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THE FRANCISCANS

Basic information about the order

St. Francis of Assisi (1182-1226) was the founder of the Franciscan community in the Church. He is called Assisi because he was born, lived and died in Assisi, Italy. Here is some basic information about the Franciscans:

Franciscan communities around the world form one make single Franciscan Order. It is called this because its members live and work according to a certain order, i.e. The Franciscan rule. This Order has a wide variety of groups:

– These are: Franciscan Friars Minor (OFM), Capuchins and Conventuals. They are called The First Franciscan Order.

– Then there are the communities of the Sisters of the Poor Clares, Colettes and others. They are The Second Franciscan Order.

– There is The Third Franciscan Order, whose members are tertiaries. There are two groups: the religious and secular tertiaries. The first live in monasteries, the second in the world in their families.

What ll these groups have in common is that they live by the rules laid down by St. Francis and that they are inspired by his holiness and spirituality. The most numerous are the world tertiaries. There are about 500,000 worldwide. Members of the Franciscan Friars Minor is a little more than 16,000.

Franciscan province in Bosnia

The First Franciscan Order has 110 provinces around the world. The province in Bosnia is the fifth in the number of its members. Our brothers from Belgrade belong to this province. Now there are 312 members. They have their own seminary, high school, novitiate and seminary for educating youth, as well as humanitarian and charitable institutions for the people, media and information center, some interreligious, international and other necessary services. Bosnian Franciscans live in 19 monasteries, work as a pastoral clergy of the 91 parishes  and 13 Croatian Catholic missions around the world. They take care of the pilgrims in four provincial shrines. Only in Bosnia, Serbia and Kosovo (excluding other countries), they serve 164,642 believers (according to the list of believers in 2005). Otherwise, they do all the jobs: religious, pastoral, education, professor, scientific, charitable, missionary and other, which correspond to their vocation. Today, the Bosnian Franciscans live and work in sixteen different countries on four continents. Seven of them are on the Missionary Activity. There are not any of them only in Asia, but still from time to time some of them are in the Holy Land on pilgrimage or studies.

Territorially speaking, the Province of Bosnian Franciscans today includes Bosnia, Central Serbia (Šumadija), as well as Kosovo and Metohija. Therefore, the monks from Bosnia are in Belgrade, and in Đakovica in Kosovo.

Franciscans in Belgrade

According to the chronicle of Fr. Fortunato Hüber (Munich, 1686), the Franciscans arrived to Belgrade in 1280. Probably to serve around the religious needs of many Catholic traders from Bosnia and Dubrovnik. Indeed, it is mentioned “in the archives of the 17th century (1613-1634) Bosnian and Dubrovnik Catholic bazaar in Belgrade. They were about 1,500 Bosniaks and 200 people from Dubrovnik. They had a Franciscan priest. There was a small Jesuit residence with a   school attended by 32 students. ”

Belgrade has throughout its history been under the rule of various peoples and various state governments, as well as the influence of different cultures and jurisdictions of Western and Eastern churches. In Turkish times Franciscans perished several times in Belgrade. The Turks destroyed their churches and monasteries. In the obituary of the Franciscan monastery on Kaptol in Zagreb it is written, for 21 July 1456: “In the field near Belgrade, sixty anonymous Tertiary brothers, fighting along with Ivan Kapistran, died for Christ and the Church.” Those are our martyrs – the tertiaties of the Franciscan Order . In 1514 there is reference to a Franciscan monastery in Belgrade, in the old part of town called “imaret.” The monastery was destroyed by the Turks in 1521, and they built a mosque at the same place. A permit to build a new monastery was obtained in 1727, now erected in honor of St. Ivan Kapistran, the defender of Belgrade.

Belgrade Franciscan monastery

Franciscan monastery in Bregalnička Street in Belgrade belongs to the province of Bosnia Srebrena, seated in Sarajevo. The monastery celebrated its 80th anniversary in 2008, since it was built and opened in 1926. The nexzt year, 1927 with the monastery, a parish was established for the Catholic believers. The church of St. Anthony of Padua was erected in 1932. It is a great building, a beautiful architectural design by the famous Slovenian architect Jože Plečnik.

In the Archdiocese of Belgrade, Bosnian Franciscans, were also in Smederevo (1927-1941), Niš (1927-1940, 1983-1991), Šabac (1928-1941, 1963-1974), Kraljevo (1934-1940) and Niš (since 2007)…

Contact:

Saint Anthony
14 Bregalnička Street, Belgrade 11000
tel / fax: + 24-04-390
Fra Ilija Alanđak, OFM, pastor of St. Anthony
Fra Dr. Benedikt Vujica, OFM, guardian of the monastery of St. Anthony
Fra Leopold Rochmes, OFM, vicar general and pastor of the cathedral

Service of God

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