Radu Nedici, Catholic Conversions in Habsburg Oltenia: Religious Change and Resistance

Radu Nedici - University of Bucharest
p. 181-195
Online publication date: 
Catholic missionaries; Church union with Rome; Orthodox Church; Habsburg administration; Ottoman Balkans

During the two decades of Habsburg rule, at the beginning of the eighteenth century, Oltenia has been the object of reformist interventions aimed at drifting the province away from Ottoman influence and integrating it into the Monarchy. Despite the role Catholicism still played at the time in the mind-set of the Habsburg political elite, it has received relatively little attention from historians working on the province. The present article attempts to address this shortcoming by investigating the confessional policy pursued by the Habsburgs in Oltenia. At its core sits the case of the five Orthodox abbots who acknowledged Church union with Rome, which has been propagated through the efforts of the bishop of Nikopol, Nikola Stanislavich, in the mid-1730s. Their career is discussed in order to show that the firm resistance opposed by the bishops of Râmnic prevented further defections from happening among the monks in the monasteries. At the same time, the internal frictions in the imperial administration, between the rival interests of the military and civilian officials, are emphasized in order to account for the limited support enjoyed by plans to win more converts.

Full text: