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A Serbian Orthodox Bishop highly regarded not only in Serbia, a controversial Christian philosopher, a writer of explicit anti-Semitic work,

a rumored Nazi pawn, a servant of God. This was Nikolaj Velimirovic to the eyes of the Serbian people. Him and his work has a fixed place in Serbian society and his prevalence in both religion and politics had caused him expected adulation, albeit with that comes due controversy and dispute revolving around him. Nikolaj Velimirovic had been the subject of many debates: regarding his time in captivity during the Nazi era, regarding his life and work for the ecumenical movement before his contribution in overt Jewish criticism, and the most grievously discussedhis openly anti-Semitic writings. All these had been the topic of the most heated debates, but Nikolaj Velimirovics name had only been direly embedded to the consciousness of the Serbian people during the discussion of all these as part of his canonization in the Serbian Orthodox Church. Before the Thaw After the fall of the Berlin Wall, a significant part of Eastern Europe had undergone a revitalization of what was, a few decades before it, thought of as condemnable. After the Cold War, anticommunist, antidemocratic and anti-Semitic ideas were as though made anew to the eyes of the people who had long experienced rigid denunciation of these ideas. With this revitalization of ideology comes the impending rewriting of history. This point in time for Eastern Europe was a period of rehabilitation. The figures who had been notorious for their anticommunist and anti-Semitist ideals were subjected to a public

status transformation from villains to heroes. What is to be noted from this occurrence was that there was strong opposition to anti-Semitism that had been duly established after the Holocaust and despite this dominant belief; anti-Semitism had been revived as right-wing ideas were restored in Eastern Europe. And along with this came the historical figures noted for their anti-Semitist ideals being eased into the public view. With that comes the inherent thought for the people, Is this accepted now? Nikolaj Velimirovic is indeed a perfect example for the revitalized anti-Semitist. Naturally, he did not live long enough to experience being heralded as great for his latter anti-Semitist writings. His face for the Serbian public though, had seen great changes over the past 25 or so years. To the communist authorities in former Yugoslavia, he was labeled as an anti-Semite, a traitor to his own people and a fascist but over the course of two decades, he to the Serbian public had undergone drastic change in outlook. He had been respected in some Serbian Orthodox circles and is thought of as the greatest national religious figure. To some, he has been deemed a prophet and to several dominant figures in the Serbian Orthodox Church, the greatest Serbian son. His adulation was not limited to the religious population. His published writings have sold astoundingly that in unofficial estimates, he is Serbias most popular author in the post-communist period. His Writings Nikolaj Velimirovic did not start off immediately like how he is known for today. Before his more popular works, he was regarded as one of the best in ecumenical dialogue and maintained close ties with the Protestant churches of the United Kingdom and the

United States and he was duly recognized in these countries as well. However, he is more known for his latter works which are dominantly nationalist and very anti-Western. He detested individualism and religious tolerance which was what the West is generally known for. He had his own brand of clerical nationalism and he was heralded for it. His most popular works were The Nationalism of St. Sava and The Theodule Serbian People. His works were known to be ultimately anti-Western and antimodernist and centers on nationalism. He was so influential in this topic, that politicians on the right cite him definitely. With these ideals of strong nationalism though, comes the infused anti-Semitism in his writings wherein Jews were identified as Christ-killers. And in Christian Europe, this identification would cause them to be looked upon with antipathy, at the very least. In the years before World War II, Velimirovics works were recurrently cited as the rise of Serbian fascism began. Zbor, the pro-Nazi organization was very known to be supported by Velimirovic himself, contributing through his nationalist works and acting as somewhat a spiritual leader. In the time of the German invasion, Zbor was the most active. However, Velimirovic had resisted joining as an active collaborator with Zbor. Instead he joined Chetnik nationalist insurgents who remained faithful to the exiled King of Yugoslavia. I doubt he did not see the imminent arrest that would follow that. German authorities had him arrested and locked up in a monastery while under surveillance. After three years of that he had been transferred to a concentration camp at Dachau and historical evidence would show that he might have been transferred there because he was actually an asset to the Germans. He was freed in 1944; however he was unwelcomed in Serbia for his anticommunist ideals and his connection with Germans.

