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Roman Catholicism in Bosnia and Herzegovina

The Roman Catholic Church in Bosnia and Herzegovina is part of the worldwide Roman Catholic Church, under the spiritual leadership of the Pope in Rome.


  • History 1
    • Antiquity 1.1
    • Medieval era 1.2
    • Modern history 1.3
  • Hierarchy 2
  • Shrines in Bosnia and Herzegovina 3
    • Shrine of the Queen of Peace in Međugorje 3.1
    • Shrine of Our Lady of Olovo 3.2
    • Shrine of Saint John the Baptist of Podmilačje 3.3
    • Shrine of Saint Leopold Mandić in Maglaj 3.4
  • Apostolic Nunciature 4
  • See also 5
  • References 6
  • External links 7



Christianity arrived at the territory of Bosnia and Herzegovina during 1st century. Saint Paul in his Epistle to the Romans recorded that he had brought the Gospel of Christ in Illyria. Saint Jerome, Doctor of the Church who was born in Stridon (today Šuica, Bosnia and Herzegovina), wrote that St. Paul preached in Illyria. It is therefore considered that Christianity arrived on the territory of Bosnia and Herzegovina in the 1st century, through Paul's disciples or Paul himself. After the Edict of Milan, Christianity spread rapidly, and the Christians and bishops from the area of today's Bosnia and Herzegovina gathered around two metropolitan seats, Salona and Sirmium. Several early Christian dioceses have developed in the 4th, 5th and 6th centuries. At the Church synod in Salona in 530 and 533, Andrija, Bishop of Bistue (episcopus Bestoensis), was mentioned. Bishop Andrija probably had the seat of in the Roman municipium Bistue Nova near Zenica. Synod in the Salona decided to create a new diocese, Diocese of Bistue Vetus, separating it from the Diocese of Bistue Nova. Several dioceses have developed on the south: Diocese of Martari (today Konjic), Diocese of Sarsenterum, Diocese of Delminium, Diocese of Baloie and Diocese of Lausinium.[1]

Medieval era

Catholic Dioceses in Bosnia and Dalmatia in the 15th century

After the arrival of the Croats on the Adriatic coast in the early 7th century, Frankish and Byzantine rulers started baptizing Croats who inhabited the area of present-day Bosnia and Herzegovina to the Drina River. Christianization was also influenced by the proximity of the old Roman cities in Dalmatia. Christianity spread from the Dalmatian coast towards the interior of the Duchy of Croatia. This area was under the administration of archbishops of Split, successors of Salona's archbishops, who attempted to restore the ancient Duvno Diocese. Northern Bosnia was under the administration of the Pannonian-Moravian archbishopric established in 1869 by Saint Methodius of Thessaloniki, Apostle to the Slavs.[2]

In 11th century Diocese of Bosnia was established. Based on a collection of historical documents Provinciale Vetus, published in 1188, which mention it twice, once subordinated to the Archdiocese of Split, and another time under the Archdiocese of Ragusa, it is assumed that it came into existence between 1060 and 1075.[3]

Modern history

The 1969 Banja Luka earthquake destroyed the cathedral of the Diocese of Banja Luka.[4] The new cathedral was built from 1972 to 1973.

Following the 1992-95 war, some Croatian Catholics of Bosnia and Herzegovina fled to Croatia, and the local Bishop was said to be struggling to have them return to their homeland because of persistent difficulties there.[5]


In 2009 the remains of fra Maksimilijan Jurčić, killed by Partisans on 28 January 1945 were discovered and subsequently buried in Široki Brijeg.[7][8] Among those in attendance at the funeral was Ljubo Jurčić the friar's nephew, and the Croatian consul-general in Mostar Velimir Pleša.[9] The cause of the martyrdom of the Herzegovinian Franciscans is led by the Vicepostulation Fra Leo Petrović and 65 Comrades.[10]


Roman Catholic dioceses in Bosnia and Herzegovina:
  Archdiocese of Vrhbosna
  Diocese of Banja Luka
  Diocese of Mostar-Duvno
  Diocese of Trebinje-Mrkan
  Diocese of Gospić-Sinj (Zavalje parish)

The Church in Bosnia and Herzegovina has one province: Sarajevo. There are one archdiocese and 3 dioceses which are divided into archdeaconries, deaneries and parishes.

Province Diocese Approximate Territory Cathedral Creation
Archdiocese of Vrhbosna
Archidioecesis Vrhbosnensis o Seraiensis
Central Bosnia, Semberija, Posavina, Podrinje Sacred Heart Cathedral 11th century (originally as Diocese of Bosnia, elevated to Archdiocese 1881)
Diocese of Banja Luka
Dioecesis Banialucensis
Bosanska Krajina, Tropolje, Donji Krajevi, Pounje Cathedral of Saint Bonaventure 5 July 1881
Diocese of Mostar-Duvno
Dioecesis Mandentriensis-Dulminiensis
Herzegovina, Gornje Podrinje Cathedral of Mary, Mother of the Church 6th century (originally as Diocese of Duvno)
Diocese of Trebinje-Mrkan
Dioecesis Tribuniensis-Marcanensis
South and East Herzegovina Cathedral of the Birth of Mary 984
- Military Ordinariate of Bosnia and Herzegovina
Ordinariatus Militaris in Bosnia et Herzegovina
Bosnia and Herzegovina 1 February 2011

Zavalje parish of the Diocese of Gospić-Senj is on the territory of Bosnia and Herzegovina.

There are two Franciscan provinces in the country, the Franciscan Province of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary based in Mostar and the Franciscan Province of Bosna Srebrena based in Sarajevo.

