Stefan Kondic is a Master in Public Affairs (MPA) candidate at The Woodrow Wilson School and Amherst College graduate with honors. His focus is on multilateral diplomacy and intergovernmental organizations and institutions, particularly the United Nations system, negotiation and conflict management.
Prevalence of religious belief and adherence have been dramatically changed by the tumultuous 20th century, and in few places is this more prevalent than in Eastern Europe. In Serbia, the prevalent faith, Eastern Orthodoxy had a complicated and evolving relationship with the government in the previous decades, with said relationship dramatically changing based on the system of government currently in place.
In the early 20th century, the Kingdom of Serbia was an independent polity, and the Serbian Orthodox Church enjoyed a great deal of prestige among the population. This remained largely unchanged after the unification of much of the Balkans into Yugoslavia, which continued the policy of laicité and ecclesiastical independence.
This changed rapidly after the Communists came to power, who at first tried to openly suppress the church, but eventually settled on employing societal pressure to discourage religious belief. As the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia began to fall apart in the late 1980s and early 1990s, religion underwent a resurgence in the country, and became instrumentalized by the emerging strongmen - a useful political and military tool to mobilize support and loyalty among the population, and justify the actions taken during the break-up of Yugoslavia. Now, the Serbian Orthodox Church is in the process of finding its own space in the democratizing politics and society of modern Serbia and defining its relationship with the Russian Orthodox Church.