This book examines the rehabilitation over the past two decades of Bishop Nikolaj Velimirovic (1881-1956), the controversial Serbian Orthodox Christian philosopher, written fifty years after his death. Having been vilified by the former Yugoslav Communist authorities as a traitor, antisemite and a fascist, Velimirovic has come to be regarded in Serbian society as a saintly figure and the most important religious person since medieval times. Byford charts the posthumous passage of Velimirovic from 'traitor' to 'saint' and examines the complementary dynamics of repression and denial that were used to divert public attention from the controversies surrounding his life.The book presents the first detailed examination of the way in which an Eastern Orthodox Church manages controversy surrounding the presence of anti-Semitism within its ranks and considers the implications of the continuing reverence of Nikolaj Velimirovic for the persistence of antisemitism in Serbian Orthodox culture and Serbian society as a whole.
The study is based on a detailed examination of the changing representations of Velimirovic in the Serbian media and in commemorative discourse, as well as interviews with a number of prominent public figures who have been actively involved in the bishop's rehabilitation over the past two decades.
Jovan Byford is Lecturer in Psychology at the Open University, UK.
Chapter One: Introduction Chapter Two: The Disputed Biography Of Nikolaj Velimirovic and His Changing Public Image 1945-2003 Chapter Three: Collective Remembering and Collective Forgetting: Memory of Nikolaj Velimirovic and the Repression of Controversy Chapter Four: From Repression to Denial: Responses of the Serbian Orthodox Church to Accusations of Antisemitism Chapter Five: 'He Was Merely Quoting The Bible!': The Denial of Velimirovic's Antisemitism Chapter Six: Antisemitism as Prophecy: Social Construction of Velimirovic's Sanctity Chapter Seven Conclusion References