Today’s Serbs in Croatia

Around 30,000 Serbs on Croatian territory were converted to Catholicism, since the end of the war until today, said Milojko Budimir from the Association of Refugee Associations of Serbs from Croatia, reported Blic.

According to him, about 30,000 Orthodox Serbs in Croatia were converted to Catholicism since the operation “Storm” in 1995 until today, and the fact that a large number of those who marked Orthodox Easter no longer declare themselves as Serbs, but as Croats of Orthodox religion, is especially troubling. “It is of special concern that during the last census, of 200,000 people, 40,000 declared themselves as Serbs of the Orthodox religion, and 160,000 only that they are of the Orthodox religion. This means that after so-called Croatian Orthodox community was established, the goal was to present Serbs in Croatian Orthodox religion,” warns Budimir and adds that he believes that Croatian Orthodox community was established precisely to once again divide remaining Serbs in Croatia. Director of Documentation and Information Center “Veritas”, Savo Strbac, believes that Budimir does not exaggerate the estimates which are probably based on the data from Serbian Orthodox Church (SPC), the daily writes. “Older Serbs in large urban areas, such as Zagreb, Rijeka, Zadar, convert to Croatians, while mostly children and the elderly who live in the villages are converted to Catholicism. A priest from Zagreb, who returned after “Storm” told me that for a long time his only job was to issue Serbian children of Orthodox religion certificates that they have been baptised in the Orthodox Church. With the certificate and the consent of one parent, they could only go through the ritual in the Catholic and the ritual of the sacred chrism and convert to Catholicism without re-baptism,” said Strbac. The main reason for this, Strbac told Blic, is that people did not want their children to experience trauma at school, where they were bullied by other children because they are Serbs. “The hardest thing are children’s tears. This is why I do not blame those Serbs that have renounced their religion and nation. They did not do this under any legal compulsion, they did it so that their children would not experience trauma,” said Strbac.

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