List of heads of the Serbian Orthodox Church

This article lists the heads of the Serbian Orthodox Church, since the establishment of the church as an autocephalous archbishopric in 1219 to today's patriarchate. The list includes all the archbishops and patriarchs that led the Serbian Orthodox Church under the Serbian Archbishopric and Serbian Patriarchate of Peć. Today, the church is unified under a patriarch who is officially styled as Archbishop of Peć, Metropolitan of Belgrade and Karlovci, and Serbian Patriarch. Patriarch Porfirije acceded to this position on 19 February 2021.

The autocephalous Serbian Archbishopric was founded in 1219 by Sava, under the authority of the ecumenical patriarch of Constantinople. In 1346, when Stefan Dušan proclaimed himself emperor, he also elevated the archiepiscopal see of Peć to the rank of a patriarchate, creating the Serbian Patriarchate of Peć. This was only recognized by the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople in 1375.

After the Ottoman conquest of the Serbian Despotate in 1459, the patriarchate gradually lost its importance. At times the church was forced by the Ottoman government to install Greeks in the office. From 1766 to 1920 the patriarchate was abolished and all ecclesiastical jurisdiction was given to the patriarch of Constantinople. A metropolitan see was maintained in Belgrade from 1766 afterwards. There were also independent Serbian Orthodox sees based in Karlovci and in Montenegro.

In 1920, the church was reunified and the patriarchy was reestablished with the see moving to Belgrade, but retaining the lineage of the throne of Saint Sava in Peć. The patriarch holds ecclesiastical authority over the Orthodox Church in the territory of the former Yugoslavia, and also over the Serbian Orthodox diaspora in Western Europe, Australia, and the Americas.


Currently, the style of the head of the Serbian Orthodox Church is "Archbishop of Peć, Metropolitan of Belgrade and Karlovci, and Serbian Patriarch" (архиепископ пећки, митрополит београдско-карловачки и патријарх српски). The short title is "Serbian Patriarch" (патријарх српски). Historically, various styles have been used.

Archbishop Sava (s. 1219–33) was styled "Archbishop of Serb Lands" and "Archbishop of Serb Lands and the Littoral" in the Vranjina charter, while Domentijan (fl. 1253) used the style "Archbishop of all the Serbian and coastal lands" when speaking of Sava. The fresco of Sava at Mileševa calls him "the first Archbishop of All Serb and Diocletian Lands". Archbishop Sava III (s. 1309–16) was styled "Archbishop of All Serb and Littoral Lands".


Archbishops, 1219–1346

Patriarchs, 1346–1766

Patriarchs, 1920–present

See also


  • A The Ottomans did not recognize the official title of "Archbishop of Peć and Serbian Patriarch". However, church records still record these three men as Patriarchs even though they did not serve in full title. They were still known as the guardians or protectors of the "throne of Saint Sava".
  • B The patriarchs hold the title of Archbishop of Peć, Metropolitan of Belgrade and Karlovci, and Serbian Patriarch and are considered the successors to the Patriarchal throne of Peć. However, the Patriarchy is based in Belgrade, Serbia.


External links

Uses material from the Wikipedia article List of heads of the Serbian Orthodox Church, released under the CC BY-SA 3.0 license.