Eparchy of Banat

Eparchy of Banat
Банатска епархија
Banatska eparhija

Coat of Arms of Eparchy of Banat
Territory Serbian Banat
Headquarters Vršac, Serbia
Denomination Eastern Orthodox
Sui iuris church Serbian Orthodox Church
Patriarchate of Peć (Serbia)
Established 16th century
Language Church Slavonic
Current leadership
Bishop Nikanor Bogunović

The Eparchy of Banat (Serbian: Банатска епархија or Banatska eparhija) is an ecclesiastical territory or eparchy of the Serbian Orthodox Church in the Banat region, Serbia. It is mostly situated in the autonomous province of Vojvodina, while the eparchy also include a small south-western part of Banat that belongs to the City of Belgrade as well as village of Ostrovo that belongs to the city of Požarevac. The seat of the eparchy is in Vršac.


Serbian Patriarch Makarije I
Serbian Patriarch Arsenije III
Serbian Patriarch Arsenije IV
Serbian Patriarch Josif Rajačić, former Bishop of Vršac

Serbian Orthodox Eparchy of Vršac was one of several eparchies created on the territory of Banat during 16th century under the jurisdiction of the Serbian Patriarchate of Peć. By the time of the accession of Serbian patriarch Makarije I (1557), much of the Banat region was already conquered by the Turks who took over Temeswar in 1552.[1] Region was organized as a Turkish eyalet (province) named the Eyalet of Temeşvar.

During Turkish rule in 16th and 17th century Banat was mainly populated by Serbs (also called Rascians) in the west and Vlachs (Romanians) in the east. In some historical sources it was referred to as Rascia and in others as Wallachia. Both Serbs and Romanians in Banat were Orthodox Christians. In some parts of Banat, Serbs were so numerous that the entire region was sometimes called "Rascia" ("the land of the Serbs", 1577).[2]

At the beginning of the Austro-Turkish War (1593-1606), in the spring of 1594, Serbs in Banat started an Uprising against Turkish rule. The local Romanians also participated in this uprising. Rebels took Vršac and various other towns in Banat and started negotiations with Prince of Transylvania. One of the leaders of the uprising was Serbian Orthodox Bishop Theodore.[3]

During Austro-Turkish War (1683-1699), Serbian patriarch Arsenije III sided with Austrians and appointed Spiridon Štibica as new Bishop of Vršac in 1694. Austrian troops took over parts of Banat and Eparchy of Vršac was officially recognized as a diocese of Serbian Orthodox Church by the charter of emperor Leopold I in 1695.

Under the Treaty of Karlowitz (1699) the Banat remained under Turkish administration. At the beginning of Austro-Turkish War (1716-1718), when Prince Eugene of Savoy took the Banat region from the Turks, Serbian Bishop of Vršac was Mojsije Stanojević. He sided with Austrians and secured official confirmation. After the Treaty of Passarowitz (1718), region became an Austrian province and was renamed as the Banat of Temeswar.

Eparchy of Vršac at first went under the jurisdiction of Serbian Orthodox Metropolitanate of Belgrade.[4] During Austro-Turkish War (1737-1739), Serbian Patriarch Arsenije IV sided with Austrians and made his residence in Sremski Karlovci. Eparchy of Vršac remained under the jurisdiction of Serbian Orthodox Metroplitanate of Karlovci, until 1920, when united Serbian Patriarchate was re-created.

During 18th and 19th century, prominent Serbian bishops of Vršac were Jovan Đorđević, who became Metropolitan of Karlovci in 1769 and Josif Rajačić who became Metropolitan of Karlovci in 1842 and Serbian Patriarch in 1848.

During the First World War (1914-1918), many Serbian priests and parish councilors of the Eparchy of Vršac were persecuted, imprisoned or sent to concentration camps by the authorities of Austria-Hungary. The region of Banat was liberated and united with Serbia in 1918, becoming part of newly created Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes (Yugoslavia). New border with Romania was established in 1919. Eparchy of Vršac was reorganized and renamed as Eparchy of Banat in 1931.

During the Second World War, territory of the Eparchy was occupied by forces of Nazi Germany from 1941 to 1944. German forces committed numerous atrocities against orthodox Serbs in Banat and also against local Jews and Gypsies. After the Liberation in 1944 and the establishment of new communist regime in Yugoslavia, Eparchy of Banat was kept under constant political pressure, until the collapse of the communist one-party system (1988-1990).


Eparchies and monasteries of Serbian Orthodox Church in Vojvodina


Bishop Georgije Letić
Bishop Vikentije Vujić

From the middle of 16th century up to the beginning of 18rh century, under the jurisdiction of the Serbian Patriarchate of Peć, Bishops of Vršac were styled as titular metropolitans, as was customary for all diocesan bishops. Later, under the jurisdiction of the Serbian Orthodox Metroplitanate of Karlovci, diocesans of Vršac were simply styled as bishops. Title was changed from "Vršac" to "Banat" after territorial reorganization in 1931.

Bishops of Vršac

Bishops of Banat

See also


  1. Ćirković 2008, p. 119.
  2. Palffy 2001, p. 109-132.
  3. Ćirković 2008, p. 141-142.
  4. Точанац 2008, p. 151-166.


External links

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