Tatjana Peric


Former Yugoslavia was a small country on the Balkan peninsula in south-east Europe - one of the most ethnically, linguistically, and religiously complicated areas of the world. Its peoples have gained dark fame for the first time in their history during the second decade of the twentieth century, causing the first world-wide war ever. The other event that brought the area into the spotlight was the civil war in Croatia and Bosnia, two of the six former Yugoslav republics - the others are Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia, and Slovenia. The civil strife, lasting from 1991 to the end of 1995, was in many ways specific: it took place very close to the heart of multicultural and multiconfessional Europe, between people who were members of well-established world religions: Catholicism, Orthodoxy, and Islam. Also, this war was waged by people who, until yesterday, lived peacefully together for decades, and suddenly began facing each other with weapons - a very sharp contrast, and a reason for alarm, to the young uniting Europe making its first steps. All of these sorrowful events make this country an interesting and rich field of study. This paper will try to cover the history of Christianity and ethnicity of peoples in this territory, and their mutual relationship, from the sixth century onward. The extensive chronological parts cannot offer a full explanation nor a solution for the recent fratricide, but they might be helpful in pointing out the reasons for division, in order to make them useful in future prevention of conflicts. A special attention has been paid to the peace initiatives of the churches during the civil war, for a very simple reason that the negative attitudes and statements have always been made known and often even abused by the press and the conflicting sides. The final sections have been devoted to the peace accord of the former Yugoslav war and the prospects of the reconciliation process between the Yugoslav peoples and their respective churches.



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