TRANSFORMATIONS OF RELIGIOUS STRUCTURE OF KOSOVO OVER THE CENTURIES (FROM THE MIDDLE AGES TO THE PRESENT) (Przemiany struktury wyznaniowej Kosowa na przestrzeni wiekow (od sredniowiecza do wspolczesnosci))
The complex history of the Balkans, which, in consequent periods of time, remained under control of different cultural centers, left an imprint on the present state of the region. One of the consequences of this fact is the current diversified ethnic and religious structure in each of the countries of South-Eastern Europe. The aim of this paper is to point at processes which effected transformations in ethnic and religious structure on the territory of present-day Kosovo. To start with medieval times, when Western Balkans were situated on the borders of Eastern and Western Christian influences, it is demonstrated how the territories of the present Kosovo found themselves in the Orthodox Serbia in the 12th century, where they remained until Ottoman conquests in 14th and 15th century. Main emphasis is put on the reasons and the character of the conversion of some of the Balkan Christians to Islam, and denominational policy of leaders of countries on the territory of which Kosovo was located in subsequent periods of time. The face of the present, predominantly Muslim, Kosovo Republic, is the sum of individual decisions of its inhabitants, local leaders and central administration as well as leaders of European empires. Nevertheless, the Islam of Kosovo is not a homogenous phenomenon. Its diversification and the depiction of the activity of the sparse Catholic community is the subject of the final part of the article.
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