Exhibition marks anniversary of Serbia-Vatican diplomatic relations
By Lisa Zengarini
To mark the 100th anniversary of the Holy See establishing diplomatic relations with the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenians, in 1920, the Embassy of the Republic of Serbia to the Holy See has organized the Exhibition “Serbia and Vatican 1878-1914”.
The event opened on Monday at the Pontifical Lateran University in Rome. Attending the inauguration were Vatican Secretary for Relations with States, Archbishop Paul Gallagher, and Serbian Foreign Affairs Minister Nikola Selaković.
The documents presented at the exposition
The exhibition presents a number of documents, most of which are unknown to the greater public. These documents reveal the pre-existing diplomatic relations between Serbia and Vatican starting from 1878 when the Kingdom of Serbia was recognized as an independent state at the Congress of Berlin until the beginning of World War I when the two parts signed a Concordat. Though this was not implemented, it contributed significantly to the later establishment of diplomatic relations between the Vatican and the then Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenians in 1920, when the Apostolic Nunciature was also inaugurated in Belgrade.
Archbishop Gallagher's remarks
In his brief remarks, Archbishop Gallagher noted that the often delicate and challenging issue of the relations between the Vatican and the peoples of the Balkans "has never ceased to be of continual and considerable significance within the complex political framework of that region". He highlighted the perseverant work carried out during those 36 years by diplomats from both sides to facilitate a mutual dialogue. Hence the Vatican prelate expressed hope that the ongoing study of the history of international relations "will inspire new generations so that they may contribute to building a society increasingly characterized by mutual cooperation and the search for the common good".