Ecumenical Patriarchate, Principality of Serbia, Canonical letter, church autonomy, eparchies
After the creation of the Principality of Serbia in 1830, one of the most important questions was the creation and organisation of the autonomous church in it. That matter was in great deal settled by the Canonical letter on the autonomy, which was issued by the Ecumenical Patriarchate on September 1831, but it was finalised only in 1836 with patriarchal and synodical grammata. In the meantime, there was a change in Serbia’s eparchial structure, due to the fact that the Metropolitanate of Užice-Valjevo was divided to Šabac and Valjevo Episcopacies, and in 1834 Timok Episcopacy was formed as well. Therefore, the Orthodox Church in the Principality of Serbia was able to form a synod of their archiereys, which independently chose its church head, the Metropolitan of Serbia. In the meantime, in 1833 Serbia annexed the territory of six nahias. The greatest part entered the domain of the Timok Episcopacy, and the rest was given to the Metropolitanate of Belgrade, Šabac and Užice Episcopacies. There were some minor changes in the eparchial borders in 1835 as well. Through successful communication and good relations with the Ecumenical Patriarchate, the Orthodox Church in the Principality of Serbia gained canonical recognition in the rest of the Orthodox world, as well as the good foundation for acquiring full autocephality in 1879.