Jovan Byford: Saints, sins and social remembering: Denial and repression of antisemitism in Serbian Orthodox Christian culture

  • Date: –16:00
  • Location: Engelska parken Sal Eng6-0022
  • Lecturer: Jovan Byford, Open University, London
  • Organiser: Hugo Valentin centrum
  • Contact person: Tomislav Dulic
  • Föreläsning

Abstract: Bishop Nikolaj Velimirović (1881–1956) is regarded by the Serbian Orthodox Church as one of the most important Orthodox Christian thinkers of the 20th Century, and a national saint. Yet among Velimirović’s writings are some notoriously antisemitic passages, which point to an unsavoury dimension of his religious and political philosophy. The lecture argues that the continuing adulation of the controversial bishop is made possible by two complementary discursive and rhetorical practices - denial and repression - which are used to justify, play down, and rationalize his lamentable stance towards Jews. In examining the management of Velimirović’s reputation by the Serbian Orthodox Church and the Christian Right in Serbia, the talk considers also the wider lessons that this case provides for the study of contemporary antisemitism, both within and beyond the Serbian, or Orthodox Christian, context.

Jovan Byford is Senior Lecturer in Psychology at The Open University, UK.

He is the author of five books, including Denial and Repression of Antisemitism (2008), Conspiracy Theories: A Critical Introduction (2011) and Conspiracy Theory: Serbia vs The New World Order (2006). The lecture is made possible with a contribution from the Forum for Democracy, Peace and Justice