Serbian Orthodox Church in North and South America (1921 - Present) - Religious GroupReligious Family: Eastern Liturgical (Orthodox)
Religious Tradition: Orthodox
Description: Serbian Orthodox parishes (congregations) and dioceses in the United States are part of the Serbian Orthodox Church (headquartered in Belgrade, Serbia). The Serbian Orthodox Church in North America has its origins in the immigration of Serbs, starting in the mid-19th century, from various regions of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, as well as Dalmatia and Montenegro in the Balkans. St. Sava Church in Jackson, California, is the oldest Serbian Orthodox church in America. It was founded in 1894 by Archimandrite Sebastian Dabovich, the first US-born Serbian Orthodox priest and missionary, who was later (2015) glorified as a Saint. Originally, Serbian Orthodox parishes in America were under the supervision of the multi-ethnic North American Diocese of the Russian Orthodox Church. In 1921, in the wake of the Communist revolution in Russia, Serbian Orthodox parishes formed the Diocese of the Serbian Orthodox Church under the administration of the Patriarchate in Belgrade, Yugoslavia. In 1927, Bishop Mardarije (Uskokovich) became the first bishop of the Serbian Diocese of America and Canada. After WWII, the Orthodox Serbians in America were affected and divided by the political changes in their homeland, Yugoslavia, ruled by the Communist government of Marshal Josip Tito. In 1963, disagreements over whether to remain faithful to the Mother Church in Serbia or whether to separate themselves from the Patriarchate of Belgrade (allegedly manipulated by the Communist state) resulted in a final split between the two factions. A group of parishes led by Bishop Dionisije (Milvojevic) formed a new, independent American Serbian Orthodox Church body – the Serbian Metropolitanate of New Gracanica headquartered in New Gracanica Monastery at Third Lake, IL. In 1998, the unity between the two groups was restored. In 2009, the Serbian Orthodox Church in the United States was restructured so that now it consists of three dioceses: Eastern America, New Gracanica – Midwestern America, and Western America. Many Serbian church buildings in America are examples of classic Serbo-Byzantine architecture that include unique elements from the Middle Ages. The New Gracanica Monastery in Third Lake, IL, is an impressive architectural replica of the Old Gracanica of Kosovo, the famous church that was continually destroyed and rebuilt in the course of the history. Like the Russian Orthodox Church, the Serbian Orthodox Church adheres to the “Old” (Julian) liturgical calendar, which is 13 days behind the “New” (Gregorian) secular calendar that is used by most Christian Churches around the world. A noteworthy characteristic of Serbian Orthodox chant is that it frequently incorporates folk melodies. Many of these melodies are now sung in the English language and are being used in worship by other American Orthodox communities as well.
Official Site: https://www.serborth.org/
Maps: Serbian Orthodox Church in North and South America1
Adherence Rate per 1,000 (2020)
Top 5 Serbian Orthodox Church in North and South America States (2020)1 [View all States]
Top 5 Serbian Orthodox Church in North and South America Counties (2020)1 [View all Counties]
Top 5 Serbian Orthodox Church in North and South America Metro Areas (2020)1 [View all Metro Areas]
Serbian Orthodox Church in North and South America, Members (1925 - 2005)2
Serbian Orthodox Church in North and South America, Ministers & Churches (1925 - 2005)2
Serbian Orthodox Church in North and South America, Trends (1925 - 2005)2
1 The 2020 data were collected by the Association of Statisticians of American Religious Bodies (ASARB) and include data for 372 religious bodies or groups. Of these, the ASARB was able to gather data on congregations and adherents for 217 and on congregations only for 155. [More information on the data sources]
2 All data on clergy, members, and churches are taken from the National Council of Churches’ Historic Archive CD and recent print editions of the Council’s Yearbook of American and Canadian Churches. The CD archives all 68 editions of the Yearbook (formerly called Yearbook of the Churches and Yearbook of American Churches) from 1916 to 2000. Read more information on the Historic Archive CD and the Yearbook.
Membership figures are "inclusive." According to the Yearbook, this includes "those who are full communicant or confirmed members plus other members baptized, non-confirmed or non-communicant." Each denomination has its own criteria for membership.
When a denomination listed on the Historic Archive CD was difficult to identify, particularly in early editions of the Yearbook, the ARDA staff consulted numerous sources, including Melton’s Encyclopedia of American Religions and the Handbook of Denominations in the United States. In some cases, ARDA staff consulted the denomination’s website or contacted its offices by phone. When a denomination could not be positively identified, its data were omitted.