Eparchy of Križevci

Eparchy of Križevci
Eparchy of Križevci
Dioecesis Crisiensis
Križevačka eparhija
Country Croatia
Metropolitan Archdiocese of Zagreb
- Catholics
(as of 2009)
Parishes 44
Denomination Catholic Church
Rite Byzantine Rite
Established 17 June 1777
Secular priests 28
Current leadership
Pope Benedict XVI
Bishop Nikola Nino Kekić
Metropolitan Archbishop Josip Bozanić
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The Eparchy of Križevci, sometimes referred to as the Croatian Greek Catholic Church or the Croatian Byzantine Catholic Church, is a recognized sui iuris Catholic Church[1] listed in the Annuario Pontificio among the Eastern Catholic Churches of Constantinopolitan or Byzantine tradition as the Church of the Byzantines of the Eparchy of Križevci. It consists of the eparchy proper (diocese) of Križevci itself , which is in Croatia, and the Apostolic Exarchate of Serbia and Montenegro.[2]

It spans the former Yugoslav republics of Croatia, Slovenia, and Bosnia and Herzegovina; it mostly gathers its faithful among the Croats in central and eastern Croatia and among the Rusyns and/or Ukrainians in eastern Croatia and northern Bosnia, with a small Serbian minority.

The liturgy is the Slavonic form of the Byzantine Rite, using the Old Church Slavonic language and the Cyrillic alphabet.

The eparchy of Križevci is currently headed by Bishop Nikola Kekić (appointed 2009).



The Eparchy of Marča

The Ottoman wars in Europe caused a number of Christian refugees, mostly 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 Byzantine Rite episcopacy based in the monastery of Marča (located near Ivanić Grad).

This episcopacy was formally erected by Pope Paul V on 21 November 1611 with the decree Divinae Majestatis arbitrio,[3] and the eparchs (bishops) bore the title Episcopus Platæensis (from Plataea, the titular see they were assigned to[4]), while the Habsburg government called this see Episcopatus Svidnicensis or Episcopatus Maciensum (Eparchy of Marča).[5][6] After the death in 1630 of the first eparch (bishop), Simeon Vratanja,[7] and in 1628 of the Latin Bishop of Zagreb, Petar Dimitrović, the eparchy came into conflict with the Latins and in 1671 bishop Pavao Zorčić accepted for himself and his successors the position of vicar-general of the Latin bishops of Zagreb.[5]

On 17 November 1735, the supporters of the Serbian Orthodox Church occupied by force of arms the monastery of Marča and two years later, on 17 June 1737, set fire to it. The monastery was restored to the Byzantine-Rite Catholics in 1753.[6]

The bishops of the Eparchy of Marča were:[3]

  • Simeon Vratanja (1607–1629)
  • Maxim Predojević (1630–1642)
  • Gabrijel Predojević (1642–1644)
  • Vasilije Predojević (1644–1648)
  • Sava Stanislavić (1648–1661)
  • Gabrijel Mijakić (1663–1670)
  • Pavao Zorčić (1671–1685)
  • Marko Zorčić (1685–1688)
  • Isaija Popović (1689–1699)
  • Gabrijel Turčinović (1700–1707)
  • Grgur Jugović (1707–1709)
  • Rafael Marković (1710–1726)
  • Georg Vučinić (1727–1733)
  • Silvester Ivanović (1734–1735)
  • Teophil Pašić (1738–1746)
  • Gabrijel Palković (1751–1758)
  • Vasilije Božičković (1759–1777)

Erection of the Eparchy of Križevci

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,[8] Pope Pius VI erected the Greek Rite Eparchy of Križevci which superseded the Eparchy of Marča. Vasilije Božičković, 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 Čarnojević. However the Orthodox soldiers of the Žumberak regiment of the Military Frontier joined the Eparchy of Križevci.[citation needed]

Križevci, 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.


The Eparchy of Križevci was expanded after World War I to include all Byzantine Catholics in Yugoslavia. Owing to this expansion and to population movements over time, Križevci includes Catholics of varied national heritage[9] including:

Since the break-up of Yugoslavia

After the formation of independent republics from what had been Yugoslavia, a separate Apostolic Exarchate was created in Serbia and Montenegro, the Apostolic Exarchate of Serbia and Montenegro. It was formed in 2002 and its first exarch Djura Džudžar (Дюра Джуджар) was appointed in 2003, with the see in Ruski Krstur. This is still associated with the Eparchy of Križevci, unlike the separate Apostolic Exarchate that was formed in Macedonia in 2003 and that is classified in the Annuario Pontificio as a separate particular Church.


The Eparchy reported for the year 2010 a total of 21,509 faithful in Croatia and 22,369 in Serbia and Montenegro.[12] However, only in the most recently published census results for the Republic of Croatia, those of 2001, only 6,219 responding by defining themselves specifically as Greek Catholics.[13]

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 Byzantine 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 Križevci.[14] Another Croatian priest came to Allegheny, Pennsylvania, in 1894.[15] Križevci is one of the four Eastern European eparchies that are the roots of the Eastern-rite Catholic Churches in the United States.[16]


The eparchy is made up of four vicariates:

  • Žumberak vicariate
  • Bosnian vicariate
  • Slavonia-Srijem vicariate
  • Dalmatian vicariate


The list of the eparch (bishops) of the Greek Catholic Eparchy of Križevci is:

  • Vasilije Božičković (1777–1785)
  • Josaphat Bastašić (1787–1793)
  • Silvester Bubanović (1795–1810)
  • Konstantin Stanić (1815–1830)
  • Gabrijel Smičklas (1834–1856)
  • Đorđe Smičklas (1857–1881)
  • Ilija Hranilović (1883–1889)
  • Julije Drohobeczky (1891–1920)
  • Dionisije Njaradi (1920–1940)
  • Janko Šimrak(1942–1946)
  • Gabrijel Bukatko (1952–1964)
    • Vacant (1946–1960)
  • Vacant (1961–1983, Joakim Segedi as Auxiliary Bishop)
  • Slavomir Miklovš (1983–2009)
  • Nikola Kekić (from 2009)

See also


External links

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