Catholic and Orthodox Church Meet Again to Discuss Cardinal Stepinac

Total Croatia News

At its latest meeting, the joint commission of the Catholic Church and the Serbian Orthodox Church analyzed the position of Croatian Cardinal Stepinac toward the Orthodox faithful from 1941 to 1945.

The attitude of Croatian Cardinal and Archbishop of Zagreb Alojzije Stepinac to the Serbian Orthodox Church in the period from 1941 to 1945 was the subject of the fourth meeting of the joint commission of the Croatian Bishops’ Conference (HBK) and the Serbian Orthodox Church (SPC), reports on April 22, 2017.

The meeting of the commission, whose task is to jointly consider the activities of Cardinal Alojzije Stepinac before, during and after the Second World War, was held at the Bishop’s Palace in Požega on 20 and 21 April.

The meeting was presided by Bernardo Ardura, a representative of the Holy See and president of the Pontifical Committee for Historical Sciences. As representatives of the Croatian Bishops’ Conference, the meeting was attended by current Archbishop of Zagreb Cardinal Josip Bozanić, Bishop of Mostar-Duvno Ratko Perić, Bishop of Požega Antun Škvorčević, and scientific advisers from the Croatian Institute for History Jure Krišto and Mario Jareb.

Representatives of the Serbian Orthodox Church were Metropolitan of Zagreb-Ljubljana Porfirije Perić, Metropolitan of Montenegro-Primorje Amfilohije Radović, Bishop of Bačka Irinej Bulović, and Bishop of Slavonia Jovan Ćulibrk. Ambassador Darko Tanasković, the permanent representative of Serbia at UNESCO, was prevented from participating in the meeting. Scientific advisers to the Serbian-Orthodox part of the Commission were Radmila Radić from the Institute for Newer History of Serbia in Belgrade; Ljubodrag Dimić, professor at the Faculty of Philosophy in Belgrade; and Milan Koljanin, senior research associate at the Institute For Contemporary History in Belgrade.

The next meeting of the commission will be held in Podgorica in Montenegro on 7 and 8 June. The topic of that meeting will be “Archbishop Stepinac and communist persecution from 1945 to 1960”.

Alojzije Stepinac was the Archbishop of Zagreb from 1937 to 1960. While the Serbian authorities claim that during the Second World War he cooperated with the Ustasha regime in the Independent State of Croatia, the majority of Croats consider him to be a saint who helped those who were persecuted at the time. After the Second World War, Stepinac was imprisoned by the communist regime. Pope Francis has established the special commission of Croatian Catholic and Serbian Orthodox officials who are investigating his case. In Croatia, it is widely expected that Cardinal Stepinac will eventually be canonized.


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