The humanities and social science

2023 Issue №2

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Struggle of the Serbs in Austria against the union with the Catholic Church in the 18th century



The author examines the position of the Serbian people and the Orthodox Church under Austrian rule since the end of the Holy League war with Turkey from the end of the 17th century to the era of Josephism. After having settled in Austria, the Serbs were exposed to the assimilation policy of the authorities, the main instrument of which was the union with the Roman Catholic Church imposed on the Serbs. The sources for the study were normative and administrative acts of authorities at various levels, decisions of the Serbian people's church councils, official and private correspondence, as well as previously unpublished diplomatic documents from the fund of the Russian embassy in Vienna. The article identifies the main directions of the state policy and the Roman Catholic Church towards the Serbs and analyzes Serbian response.  It is concluded that the inhabitants of the cities greatly resisted the union while, while the Orthodox bishops showed a tendency to compromise with the authorities. In the struggle against the union, the Serbs tried to apply for the support of the largest Orthodox power. Russia, for its part, provided assistance to the Serbs, and its volume was largely determined by the position and personal views on the "Serbian issue" of the Russian am­bas­sadors in Vienna. In conclusion, it is emphasized that thanks to the active position of the Ser­bian urban class and patronage from Russia, the Austrian Serbs managed to maintain their adherence to the faith of their ancestors and the independence of their church throughout the 18th century. This became the key to preserving their national and cultural identity in an alien, foreign environment.