Eparchy of Kri?evci
|Territory||Croatia, Slovenia, Bosnia and Herzegovina|
|Metropolitan||Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Zagreb|
- Catholics (including non-members)
|(as of 2013)|
|Denomination||Greek Catholic Church of Croatia and Serbia|
|Established||17 June 1777|
|Cathedral||Cathedral of the Holy Trinity in Kri?evci, Croatia|
|Co-cathedral||Co-Cathedral of Sts. Cyril and Methodius, Zagreb|
|Bishop||Milan Stipi? (Bishop-elect)|
|Metropolitan Archbishop||Josip Bozani?|
|Bishops emeritus||Nikola Keki?|
The Greek Catholic Eparchy of Kri?evci is an eparchy (diocese) of the Catholic Church for Eastern Catholics of Byzantine Rite (i.e. Greek Rite) in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia and Slovenia with its seat in Kri?evci, Croatia. It is part of the Greek Catholic Church of Croatia and Serbia, an Eastern Catholic Church sui iuris of the Byzantine Rite which is in full union with the Roman Catholic Church. The Eparchy is currently vacant since the retirement of Bishop Nikola Keki? in March 2019, and is administered by Fr. Milan Stipi?, who on 8 September 2020 was appointed to be the new Bishop there.
The eparchy has jurisdiction over Eastern Catholics of Byzantine Rite in Croatia, Slovenia, and Bosnia and Herzegovina. It mostly gathers its faithful among ethnic Croats in central and eastern Croatia, and among the Rusyns in eastern Slavonia, with a small Serbian minority. The liturgy used by the Eparchy is the Slavonic form of the Byzantine Rite, using the Old Church Slavonic language and the Cyrillic alphabet.
The Ottoman wars in Europe caused a number of Christian refugees, Orthodox Serbs, to migrate to the Military Frontier of the Habsburg Monarchy (in south-central Croatia and in most of Slavonia) during the 16th and 17th centuries. In particular after the Ottoman defeat in Battle of Sisak of 1593, the Habsburg tried to established an ecclesiastical jurisdiction in full communion with Rome and separated from the Serbian Orthodox Church. After negotiations, it was decided to establish a particular Byzantine Rite jurisdiction in the form of an apostolic vicariate based in the monastery of Mar?a (located near Ivani? Grad).
The basis for the creation of Apostolic Vicariate of Mar?a was formally enabled by Pope Paul V on 21 November 1611 with the decree Divinae Majestatis arbitrio, and the administration of the Vicariate was given to eparchs (bishops) who bore the title Episcopus Platæensis (from Plataea, the titular see they were assigned to), while the Habsburg government called this see Episcopatus Svidnicensis or Episcopatus Maciensum (Eparchy of Mar?a). After the death in 1630 of the first eparch (bishop), Simeon Vratanja, and in 1628 of the Latin Bishop of Zagreb, Petar Dimitrovi?, the eparchy came into conflict with the Latins and in 1671 bishop Pavle Zor?i? accepted for himself and his successors the position of vicar-general of the Latin bishops of Zagreb.
On 17 November 1735, the supporters of the Serbian Orthodox Church occupied by force of arms the monastery of Mar?a and two years later, on 17 June 1737, set fire to it. The monastery was restored to the Byzantine Rite Catholics in 1753.
To support the pastoral action for the Greek Rite population, the Habsburg Empress Maria Theresa realized that it was necessary to grant independence to the eparchy, and she obtained from Pope Pius VI its separation from the Latin Diocese of Zagreb, in a similar way as occurred in 1771 for the Eparchy of Mukacheve from the Diocese of Eger. Accordingly, on 17 June 1777, Pope Pius VI erected the Greek Rite Eparchy of Kri?evci which superseded the Eparchy of Mar?a. Vasilije Bo?i?kovi?, who played a prominent role in the erection of the eparchy, was chosen as first eparch,
Many Orthodox Serbs opposed the new eparchy, particularly the metropolitan of Karlovci, Arsenije III ?arnojevi?. However the soldiers of the ?umberak regiment of the Military Frontier joined the Eparchy of Kri?evci.
Kri?evci, the location of the see, is a town northeast of Zagreb. The new bishop was a suffragan initially of the Archdiocese of Esztergom, and later of Zagreb, after this became a metropolitan see in 1852.
