The president of the Association of Refugee Serbs from Croatia, Milojko Budimir, assesses as extremely worrying the fact that a great number of those who in Croatia celebrate Orthodox Easter do not declare themselves as Serbs any more, and stressed that he has information indicating that about 30,000 Serbs have been converted to Catholicism in Croatia since the war.
Budimir told SRNA that the recently deceased Metropolitan of Zagreb-Ljubljana, Jovan, had information indicating that 30,000 Serbs were converted to Catholicism after the Storm operation in 1995.
He said that the results of the last population census are particularly worrying, where Serbs to a large degree renounced their national identity.
“The fact that of the 200,000 people registered in the last population census, only 40,000 or so declared themselves as Serbs of Orthodox faith and 160,000 declared themselves as just being Orthodox, is particularly worrying. This means that after the forming of the so-called Croatian Orthodox community there is a tendency to portray Serbs as being Croatians of Orthodox faith,” Budimir has warned.
He believes that the so-called Croatian Orthodox community was formed just to once again divide the remaining Serbs in Croatia.
“Naturally, those who fled and those who were expelled cannot influence this situation much, but we will never renounce our faith or our monasteries, and we know that our faith was the main reason we suffered in this the last war,” Budimir said.
He said that plans to assimilate and convert Orthodox Serbs to Catholicism are nothing new in Croatia.
Budimir said it is ironic that Catholic Archbishop Alojzije Stepinac, who to a large degree was responsible for crimes against and the conversion of 250,000 Serbs to Catholicism in the Independent State of Croatia /NDH/, will be canonised by the end of the year.
“I feel that canonising Stepinac is counterproductive to the Catholic Church. We hope that this will not happen, since if sainthood is based on this, I don’t know what can we expect from such a Church,” Budimir concluded.