Varnava (Rosic) of Serbia

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His Holiness Varnava (Rosić) of Serbia ( Његова светост патријарх српски Варнава ) was Patriarch of Serbia from 1930 to 1937. Patriarch Varnava was also one of main figures in Concordate crisis and its victim.

Early Life

He was born in Pljevlja August 29/September 11 1880, as Petar into family of Đorđe and Krsmana Rosić (Ђорђе и Крсмана Росић). He finished primary school in Pljevlja in 1892, and seminary in Prizren in 1899. Also in 1899 he became a stipendist of Russian Synod. He continued his studies at St. Petersburg Theological Academy and earned the title of "Candidate of Theology" in 1905. He is tonsured in St. Petersburg on April 30, 1905, by his Rector Bishop Sergije and was given name Varnava. He was ordained deacon on May 6, and presbyter on June 6, same year. Fr. Varnava returned to Contantinople and was appointed Chaplain in Serbian Embassy and also was principal of the Serbian School.


Holy Synod elected him on March 18/31, 1910 as auxiliary bishop to the Metropolitan of Veles with title Bishop of Glavnica. He was consecrated on April 10/23, 1910 which was Lazarus Saturday, by metropolitans: Philaretos of Didomitice, Dorotheos of Sosgatople, Polycarp of Eleason, Sophronios of Pryconya and Anthim of Sarandeclesia in Constantinople Cathedral Shurch of Saint George.

Territory of his diocese was conquered by Serbia on First Balkan War (1912-1913). He was then given several dioceses. Bp. Varnava organized Spiritual Courts, rebuilt churches, and established schools. When World War I began Bp. Varnava retreated with Serbian Army into Greece through Albania.

After war he was appointed administrator of all dioceses in Macedonia. He participated in reestablishing of Serbian Orthodox Church in 1920. He soon was elected Metropolitan of Skoplje November 17/30, 1920.


After the death of Patriarch Dimitrije in 1930, the Electorial Assembly of Serbian Orthodox Church elected Metr. Varnava to the position of Patriarch on April 12/25, which was Lazarus Saturday. He unified the administrative system of Serbian Orthodox Church. He also started building the Memorial St. Sava's Temple in Belgrade. Patr. Varnava built Patriarchal building which serves as Administrative Center of the church in Belgrade and Patriarchal Palace. He planned to establish an Academy for chanting.

In 1936, Patr. Varnava convened a consultation of representatives of Russian dioceses and exiles not administered by the Patriarchate of Moscow.

Concordate crisis

In 1937. the government of Milan Stojadinović wanted to sign a concordant with the Vatican. This treaty would give enormous privileges to the Roman Catholic Church which was actually a minority church in Yugoslavia. Holy Synod strongly opposed this treaty and announced that the Prime Minister and all members of parliament who voted for it would be excluded from Church. The Popular Assembly voted for the Concordant but the Senate voted against so the Concordant was never realised. The Patriarch who strongly opposed the concordant died under unclear circumstances.

Patr. Varnava died on July 23, 1936. He was buried in the small Church of St. Sava. When the St. Sava Temple is finished Patr. Varnava's remains will be buried there.

Succession box:
Varnava (Rosic) of Serbia
Preceded by:
Bishop of Glavnic - Vicar
Succeeded by:
Preceded by:
Metropolitan of Skoplje
Succeeded by:
Josif (Cvijović)
Preceded by:
Patriarch of Serbia
Succeeded by:
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