The Patriarchy, in Belgrade, is a member of the World Council of Churches. Like the Patriarchy of Jerusalem and that of Serbia, it is in communion with the Russian Orthodox Church outside of Russia.
The Serbian Orthodox Church was born in the 8th century. It was founded by St. Sava.
St. Sava, or Rastko Nemanjic, turned to the Patriarchy in order to achieve autonomy for the Serbian Church and in 1219 finally obtained it, becoming the first Archbishop of the Autonomous Serbian Orthodox Church. In 1375 it was recognized as a Patriarchy.
In Italy, one of the oldest historic presences of Orthodox members is made up of the Serbian community of Trieste, founded under the Empress Maria Theresa of Austria (1717-1780). Following the destruction of the Serbian-Orthodox Episcopal seat in Zagreb, the Patriarchy assigned Italy as the metropolis Zagreb and of Ljubljana, basically transforming the church of Trieste into a metropolitan cathedral. The Serbian Orthodox Church is characterized by a very conservative position inside the Orthodox world. Beside Mount Athos, it is the only Orthodox reality of the Balkan Peninsula not having accepted the calendar reform, and the Orthodox Patriarchy of which the most articulate criticism are reached as to the Orthodox Church’s involvement in ecumenism. The Patriarchy of Serbia boasts of more than eight million members in the ex-Yugoslavia, besides a diffused presence throughout the entire Eastern world (particularly in Germany, North America and Australia).