Home News Serbian Patriarch Gavrilo Dožić, Captive in Both World Wars

Serbian Patriarch Gavrilo Dožić, Captive in Both World Wars


Gavrilo Dožić, who was in the camp in both the First and the Second World War, passed away exactly 70 years ago, and on that occasion, the Metropolitanate of Montenegro and the Littoral prepared his memoirs, writings, and biography.

The church has its own centuries-old order that must not be disturbed under the influence of political circumstances and cannot meet the demands to give Macedonians independence outside the canon, and if they decided on an “outlaw adventure”, no Orthodox church would recognize it. The issue of the independence of the Macedonian Orthodox Church has been brought up again these days by requests for the Ecumenical Patriarch to grant them autocephaly, and the quoted position of the head of the Serbian Orthodox Church, from whom independence is no longer sought, according to the canons.

The quoted views, in fact, were expressed in May 1947 at a meeting in the Patriarchate, and they were presented to the then officials by Patriarch Gavrilo Dožić. Gavril Dožić, a prisoner of Austro-Hungarian and German camps in two world wars, a clergyman of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, the head of the Serbian Church who supported the demonstrations on March 27, 1941, and the rejection of the Triple Alliance, and Gavrilo Dožić, will be able to get to know them better. was recently announced by the Metropolitanate of Montenegro and the Littoral on the occasion of the seventieth anniversary of his death.

It consists of three books, “Memoirs”, “Writings” and “Biography”. Along with the little-known second book “Memoirs”, it is interesting that for the first time more than 100 documents, letters, epistles, acts of Patriarch Gavrilo are published, while his “Biography” was written by historian Radmila Radić. Describing him as one of the most important figures in the eighth-century history of the Serbian Orthodox Church, Archpriest-Staurophore Dr. Velibor Džomić, author of several books on the history of the Serbian Church, says that the most interesting and historically important periods of his hierarchical service are related to the Metropolitanate of Peja. – coastal in the Kingdom of SCS / Yugoslavia, captivity in the Second World War, and the Serbian Patriarchate in the Kingdom of Yugoslavia, but also in socialist Yugoslavia.

“He made an immeasurable contribution to the second renewal of the Peć Patriarchate from 1918 to 1922, and he always established the unity of the Serbian people.” He was elected patriarch of Serbia in one of the most complex moments in modern history. At the time of his election as patriarch, communism was largely positioned on the world stage in the Soviet Union, but Nazism was flourishing and growing. He came to the throne of Saint Sava at a time when his predecessor, apparently, was poisoned for defending the dignity of the Serbian church. The state was politically divided and beheaded because, a few years before his election as patriarch, King Alexander was killed, and the state was ruled by deputies headed by Prince Pavle “, reminds Džomić.

He points out that Patriarch Gavrilo was remembered as a confessor of the Orthodox faith because, as he adds, on March 27, 1941, after concluding a pact with the Nazis, with the Holy Synod of Bishops, which convened an extraordinary session, he resolutely defended his face and soul. of our people.

“If there was nothing left behind but the famous speech on Radio Belgrade on March 27, 1941, it is enough for it to remain inscribed in golden letters in our history. There is no doubt that Bishop Nikolaj also took part in compiling that speech. He did not accept the invitation to leave the country with the king and the royal government. He went to the safest place in the spiritual sense – to the monastery of Ostrog to pray to God for his people and priests near the life of Saint Vasilije Ostroški, where he was arrested by the Germans “, states Džomić.

The arrest took place on April 25, 1941, and Patriarch Gavrilo describes him in detail in his “Memoirs”: how the Gestapo broke into his cell, arrested him shouting that he was a war instigator and a criminal, beat his chief of staff and left him outside for hours in the rain without a winter coat. “This time, we both endured what our Saint Sava children endure to the same extent today, to whom a bloody German knife was put under the throat. But morale must remain high in all temptations, without which there can be no victory tomorrow “, writes Patriarch Gavrilo.

“In the Second World War, he was the only church leader who was arrested and confined and then imprisoned in the infamous Nazi-fascist camp Dachau. Bishop Nikolaj drank that bitter glass with him. It is interesting that the Croatian Ljubica Štefan published a feuilleton in the “Voice of the Council” in the eighties of the 20th century, under the name Tomislav Vuković, in which she tried to show that Patriarch Gavrilo and Bishop Nikolaj were “in hotel accommodation” in the Dachau camp. Feuilleton was later translated into a book entitled “Serbian Church and Fascism”, but with her name as the author. It is even more devastating that obscure types in our country plagiarized Ljubica Štefan’s theses in order to accuse the Serbian church even because its first hierarch and the most eminent bishop were detainees during Nazism “, says Džomić and adds that we should not forget that Patriarch Gavrilo was in the Austro-Hungarian camp in Cegled during the First World War.

Protest letters to Broz

Patriarch Gavrilo returned to the country in early November 1946.

“He found terrible balance sheets. Five Ustasha bishops and one communist were killed. Almost 500 priests from the communists, over 200 from the Ustashas, and another 200 from the Germans, Italians, Hungarians, Arnauts, and others were killed. Hundreds of temples and monasteries were destroyed. In addition, the new communist government started to “separate the church from the state” in a brutal way. Priests and believers were persecuted and tried, and the church was legally reduced to one of the “civic organizations”. Today, the patriarch’s letters and protests against such a situation to Broz represent important historical sources about the condition and position of our church after the Second World War. He passed away on May 7, 1950, but there are certain opinions that he was also poisoned.

He went before God, whom he devotedly served from his youth, as a confessor with a clear face “, says Velibor Džomić.




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