1. Fr. Antonio - Mario Čirko
Česmičkog 1, 10000 Zagreb, HR
2. Fr. Petar (Pejo) Janjić
Šetalište Dražica 2, 51500 Krk, HR
3. Fr. Srećko Rimac
Ul.Ronkali 2-4, P.K. 112, 1504 Sofia, BG
tel. +35929444029; +359886302732;
4. Fr. Zdenko Križić
Šetalište Dražica 2, 51500 Krk, HR
fax +38551222840; firstname.lastname@example.org
Fr. Dario Tokić
Česmičkog 1, 10000 Zagreb, HR
The Carmelite Monastery in Sombor, founded at the beginning of the last century (1904), which included Croats among its members (above: Fr. Gerard Tomo Stantić), was originally a part of the Hungarian OCD Province. After the First World War, when Sombor became a part of Yugoslavia, the monastery was taken out of the Hungarian Province and placed under the direct administration of the Order. In 1959, at the invitation of the Archbishop of Zagreb, Blessed Alojzije Stepinac, Carmelites from Sombor came to Zagreb, and in 1960 founded the monastery in Remete. From that time, they have been the custodians of the Shrine of Our Lady of Remete, the Advocate of Croatia. Today Remete are a part of the Croatian capital, but the monastery preserved an environment of peacefulness and withdrawal from the busy city life, and it is rightly considered a spiritual oasis of Zagreb. In 1987 the Institute for Christian Spirituality was founded within the framework of the Zagreb Catholic Theological Faculty. From Remete, Carmelites founded the monastery in Split (the Parish of Kamen) in 1976, and in Krk in 1996. Croatian Carmelites, including the monastery in Sombor, held the status of a Commissariat up until 1990, when the Croatian Carmelite Province of the Holy Father Joseph was established.
Croatian cloistered Carmelite nuns from Carmels in the neighboring countries gathered together in Brezovica (1), also at the invitation of the Zagreb Archbishop, Blessed Alojzije Stepinac. There the first female cloistered Carmel in Croatia was canonically established in 1939. The sisters branched out starting from Brezovica. First to be formed was a community which, after several years of residence in Juršići (1965-1977), moved to Kloštar Ivanić (2). The community in Kloštar Ivanić in 1987 “gave birth” to a new Carmel in Šarengrad (Đakovo-Srijem Diocese). From there the sisters were displaced at the beginning of the Homeland War. Since 2001 – after ten years of being sheltered as displaced persons with Carmelite Fathers in Remete – they have been living in the newly built monastery in Đakovačka Breznica (Levanjska Varoš near Đakovo) (3). The community in Brezovica yielded the fourth Carmel in Croatia, in the national shrine of Marija Bistrica in 1998 (4). In the jubilee year of 2000 sisters from Brezovica along with some sisters from the other Croatian Carmelite communities founded a new Carmel in Sarajevo (5). Croatian Carmelite nuns from monasteries gathered in the Blessed Alojzije Stepinac Association worked jointly to form the core of a community which arrived to a new Carmel in Nënshat (the Kallmekta Parish in the Archdiocese of Skadar in Albania) on 21st May, 2003 (6). Today, there are 823 female cloistered Carmels totaling approximately 11,657 Carmelite nuns in the world.
To illustrate the real life of today’s Croatian Carmelite, let us use the description of Carmelite clerics found in the brochure entitled “Carmelites.” These young people who, living inside Carmel, have an immediate experience of concrete Carmelite everyday life, gave the following answer to the question “What distinguishes the Croatian Carmelite Province of the Holy Father Joseph?”:
Spiritual retreats; spiritual exercises; homilies; sermons; confession; spiritual guidance; spiritual conversations; meetings of the Carmelite Secular Order; working with hay and aftermath; working in the orchard; religious education; pastoral care of the sick; work in the vineyard; work in the wine cellar; working on oneself; book publishing; the Institute for Christian Spirituality; classes at the Catholic Theological Faculty; classes at the Catechetical Institute of the Catholic Theological Faculty of the University of Zagreb; fraternal communion and cooperation with cloistered Carmelite sisters of Brezovica, Kloštar Ivanić, Šarengrad (now Đakovačka Breznica) and Sora (Slovenia); The Shrine of the Mother of God of Remete; the Parish of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Remete; the branch chapel of St. Teresa of Ávila in Čret; the Parish of St. Michael in Kamen (Split); the Caritas office of the parish and the monastery of the Mother of God of Remete; the parish Caritas office in Kamen (Split)...
Both the male and the female branch of Carmel in Croatia continues to show tendencies of growth. This is the reason why, with God’s help, we are hoping for a good and prosperous future in the third millennium.
Jure Zečević, OCD
The Order of Carmelites has its origins on Mount Carmel, in Palestine, where, as we read in the II Book of Kings, the great prophet Elijah defended the true faith in the God of Israel, when he won the challenge against the priests of Baal. It was also on Mount Carmel that the same prophet, praying in solitude, saw the small cloud which brought life-giving rain after the long drought. From time immemorial, this mountain has been considered the lush garden of Palestine and symbol of fertility and beauty. Indeed, "Karmel" means "garden".
In the XII century (perhaps after the third crusade, 1189-1191), some penitents-pilgrims who had come from Europe, came together near the "spring of Elijah", in one of the narrow valleys of Mount Carmel, to live out their Christianity as hermits after the example of the prophet Elijah in the very land of our Lord Jesus Christ. Then and in later times, the Carmelites did not acknowledge anyone in particular as their founder, but remained faithful followers of Elijah who was associated with Mount Carmel through biblical events and through Greek and Latin patristic tradition which saw in the prophet one of the founders of the monastic life. In the middle of the cells they built a chapel which they dedicated to Mary, Mother of Jesus, thus developing a sense of belonging to Our Lady as Mistress of the place and as Patroness, and they became known by her name as "Brothers of Saint Mary of Mount Carmel". Thus Carmel is deeply associated with Elijah and Mary. From Elijah the Carmelites inherited a burning passion for the living and true God and the desire to make His Word intimately their own in order to witness to Its presence in the world; with Mary, the most Pure Mother of God, they are committed to live "in the footsteps of Jesus Christ" with the same intimate and deep feelings which were Mary's.
In order to have some juridical stability, this group of lay hermits turned to the Patriarch of Jerusalem, Albert Avogadro (1150-1214), who was then living at St. John of Acre near Mount Carmel. Between 1206-1214, Albert wrote for them a formula of life. Successive approvals of this formula of life by various Popes helped the process of transforming the group into a Religious Order, a fact which took place at the time of the definitive approval of the text as a Rule by Innocent IV in 1247. Thus the Carmelite Order took its place alongside the Mendicant Orders.
However, about 1235, the Carmelites were forced to abandon their place of origin due to the incursions and persecutions of the Saracens who were reconquering the Holy Land from the crusaders. Most of them went back to their country of origin in Europe.