In the same place, as 100 years ago, the restored throne on which sat the first patriarch of the united church, Archbishop of Belgrade and Metropolitan of Serbia, Dimitrije. 154 years before that, the Serbian people were without a single church and its leader. After the Turks abolished the Patriarchate of Peć in 1766, provincial churches were created, and the Orthodox Serbs were scattered in six church areas.
“And they managed themselves. There was no communion, they did not have a head of the church. Where there is a head of the church, there is unity,” says Bishop Vasilije, bishop of Srem.
With the creation of the SHS Kingdom, the conditions were also created for the unification of the church. Bishops of all ecclesiastical areas gather at four conferences, and precisely in Sremski Karlovci, on the Day of the Assembly of Serbian Saints, on Sunday, September 12, 1920, they proclaim the unification of the Serbian Orthodox Church and its elevation to the level of patriarchy.
Karlovy Vary was chosen for this event because it is one of the strongest pillars of the united church, with a special degree of autonomy and its own patriarchs.
The Patriarch was also enthroned in Belgrade, and then in 1924 in the Patriarchate of Pec, with the presence of Aleksandar Karađorđević, one of the initiators of the unification. Before this act, he, as well as the restored Serbian Orthodox Church, needed the recognition of other churches.
“The Patriarchate of Constantinople was certainly the first in that process, then it accepted that reality with the corresponding document called Tomos,” says Jovan Milanović, rector of the seminary in Sremski Karlovci.
The Tomos arrived in 1922, and that is why the SPC celebrates two important dates, the proclamation of the patriarch and the receiving of the Tomos.