Nationalist-Socialist ideals of Serbian Christian Community


Christian national community-HNZ (Хришћанска национална заједница/ Богомољачки покрет) in Kingdom of Yugoslavia was a gathering of Serbian Orthodox brothers lead by bishop Nikolaj and it represented an answer of ordinary and faithful Serbian people to spiritual apostasy of intelligentsia and to aggressive atheization of society. Although it had primarily spiritual and missionary goal, HNZ was aware of necessity for Christian political action that matches its spiritual activities. Their movement shared a lot at the time with political movement ZBOR. Important role in both movements had Dr. Dimitrije Nejdanovič, Dr. Đoko Slijepčević, Archpriest Aleksa Todorović and judge Jovan Saračević (future bishop for Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia).

In 1925. a HNZ gathering declared that Christian and moral rebirth of Serbian people must follow three principles:

1) Preserving the Orthodox-moral feeling among people
2) Developing that same feeling in St. Savian faith
3) Spreading that St. Savian feel of missionary work to non-Orthodox folk
National Christian community will make sure to secure social and economic progress for Serbian folk and it will develop and will help out only national, Slavic and Orthodox culture and progress on the basis of evangelical moral.

St. Savism (Светосавље) is an Orthodox Christianity of Serbian style and experience founded in works of Saint Sava. St. Savian Nationalism (Светосавски национализам) is in the same nature a nationalism of Serbian style and experience based on teachings and works of Saint Sava and all those who came after him and built upon foundation he laid down.

According to the above, in HNZ newsletter „Path“ (Пут), Đoko Slijepčević writes:

„There is nothing positive to expect from Euro-American bureaucracy, tyranny of banks and technocracy, nor from any similar evils that choke the free will of man and fabricate monetary debts for them while rejecting the concept of debts to our ancestors and our heirs.“

Indicator of HNZ understanding of social and worker’s question and deconstructing the evil of capitalism is found in proclamation to workers in second newsletter „Missionary“ (Мисионар) in March 1937:

“It is natural that workers stand beside their Church, as well as peasants. No one can help the workers like the Church can. Workers are deceived today. Their leaders are fatcats, professors, intellectuals whose interests are to achieve fame and wealth by exploiting them. Workers have become godless out of disappointment. Their communism is communism out of desperation. This disappointment and their desperation is a fruit of merciless capitalism. Big capitalists are the greatest ungodly people and greatest materialists. False sciences enabled them to practically become Gods of the workers-but they, the workers, can only find true aid and guardians in the Church. Let them not deceive themselves: in „workers“ country, in Soviet Russia, workers have low wages and a lot more work and less freedoms but a lot more hunger, more than there ever was. Soviet government transformed rich Russia into a country of hungry. Our movement is peasant and agricultural just like our country is peasant and agricultural. Worker’s place is beside the peasant. Hate and disappointment are destructive feelings. We want to build order of justice and mercy. Such order only Church of Christ can create”

Communists divided the society and pitted workers against the all other elements of it, most notably against the Church. For centuries the Church protected and preserved the society and every member of it, including the workers. There can not be divisions between Church and working people.  A harmony is needed and unity between ordinary, hardworking people and their Church.

In the same spirit Dimitrije Ljotić, who was a close friend to Nikolaj and their movements cooperated closely,  had a conversation on this subject with a worker who asked him about worker’s rights.

“We don’t think anything about that, because we don’t think about one single class regardless what it is. You can’t care about just one class and expect not to inflict damage to others and later to the very class you were caring about. Also, we don’t think about rights at all.”

A worker was shocked and he continued, saying he cares only about his worker’s rights.

“We don’t think about rights , since when we heard words on one Godly man: if we start to grab on our rights, someone will lose his and if we grab onto our duties there will be an excess of rights for everyone.”

Workers today are still enslaved by both capitalist system of exploitation and communist ideals of rights and conflict. The only way workers will become free is when they start to follow and express the values of Third Way, one true way, together and united with their Church.

Ilija Sredojević

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