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(MANDATRIENSIS, MARCANENSIS ET TRIBUNENSIS)

When at the Berlin Congress (1878) Austria-Hungary was allowed to occupy Bosnia and Herzegovina , the religious situation was at once regulated. The religious hatred existing until then between the Orthodox (673,000, 43 per cent), Mohammedans (549,000, 35 per cent), Catholics (330,000, 21 per cent), and Jews (8000, 0.5 per cent), was moderated. In 1881 the Emperor Francis Joseph formed the ecclesiastical province of Sarajevo (Bosna-Serai; Sarahimur) with the three sees of Banjaluka (Banialucus), Mostar, and Markana-Trebinje as suffragans. The Bishop of Mostar, through his pro-vicar, administers Markana-Trebinje, in which there are only eight secular priests and 20,000 Catholics.

Mostar is the capital of Hersegovina, and numbers 15,000 inhabitants, among whom there are 3500 Catholics. Herzegovina, which lies east of southern Dalmatia, received its name from the title of Herzog (duke) conferred by the Emperor Frederick IV (1448) on the Grand Waywode Stephan Vukcic. In 1463 Stephan Tomasevic, the last King of Bosnia, was made a prisoner by the Turks and beheaded, in defiance of a promise to spare him. Twenty years later Herzegovina came under the rule of Turkey. With Bosnia it received Christianity from the Romans. In the first half of the seventh century the Slavs took possession. In the eleventh century the Eastern Schism and the sect of the Bogomili did the Catholic Church great and unrepaired harm. National writers trace this sect to a Bulgarian priest, Jeremias, who was also called Bogomil. His followers were called Patarenes; they rejected matrimony, allowed no intercourse with those of other religions, unconditionally forbade war and taking of oaths, and wished to yield obedience to no authority but God. In 1483, during the Turkish occupation of the country, the majority of the Bogomili, those of the upper classes, went over to Mohammedanism. Those who remained faithful to Christianity became outlaws ( Kajaks ). After the siege of Vienna and the retreat of the Turks in 1683, the poor peasants repeatedly took up arms, but only made their condition worse. During this unhappy time the Franciscans, unaided and with great difficulty, preserved the life of the Catholic Church in the country. Not seldom they celebrated Divine service amid the cold and snow in the open air. They lived in the most wretched poverty, and many became martyrs.

The Franciscans deserved that one of their order should be chosen Bishop of Mostar and Markana-Trebinje in 1881. The order maintains two schools and six classes for the education of the rising generation. There are 12 secular priests and 64 Franciscans in the diocese, and the number of Catholics is estimated at 130,000.


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