Author ORCID Identifier

Lidija Matošević: 0000-0001-9199-7931

Marina Schumann: 0000-0002-5280-3708

Enoh Šeba: 0000-0002-8076-8233


The focus of this case study is the Faculty of Theology “Matthias Flacius Illyricus” (Teološki fakultet “Matija Vlačić Ilirik” – TFMVI) in Zagreb, founded by two minority religious communities: the Lutheran Church and the Baptist Union. The authors’ premise is that by examining over forty years of the institution’s existence, prominent trends and attitudes can be identified that continue to shape the interaction between churches and the state within Croatian society, where the Roman Catholic Church represents the overwhelming majority. The authors begin with a historical overview of the position of churches under the Communist regime in Yugoslavia, with particular emphasis on the situation of Protestant churches. They then present the circumstances that facilitated the establishment of TFMVI in the 1970s, the challenges faced during its early stages, and the revitalization process in the 2000s, during Croatia’s transitional period as an independent state on the path to its European integration. The paper further discusses the impact of the new legislation on institutions of higher education, which placed TFMVI in a precarious position, ultimately resolved through its gradual integration into the University of Zagreb. While its integration is not yet complete in all aspects, it has allowed the institution to survive by granting access to public funds. The study is based on documents from the TFMVI archive, along with other relevant primary sources and scholarly analyses of the religious landscape in contemporary Croatian society. The authors argue that TFMVI has challenged the state’s approach to churches and shed light on the ambiguity in the stance of the state and public services towards the activities of an institution affiliated with minority religious communities.



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