Strossmayer, Josip Juraj

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Bishop and promoter of the union of Churches; b. Osijek, Croatia, Feb. 4, 1815; d. Djakovo, April 8, 1905. After completing his secondary education at the Gymnasium in Osijek, Strossmayer attended seminaries in Djakovo and Budapest, obtained his Ph.D. (1834), and was ordained (1838). After receiving a doctorate in theology at the Augustineum, Vienna, he taught at Djakovo seminary, then became chaplain at the imperial court in Vienna (184749), and bishop of Djakovo (November 1849). As an ardent patriot, he strove for a federation of the Hapsburg empire and resisted the absolutist policies of Vienna and Budapest. He was a member of the Croatian Diet (186073). Constantly he worked for the autonomy and unification of all Croatian lands. As a leading promoter of religion and culture, he spent vast sums building the beautiful cathedral of Djakovo, and erecting seminaries, convents, secondary schools, and libraries. He was instrumental in establishing a new university, the South Slav Academy, and a national gallery of art in Zagreb. At vatican council i he was a leading opponent of a definition of papal infallibility, but later accepted the conciliar decision. His views stemmed partly from a desire to gain the conversion of Russia, toward which he worked with the Russian philosopher Vladimir solov'ev. His friendship with the Russians won a rebuke from Emperor Francis Joseph (1888), but the pope upheld him. Hoping for a reunion of the Orthodox and Catholics, he contacted Serbs, Montenegrins, and Bulgarians. The Croatians still honor him as a great religious and national leader whose motto was "All for the Faith and Fatherland!"

Bibliography: a. kadiĆ "Vladimir Sloviev and Bishop Strossmayer," The American Slavic and East European Review 20 (1961) 163188. r. schutz, Dictionnaire de théologie catholique, ed. a. vacant, 15 v. (Paris 190350; Tables générales 1951) 14.2:263035. b. hurst, "The Founder of Modern Croatia," Catholic World 81 (1905) 773789.

[g. j. prpic]