Under communism, in what used to be Eastern Europe, religion was neither outlawed nor favorably regarded either. In some cases, church and state had been at latent or open war as in Poland or in the former Yugoslavia. There, church-state relations radically changed over the course of more than five decades, which is the theme of this article. Confrontations began in 1945 and spanned to 1953. Accommodations from 1966 to 1980 permitted a relatively peaceful coexistence between church and state. Thereafter the public religions and ethnic mobilizations of the 1980s escalated into the Balkan wars of the 1990s. It was during this era when the major faiths merged with the ethnic warring factions. As the Cold War ended, and communist regimes collapsed across East Central Europe, Yugoslav post-Titoist elites in the two westernmost Yugoslav republics presented reform-minded positions and images. Revising restrictive policies toward religion seemed appropriate for a start. Slovenia, soon followed by Croatia, symbolically promoted Christmas greetings and programs on state TV. In Croatia, regional and local offices for religious affairs were urged from higher state and party authorities to make religious organizations the ailing regime’s friends.



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