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Catholicisation refers mainly to the conversion of adherents of other religions into Catholicism, and the system of expanding Catholic influence in politics. Catholicisation was a policy of the Holy See through the Papal States, Holy Roman Empire, Habsburg Monarchy, etc. Sometimes this process is referred to as re-Catholicization although in many cases Catholicized people had never been Catholics before.[1]

The term is also used for the communion of Eastern Christian churches into the Roman Catholic Church; the Eastern Catholic Churches that follow the Byzantine, Alexandrian, Armenian, East Syrian, and West Syrian Rites, as opposed to the Roman Catholic Latin Rite.

Catholic doctrine[edit]


The Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples (Latin: Congregatio pro Gentium Evangelizatione), formerly Sacred Congregation for the Propagation of the Faith (Latin: Sacra Congregatio de Propaganda Fide) is the congregation of the Roman Curia responsible for missionary work and related activities.

In 1439 in Florence, the Declaration of Union was adopted, according to which "the Roman Church firmly believes that nobody, who does not belong to the Catholic Church, not only unbelievers, but Judeans (Jews), nor heretics, nor schismatics, cannot enter the kingdom of heaven, but all will go to the eternal fire, which is saved for devils and their angels, if they not before death turn to that church".[2] The Council of Trent (1545–63) had the mission to gain, apart from "stray" Protestants, also the numerous "schismatics" in southeastern Europe.[2]



Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth[edit]

Eastern Orthodox Christians[edit]


Catholic priest Sidonije Šolc rebaptizing Serb Orthodox people in Bosanska Dubica in August 1941

The Catholic Church had notable privileges in the Ottoman Empire, and already since the 15th century Bosnian Franciscans were allowed to freely propagate their religious doctrine and work on gaining adherents.[2] The Council of Trent (1545–63) had the mission to gain both Protestants, and Orthodox Christians in southeastern Europe.[2] The Serbian Orthodox Church became targeted, the strongest pressure during the term of Pope Clement VIII (1592–1605), who used the difficult position of the Orthodox in the Ottoman Empire and conditioned the Serbian Patriarch to Uniatize in return for support against the Turks.[2]

Since the many migrations of Serbs into the Habsburg Monarchy beginning in the 16th century, there were efforts to Catholicize the community. The Orthodox Eparchy of Marča became the Catholic Eparchy of Križevci after waves of Uniatization in the 17th and 18th centuries.[3] Notable individuals active in the Catholicisation of Serbs in the 17th century include Martin Dobrović, Benedikt Vinković, Petar Petretić, Rafael Levaković, Ivan Paskvali and Juraj Parčić.[3][4][5] Catholic bishops Vinković and Petretić wrote numerous inaccurate texts meant to incite hatred against Serbs and Orthodox Christians, some of which included advice on how to Catholicize the Serbs.[6]

During World War II, the Axis Ustashe in the Independent State of Croatia (NDH) persecuted Orthodox Serbs. An estimated 200–250,000 were converted to Catholicism, most temporarily.


All Albanians were Orthodox Christians until the mid-13th century[7] when the Ghegs converted to Catholicism as a mean to resist the Orthodox Serbs.[8]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Peter Hamish Wilson (2009). The Thirty Years War: Europe's Tragedy. Harvard University Press. p. 357. ISBN 978-0-674-03634-5.
  2. ^ a b c d e Vuković 2004, p. 424.
  3. ^ a b Kašić, Dušan Lj (1967). Srbi i pravoslavlje u Slavoniji i sjevernoj Hrvatskoj. Savez udruženja pravosl. sveštenstva SR Hrvatske. p. 49.
  4. ^ Kolarić, Juraj (2002). Povijest kršćanstva u Hrvata: Katolička crkva. Hrvatski studiji Sveučilišta u Zagrebu. p. 77. ISBN 978-953-6682-45-4.
  5. ^ Dimitrijević, Vladimir (2002). Pravoslavna crkva i rimokatolicizam: (od dogmatike do asketike). LIO. p. 337.
  6. ^ Gavrilović, Slavko (1993). Iz istorije Srba u Hrvatskoj, Slavoniji i Ugarskoj: XV-XIX vek. "Filip Višnjić". p. 30.
  7. ^ Hugh Chisholm (1910). Encyclopædia Britannica: a dictionary of arts, sciences, literature and general information. Encyclopædia Britannica. p. 485. Retrieved 18 July 2013. The Roman Catholic Ghegs appear to liave abandoned the Eastern for the Western Church in the middle of the 13th century[better source needed]
  8. ^ Leften Stavros Stavrianos (January 2000). The Balkans Since 1453. C. Hurst & Co. Publishers. p. 498. ISBN 978-1-85065-551-0. Retrieved 17 July 2013. Originally, all Albanians had belonged to the Eastern Orthodox Church... Then the Ghegs in the North adopted ... to better resist the pressure of Orthodox Serbs.


  • Atlagić, M. (2008). "Katoličenje Srba na Kosovu i Metohiji u XVII vijeku" (PDF). Baština (25): 137–147.
  • Bourdeaux, M., 1974. The Uniate churches in Czechoslovakia. Religion in Communist Lands, 2(2), pp. 4–6.
  • Forster, M.R., The Thirty Years' War and the Failure of Catholicization. The Counter-Reformation: The Essential Readings, pp. 163–97.
  • Ionescu, D., 1991. Roumania: The Orthodox-Uniate Conflict. Report on Eastern Europe, 2(31).
  • Kornél, Nagy, 2011. the catholicization of transylvanian Armenians (1685–1715). Integrative or disintegrative model?. Integrating Minorities: Traditional Communities and Modernization, p. 33.
  • Litwin, H., 1987. Catholicization among the Ruthenian Nobility and Assimilation Processes’ in the Ukraine during the Years 1569-1648. Acta Poloniae Histórica, 55, pp. 57–83.
  • Sadkowski, K. (1998). "From Ethnic Borderland to Catholic Fatherland: The Church, Christian Orthodox, and State Administration in the Chelm Region, 1918-1939". Slavic Review. 57 (4): 813–839.
  • Toth, I.G., 2002. The beginning of re-Catholicization in Eastern Slovakia. HISTORICKY CASOPIS, 50(4), pp. 587–606.
  • Vuković, Slobodan V. (2004). "Uloga Vatikana u razbijanju Jugoslavije". Sociološki pregled. 38 (3): 423–443. doi:10.5937/socpreg0403423V.
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