Velimirovic died in the United States in 1956 and for 40 years of communist rule in Serbia, his works were all banned and he was the subject of public denunciation. This was the face of Velimirovic until the 1980s, which was the start of Serbian nationalism that was pioneered by those who supported him. His Supporters Defense Because defending Velimirovics anti-Semitism had become nothing short of an art form in the sense that it had varied greatly over which of his ideals were being questioned, studies have been done to enumerate the ways that Velimirovics ideals are defended. The most common of attack for him would be in his writings. The most permanent and undisputedly Velimirovics would be his writings. His works are often critiqued but the one that would stand out the most would be Words to the Serbian People through the Dungeon Window wherein, as he had already pointed out in the title, was made while in incarceration by the Nazis. His anti-Semitism had reached a culminating point and it had inevitably been the cause of most of the attacks against his ideologies. In the study conducted as to how Velimirovics supporters save his name, in different forms of media and in varying instances in mainstream broadcasting, there were a couple of ways that were repeating and prevalent as defense for Velimirovic. Velimirovic is merely restating the scriptures. He had quoted many verses in the Bible such as: Your [Jews] father is the devil, and you choose to carry out your fathers desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, and is not rooted in the truth; there is no truth in him. When he tells a lie he is speaking his own language, for he is a liar and

a father of lies (John 8:44). Anti-Semitism, when backed by the Bible, seems to be so different from the anti-Semitism that we have as a stereotype in our minds. Which gives way to the other defense to Velimirovic that if he is an anti-Semite then the Bible is antiSemite, then the whole Christian community is anti-Semite. It is a common way of redirecting an attack. Applying the logic that has been presented and upgrading it to levels too extreme that it is deemed blasphemous to accept it. This is how Velimirovic has attained such a high status, even so far as being regarded as a prophet, that by his words that are a repeat of what was in the Bible, he is being heralded as one that is merely proclaiming Gods word. And with that comes another defense for Velimirovic. In oral interviews, usage of words such as merely, just or they say are an implication that a normally grievous offense is being pardoned because at some point it is not as dire. The language being used can also be seen in written form with the rampant usage of italics as emphasis for when irony is not as obvious. So defending Velimirovic also came with the need for a line that divides the dire anti-Semitism from his brand of antiSemitism which isNazi anti-Semitism and Christian anti-Semitism. With Velimirovics works, his defenders are expected to say, he is anti-Semite but the whole Christian doctrine is based on one, with Jews being the killers of Jesus Christ. his blood be upon us (Jews) and upon our (Jews) children (Matthew 27:26) With that again, the thought of a line dividing what the Nazis were known for and what Velimirovics ideals becomes reality. His supporters are known for saying that he reprimands because he loves. He points out the wrongs of the Jews and Judaism as a whole because in his belief it exists, that they are the villains in this world. Much like a parent chastises his/her child, Velimirovic makes known his love for the sinner by telling of their sin.

According to Analyses of Serbian anti-Semitism, it rose from the right-wing populist and the pioneer for it is Nikolaj Velimirovic. Being the pioneer for something frowned upon all over the world definitely calls for critics, at the very least. However religiously we look upon this it is indeed a problem concerning the well-being of people. Now addressing this problem may take long as long as there are people who continually blind themselves. From what I can see, the last time a person with big enough influence pioneered hatred among a race, it killed 6,000,000. It need not a repeat. German nationalism was the root of this hatred, a parallel to Nikolaj Velimirovics purporting strong Serbian nationalism. Comparing Serbia to Germany in this sense doesnt seem too far-fetched. The parallels that they are having are nothing short of a recap of what was happening before they started World War II. Anti-Semitism is indeed present and not just in the Eastern Churches. However, unlike Roman Catholic and Protestant Christian denominations, the Eastern Orthodox Churches have not yet fully addressed a solution regarding the problem of Christian anti-Semitism. As Albahari had commented for the Serbian people: What is good for one side might not be good for the other, but if both sides are aware of what this means for the other side, and respect the differences, then coexistence is possible. And this is what Serbia needs the most: quiet coexistence, marked by mutual respect accompanied by the readiness to understand others so that they would understand us. The study that had been done to see the patterns for defending Velimirovics anti-Semitism was not a bridget that dropped on the consciousness of the Serbian people just now. Ways of twisting the truth, defending faith, bottom linehatred to a fellow people.

Velimirovic, being thought of as asserting the word of God, cannot be deemed wrong and his writings being thought of as something belonging to eternal Truth would cause him to be impervious to denunciation. But the rise of anti-Semitic incidents in Serbia doesnt seem to be part of the picturesque of what results from the eternal truth. Maybe God would agree with Albahari. Here there is no Greek or Jew, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave or free, but Christ is all, and is in all. Colossians 3:11
Sharmaine C. Kalaw 2010-27979 BA European Languages January 12, 2012 Prof. L. Bolinao Kasaysayan 150