Author ORCID Identifier

Lidija Matošević: ORCID: 0000-0001-9199-7931

Enoh Šeba: ORCID: 0000-0002-8076-8233

Ruben Knežević: ORCID: 0000-0003-4018-7036


Using the existing data from the national census (2011 and 2021) and other available data sources, the authors present Croatian Protestantism on the national level as a fragmented minority. In search for possible historic reasons for this fragmentized mode of existence, they proceed with an overview of Protestant presence in the Croatian lands, starting from the early adoption of Protestant ideas, eradicated by the Catholic Counter-Reformation up to the ghettoization of the Protestant congregations during the Communist era (late 20th century). The establishment of an independent Croatian state and the subsequent war proved to be a significant turning point for the Croatian Protestants, although most of them had no tradition of socio-political engagement and were therefore ill-prepared for the profound changes that followed. The fostering of a common Protestant identity was to a certain extent, as the authors argue, encouraged by the signing of contracts with the Croatian government that provided a legislative framework for the existence of various Protestant denominations. The contracts also secured minimal financial support and allowed their access to the public arena. Apart from that, impulses towards a clearer articulation of their own confessional identity usually did not result in pro-active investment in the contextual expression of individual denominational identities as part of a broader Protestant identity. Furthermore, the relationship with the majority Church – the Roman Catholic Church – still presents a major challenge for many Protestant churches. Although there are examples of earnest cooperation, this ecumenical communion remains a serious challenge, especially in the light of the fact that some groups continue to maintain a very exclusivist attitude towards the majority Church. As for the divisive issues in the contemporary Croatian society, the Protestant churches either ignore them or comply uncritically with the stance of one of the polarized parties. Finally, the present condition of Protestant theological institutions shows that a non-systematic approach to their development needs to be adjusted if the existing theological potential is to be unlocked for the benefit of Protestant churches and their integration into the Croatian society.



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