Serbian Church has received back 60,000 acres confiscated by state after WWII

Belgrade, January 20, 2021

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The Serbian state has returned nearly all property confiscated from churches and religious communities after World War II, including nearly 60,000 acres to the Serbian Orthodox Church.

The restitution of property is coming to an end, with only 6% of the land remaining to be returned to church communities and citizens, reports the Serbian Monitor.

To date, 70,076 acres have been returned to various denominations, including 59,866 acres to the Serbian Orthodox Church. Out of a total of 3,049 requests to the Agency for Restitution from religious institutions, 1,602 came from the Church.

Other beneficiaries include the Romanian Orthodox Church, which received back 2,080 acres, the Catholic Church, the Slovak Evangelical Church, the Evangelical Christian Church, the Christian Reformed Church, the Greek Catholic Church, and Jewish communities.

“Most of it was returned to the Serbian Orthodox Church, i.e. the Patriarchate, Archbishopric, dioceses, monasteries and church communities—a total of 59,866 acres… Only 6% of the land remains to be returned to church communities and citizens, which is now in the possession of the state. This means that the Republic of Serbia has fulfilled all its obligations regarding the recognition of ownership and the return of the land to the former owners without getting into mass disputes and other social upheavals that have accompanied this process in other countries,” says Branko Lakić, Acting Director of the Agricultural Land Administration.

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