The Montenegrin government is working to follow up the Ukrainian path and to create own ‘independent’ Orthodox Church, even if in the case of the ‘independent’ Orthodox Church of Ukraine this turned into a complete failure.
On July 8, Montenegro’s President Milo Dukanovic told a party meeting in Niksic that there were plans of “restoring Montenegro’s autocephalous (independent) church.” The Montenegrin government is also pushing forward with a bill on freedom of religion and the legal status of religious organizations.
According to canonical Orthodox organizations, the bill stipulates a range of discriminating measures, including the seizure of some property of the Serbian Patriarchate, including the buildings of churches and monasteries, to the state’s ownership.
The Bishops’ Council of the Serbian Orthodox Church, the dominating and the only canonical Orthodox church in Montenegro, has described this bill as an “anti-European and anti-civilizational” move aimed at discriminating against the Serbian Patriarchate’s eparchies on Montenegrin soil and branding it as “direct meddling in the Church’s domestic affairs.”
Montenegro’s government is currently trying to push a bill through the parliament. In particular, the bill implies the seizure of property belonging to the Serbian Orthodox Church. This concerns more than 650 holy sites, including famous monasteries in the Orthodox world such as Ostrog. Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic asked the Montenegrin government to consider whether it was necessary to pass a law, which would “inevitably worsen good relations between Belgrade and Podgorica.”
Earlier, Montenegro’s President Milo Dukanovic accused the Serbian Orthodox Church of trying to maintain a religious monopoly throughout the country. The president that he would seek autocephaly for “Montenegro’s church” following Ukraine’s example.
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