Denial and Repression of Anti-Semitism
Post-Communist Rehabilitation of the Serbian Bishop Nikolaj Velimirovic
Bishop Nikolaj Velimirović (1881–1956) is arguably one the most controversial figures in contemporary Serbian national culture. Having been vilified by the former Yugoslav Communist authorities as a fascist and an antisemite, this Orthodox Christian thinker has over the past two decades come to be regarded in Serbian society as the most important religious person since medieval times and an embodiment of the authentic Serbian national spirit. Velimirović was formally canonised by the Serbian Orthodox Church in 2003.
In this book, Jovan Byford charts the posthumous transformation of Velimirović from 'traitor' to 'saint' and examines the dynamics of repression and denial that were used to divert public attention from the controversies surrounding the bishop's life, the most important of which is his antisemitism. Byford offers the first detailed examination of the way in which an Eastern Orthodox Church manages controversy surrounding the presence of antisemitism within its ranks and he considers the implications of the continuing reverence of Nikolaj Velimirović for the persistence of antisemitism in Serbian Orthodox culture and in Serbian society as a whole.
This book is based on a detailed examination of the changing representation of Bishop Nikolaj Velimirović in the Serbian media and in commemorative discourse devoted to him. The book also makes extensive use of exclusive interviews with a number of Serbian public figures who have been actively involved in the bishop's rehabilitation over the past two decades.
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"This book provides an authoritative vivisection of the goals, behavior, and strategies of the Serbian Orthodox Church, and sheds light on the chuavinism behind the myths of martyrdom. Byford's claims and conclusions are well supported by strong evidence, most of which comes from Church sources and Velimirović's own works. No serious student of Serbia should miss this impressive book."—Journal of Politics and Religion
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