Shrines in Bosnia and Herzegovina

Shrine of the Queen of Peace in Međugorje

Sanctuary in Međugorje

Međugorje, a village located in Herzegovina and parish in Diocese of Mostar-Duvno, has been the site of alleged apparitions of the Virgin Mary since June 24, 1981. From the beginning it became an important place of pilgrimage for millions of people and thousands prayer groups. The phenomenon is not officially approved by the Catholic Church.[11][12] The Holy See announced in March 2010 that it had established a Commission under the auspices of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith to evaluate the apparitions, headed by Cardinal Camillo Ruini.[13]

Shrine of Our Lady of Olovo

Church of Our Lady in Olovo

Church of the Assumption is a Catholic church in Olovo known better as a Marian pilgrimage site. The Olovo Shrine of Our Lady is among the most important pilgrimage sites in Southeast Europe. According to one record back to 1679, to the Our Lady in Olovo pilgrimage were made by Catholics and gentiles, apart from Bosnia, also from Bulgaria, Serbia, Albania and Croatia. And nowadays the shrine in Olovo is an attractive place of pilgrimage. Pilgrimage mainly happens on the Feast of the Assumption, in the middle of August, but also in other circumstances. In the Olovo shrine are two paintings of Our Lady. One is from the 18th century labelled S. Maria Plumbensis, which until 1920 was with the Franciscans in Ilok, and later in Petrićevac and in Sarajevo, and in 1964 it was transferred to Olovo. The second painting was done in 1954 by Gabriel Jurkić by the description of the former Olovo Lady painting, which disappeared.

Shrine of Saint John the Baptist of Podmilačje

Church of Saint John the Baptist (2007)

The Shrine of St. John the Baptist in Podmilačje is one of the oldest shrines in Bosnia and Herzegovina. The Church of St. John is in the village of Podmilačje which is 10 kilometers away from Jajce, under massive stones on which there was, as presumed, a medieval tower from which the soldiers of Hrvoje Vukčić guarded and defended the entrance to the city. The first mention of Podmilačje is in a document of King Stjepan Tomašević dating from 1461. At that time, the church of St. John had already existed. On the basis of the stylistic features of the portal, it can be concluded that the construction of the church dates back to the mid-fifteenth century. During the Ottoman period the church was not damaged or destroyed. This is the only medieval church in Bosnia that continually served its purpose. According to legend, the church of St. John “moved” during the night from the village of Pšenik, on the left bank of the river Vrbas, to the village of Podmilačje, on the right bank of the river, because the Turks had been keeping goats in it. Legend also has it that one pillar still stands in the river Vrbas and can be seen when the water level is low. The area of the church of St. John in Podmilačje represents an important place of pilgrimage for Catholics. Once a year, on the eve of St. John’s feast which is on June 24, a multitude of people come to this place. The pilgrims believe in the healing properties of Saint John, especially for chronic and mental diseases.

Shrine of Saint Leopold Mandić in Maglaj

Church of Saint Leopold in Maglaj

Maglaj is a town in central Bosnia located in the Bosna river valley near Doboj. The town was first mentioned on the 16 September 1408 in the Charter (sub castro nostro Maglay) of the Hungarian King Sigismund. The Parish Maglaj was officially restored in 1970, and in the same year a rectory was built. In autumn of 1976 an already dilapidated old church of St. Anthony was demolished built in 1919. Building of a new church and shrine of St. Leopold Mandić began in the spring of 1977 and its bases were blessed on the 15 May the same year. On the 17 June 1979, the shrine of St. Leopold Bogdan Mandić in Maglaj was ceremoniously opened.

Apostolic Nunciature

Meeting of the apostolic nuncio Luigi Pezzuto and Chairmen of the Presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina Nebojša Radmanović

The Apostolic Nunciature to Bosnia and Herzegovina is an ecclesiastical office of the Roman Catholic Church in Bosnia and Herzegovina. The office of the nunciature has been located in Sarajevo since 1993. The first Apostolic Auncio to Bosnia and Herzegovina was Francesco Monterisi who was in office from June 1993 until March 1998. The current Apostolic Nuncio is His Most Reverend Excellency Luigi Pezzuto, who was appointed by Pope Benedict XVI on 17 November 2012.[14]

See also


  1. ^ Catholic Encyclopedia:Bosnia and Herzegovina
  2. ^ Šanjek, Franjo (1996). Kršćanstvo na hrvatskom prostoru [Christianity in the Croatian regions] (in Croatian). Zagreb: Kršaćnska sadašnjost. 
  3. ^ OŠJ 1975, p. 134.
  4. ^ 35 godina od katastrofalnog potresa u Banjoj Luci, Vjesnik
  5. ^ ZENIT
  6. ^ a b Pope's Trip Helped Highlight the Plight
  7. ^ Široki Brijeg: Pokopani posmrtni ostaci fra Maksimilijana Jurčića
  8. ^ Misa za 66 ubijenih hercegovačkih franjevaca, Catholic Press Agency Zagreb
  10. ^ Vicepostulatura postupka mučeništva »Fra Leo Petrović i 65 subraće«
  11. ^ "Vatican Probes Claims of Apparitions at Medugorje". Reuters. Retrieved 14 May 2013. 
  12. ^ Pope finally launches crackdown on world's largest illicit Catholic shrine and suspends 'dubious' priest. (Sep 3, 2008). Caldwell, Simon. Mail Online. Retrieved Feb 28, 2010.
  13. ^ "Holy See confirms creation of Medjugorje Commission". Catholic News Agency (ACI Prensa). March 17, 2010. 
  14. ^ "Apostolic Nunciature Bosnia and Herzegovina". GCatholic. Retrieved 18 May 2013. 

External links

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