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Nikodim (Milas) of Dalmatia

Nikodim (Milaš) of Dalmatia (in Serbian:Никодим (Милаш) епископ далматински, April 4, 1845 - April 2, 1915) was the Serbian Orthodox Bishop of Dalmatia from 1890 to 1912. He was also one of the greatest Orthodox canonist in nineteenth century and author of many books about canon and church law. On October 2, 2012, he was locally glorified as a saint by the Diocese of Dalmatia of the Serbian Orthodox Church.


Nikodim was born in Šibenik as Nikola Milaš. The family of his father, Trifun, came to Dalmatia from Duvno (Bosnia). His mother Maria was Italian, who embraced Orthodoxy before she married Trifun.

He attended elementary school in a Franciscan monastery, but he took lessons in orthodoxy in the Bovan's School. Nikola graduated from the Jesuit Gymnasium in Zadar and Serbian Orthodox Theological School in Sremski Karlovci in 1866. He continued his education in Russia in 1867. There he was granted a Master degree in canon law at the Kiev Orthodox Theological Academy in 1871. His thesis was:Nomocanon of Patriarch Photius.

After returning to Dalmatia, Nikola was appointed professor by Bishop Stefan (Knežević) in the Theological Orthodox Institute in Zadar. The next year he was appointed rector of the Institute. The following year, Professor Milaš published a study in which he critized the inteference of the Austro-Hungarian governmant in life of the Serbian Church.

Professor Nikola Milaš was tonsured on the Forefeast of Nativity 1873. He was given the monastic name Nikodim. He was ordained deacon on Nativity. Two years later Dn. Nikodim was ordained presbyter. He was raised to the rank archimandrite in 1880. Under his rule the Theological Institute in Zadar became one of the best orthodox schools.

Fr. Nikodim corresponded with the greatest canonists of the Orthodox and Roman Catholic church at the time. He was fluent in German, Italian, Russian, Greek, and Latin. After publishing a new study, Principles of jurisdiction in Orthodox Church, in which he again critized authorities he was forced to leave his position at the institute in 1885.

Archimandrite Nikodim spent two years in Belgrade as rector of Belgrade Seminary, from 1886 to 1887. He returned to Zadar where he finally published his most important book, Church and Canon Law. This book was his life work. Even today it is used in theological studies. In the same year he published another significant book, Roman Catholic Propaganda, it's foundation and rules today.


Fr. Nikodim Milaš was elected Bishop of Dalmatia on July 10, 1890 and consecrated on September 16. During his tenure he was forced to struggle with aggressive Roman Catholic proselytism and with anti-orthodox authorities. He wrote once: "In Austria, there is a rule since 1868 that Orthodoxy has the same position as all other confessions in state. But the truth is that the Church (Orthodox) was just tolerated."

The reason that Bp. Nikodim wrote his book "Orthodoxy in Dalmatia" was to answer a papal encyiclcal in which the Pope appealed for union. Greek-Catholic Bishop of Krizevci wrote: "Nobody hates Union as much as Orthodox Dalmatians"

Bp. Nikodim refused elevation to the see of Belgrade and later of Sarajevo because he was not elected according to canon law.

Under constant pressure from civil authoriites and other enemies, Bp. Nikodim was forced to retire on December 21 1911. His retirement was accepted on January 19, 1912.

He moved to Dubrovnik. Kiev Orthodox Theological Academy awarded Bp. Nikodim an Honorary Doctorate of Divinity and also proclaimed him it's own honorary member. Bp. Nikodim died on April 2 1915. The only copy of his new book:The Church and the State in Austro-Hungarian Empire has disappeared.


  • "Historical-Canonical view on establishmant of Serbo-Romanian Metropolis of Bukovina and Dalmatia"(1873)
  • "Clerical dignities in the Orthodox Church" 1879;
  • "Codex canonum ecclesiae africane" (1881);
  • "St. Sava's Kormchya Book" (1884)
  • "Das Synodal-Statut der orth. Oriental Metropolie der Bukowina i Dalmatien mit Erläuterungen" (1885),
  • "orthodox Church and Canon Law" in six volumes (first edition 1890; second revised edition 1890, translated in Russian 1897, in German 1897, in Bulgarian 1903);
  • "Roman Catholic Propaganda, it's foundation and rules today" (1889; translated in Russian 1889, in Bulgarian 1890)
  • "Orthodoxy in Dalmatia" historical view (1901);
  • "Question of Eastern Church and task of Austria in it " (1889; Next year translated in Romanian and German)
  • "Principles of jurisdiction in Orthodox Church"
  • "Orthodox Monasticism" Mostar 1902;
  • "Slavic Apostles Ss. Cyril and Methodius"
  • "Rules (Κανόνες) of Orthodox Church with coments" (I 1895, II 1896)
  • "Documenta spectantia historiam orthodoxae dioeceseos Dalmatiae et Istriae a XV usque ad XIX saeculum" (I, 1899),
Succession box:
Nikodim (Milas) of Dalmatia
Preceded by:
Stefan (Knežević)
Bishop of Dalmatia and Istra
Succeeded by:
Dimitrije (Branković)
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