In 1914, the Ruthenian Catholic Apostolic Administration of Bosnia-Hercegovina was created from the Eparchy of Kri?evci, but in 1925, it was merged back into it, when the eparchy was expanded to include all Greek Catholics in Yugoslavia. Owing to this expansion and to population movements over time, Kri?evci includes Catholics of varied national heritage including:
Until 2001, the Eparchy of Kri?evci had full jurisdiction over all Eastern Catholics of the Byzantine Rite throughout the entire territory of former Yugoslavia, including all of its successor states: Croatia, Slovenia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Serbia, Montenegro and North Macedonia. In January 2001, a separate Greek Catholic Apostolic Eparchy of Macedonia was formed for Eastern Catholics of the Byzantine Rite in Macedonia. It was fully separated from the Eparchy of Kri?evci and directly subjected to the Holy See.
In 2003, a new Apostolic Exarchate was created for Eastern Catholics of the Byzantine Rite in Serbia and Montenegro, called the Apostolic Exarchate of Serbia and Montenegro. Its first exarch ?ura D?ud?ar (? ) was appointed in 2003, with residence in Ruski Krstur. This exarchate remained in association with the Eparchy of Kri?evci. After those changes, the jurisdiction of Eparchy of Kri?evci was reduced to Croatia, Slovenia and Bosnia-Herzegovina.
In 2013, all Catholics of Byzantine Rite in Montenegro were entrusted to the local Latin Bishops, so the jurisdiction of the Apostolic Exarchate of Serbia and Montenegro was reduced to just Serbia. Since then, the Eparchy of Kri?evci and the Greek Catholic Apostolic Exarchate of Serbia together constitute the Greek Catholic Church of Croatia and Serbia as a sui iuris Eastern Catholic Church of the Byzantine Rite, in full union with the Roman Catholic Church.
The Eparchy (diocese) reported for the year 2010 a total of 21,509 faithful in the eparchy proper (including Croatia, Slovenia, and Bosnia and Herzegovina) and 22,369 in the Apostolic Exarchate for Serbia and Montenegro. In comparison, the most recently published census results for the Republic of Croatia, those of 2001, report only 6,219 Croatians defining themselves specifically as Greek Catholics.
A historical trend of a sharp decline in numbers, particularly in the general vicinity of Zumberak, is explained by a number of factors including emigration, particularly to the United States (including Cleveland, Chicago and Pittsburgh), and rural depopulation, particularly in the period following the second world war.
The first Greek Catholic priest from Croatia came to the United States of America in 1902, whose work among Byzantine-Rite Croatians in Cleveland was encouraged by the bishop of Kri?evci. Another Croatian priest came to Allegheny, Pennsylvania, in 1894. Kri?evci is one of the four Eastern European eparchies that are the roots of the Eastern Rite Catholic Churches in the United States.
The eparchy is made up of four vicariates:
|1||Vasilije Bo?i?kovi?, O.S.B.M.(1719–1785)||15 July 1777||9 May 1785|
|2||Jozafat Basta?i?, O.S.B.M.(1740–1793)||30 March 1789||28 August 1793|
|3||Silvestar Bubanovi?, O.S.B.M.(1754–1810)||8 November 1795||14 June 1810|
|4||Konstantin Stani?(1757–1830)||10 September 1815||31 July 1830|
|5||Gabrijel Smi?iklas(1783–1856)||8 September 1834||14 March 1856|
|6||?uro Smi?iklas(1815–1881)||21 December 1857||20 April 1881|
|7||Ilija Hranilovi?(1850–1889)||15 March 1883||20 March 1889|
|8||Julije Drohobeczky(1853–1934)||17 December 1891||18 May 1917|
|9||Dionisije Njaradi(1874–1940)Apostolic Administrator, 1917-1920Bishop, 1920-1940||18 May 1917||14 April 1940|
|10||Janko ?imrak(1883–1946)Apostolic Administrator, 1941-1942Bishop, 1942-1946||16 August 1941||9 August 1946|
|11||Gabrijel Bukatko(1913–1981)Apostolic Administrator, 1952-1960Bishop, 1960-1961Apostolic Administrator, 1961-1981||23 February 1952||19 October 1981|
|-||Joakim Segedi(1904–2004)Auxiliary Bishop||24 February 1963||27 October 1984|
|12||Slavomir Miklov?(1934–2011)||22 January 1983||25 May 2009|
|13||Nikola Keki?(b. 1943)||25 May 2009||18 March 2019|
|-||Milan Stipi?(b. 1978)Apostolic Administrator, 2019-2020Bishop, 2020-present||18 March 2019||Present|