Slovenia and Bosnia-Herzegovina. Headed by Bishop Nikola Nino Kekić (born 1943, appointed 2009), it has 21,480 faithful in 44 parishes. Since 1966 the diocesan offices have been located in Zagreb.

Last Modified: 30 March 2012

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