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Serbian Orthodox Church

Show NameSerbian Orthodox Church
Српска православна црква
Srpska pravoslavna crkva
CaptionCathedral of Saint Sava
FounderSaint Sava
Independence1219. as an Archbishopric, Patriarchate since 1346.
Recognition1219. by Constantinople
PrimateHis Holiness the Archbishop of Peć, Metropolitan of Belgrade and Karlovci, Serbian Patriarch Irinej
HeadquartersBelgrade, Serbia
TerritorySerbia
Montenegro
Bosnia and Herzegovina
Croatia
Hungary
Republic of Macedonia
PossessionsUnited States
Canada
 
Australia
LanguageSerbian and Church Slavonic
Population7 11 million

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The Serbian Orthodox Church ( ) is one of the autocephalous Orthodox Christian churches, ranking sixth in order of seniority after Constantinople, Alexandria, Antioch, Jerusalem, and Russia. It is the second oldest Slavic Orthodox Church in the world (after the Bulgarian Orthodox Church).

The Serbian Orthodox Church is the dominant church in Serbia, Montenegro and Republika Srpska (in Bosnia and Herzegovina), with more than 84% of the population being adherents in all three countries. It is organized into metropolises and eparchies located primarily in Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro and Croatia, but also in surrounding countries, and all over the world. Since many Serbs have emigrated to foreign countries, there are now Serbian Orthodox communities worldwide.

The Serbian Orthodox Church is an autocephalous, or ecclesiastically independent, member of the Orthodox communion. The Patriarch of Serbia serves as first among equals in his church; The current patriarch is His Holiness Irinej. The Church achieved autocephalous status in 1219 under the leadership of St. Sava, becoming independent Archeparchy of Žiča. Its status was elevated to that of a patriarchate in 14th century, and was known afterwards as the Patriarchate of Peć. This patriarchate was abolished by the Ottoman Turks in the 18th century. The modern Serbian Orthodox Church was established in 1920 after the unification of the Patriarchate of Karlovci and the Metropolitanate of Belgrade.

The Serbian Orthodox Church owns many significant Christian relics, such as the right hand of John the Baptist, Saint George's hand and skull parts, Holy Cross segments, St. Paraskevi's finger and body of St. Basil of Ostrog, among others.


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