Analysis 11 Jul 17

Serbia's Church and Politicians Maintain Convenient 'Marriage'

Serbia’s Orthodox Church and the ruling political elites continue to maintain a close alliance that has brought benefits to both sides.

Maja Zivanovic
BIRN
Belgrade
Serbian Patriarch Irinej visted Kosovo on June 28. Photo: Beta/Armenija Zajmi Besevic.

For better and for worse, Serbia’s Orthodox Church and its political elites have effectively been “married” since the fall of Communism, and the union is as strong as ever today.

Analysts say it is a union of interests, in which the politicians boost their approval ratings by receive blessings for their political actions while the Church gets to keep its many privileges, including the very lucrative tax exemption.

During the times of Communist Yugoslavia, the Serbian Orthodox Church was marginalised and had no political influence at all.

But things changed fast with the rise of Serbian strongman Slobodan Milosevic in the late 1980s and early 1990s, when the Church re-emerged as serious political factor in Serbia.

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