Istanbul, December 31, 2019
The Patriarchate of Constantinople will always stand with its Serbian brothers and sisters and will never give autocephaly to the schismatic “Montenegrin Orthodox Church,” Patriarch Bartholomew stated in a recent interview with the Serbian outlet Kurir.
Even if the Montenegrins themselves ask for us, the Patriarchate will not grant it, the Patriarch says.
“Miraš Dedeić will never be able to get autocephaly for his false Church… For us, Dedeić is just a priest excommunicated from the Church. I repeat, we will never give autocephaly to the so-called ‘Montenegrin Orthodox Church,’” Pat. Bartholomew assured.
Dedeić is the current head of the “Montenegrin Church” who was suspended by Constantinople for adultery, embezzlement, and creating a separate Serbian community within his Greek parish. He was tonsured as a monk and elevated to the rank of archimandrite by the schismatic “Macedonian Orthodox Church” and consecrated as a bishop by the schismatic “Bulgarian Alternative Orthodox Church,” after which he took over the “Montenegrin Orthodox Church.”
In 1997, he was excommunicated by the Holy Synod of the Patriarchate of Constantinople.
“No, no, and no! The Church in Montenegro is the Serbian Orthodox Church, and there will never be any changes,” the Patriarch said when asked if he would give autocephaly if the Montenegrins demanded it.
Pat. Bartholomew also denied the parallels between the schismatic Ukrainian church and the schismatic Montenegrin Church, asserting that the so-called “Orthodox Church of Ukraine” received its autocephaly just as did the Serbs, Greeks, Czechs, Albanians, and others.”
He also characterized the new law adopted by the Montenegrin Parliament as an unjust infringement upon the rights of the Serbian Orthodox faithful.
“I told President Milo Đukanović about this. The only canonical Church in Montenegro is the Montenegrin-Primorye Metropolis of the Serbian Orthodox Church, and the only canonical Archbishop is Metropolitan Amfilohije,” Pat. Bartholomew said.
“I fully support Metropolitan Amfilohije, at whose request I wrote a letter to the President of Montenegro Milo Đukanović, in which I urged him not to take further steps in the adoption and implementation of laws on religious communities,” the Patriarch added.
Pat. Bartholomew wrote to the President in June, urging him to give up his dream of achieving a canonical autocephalous Church in Montenegro.
“No single Church … will recognize or support the anti-canonical fabrication of Dedeić,” the Patriarch wrote.
Like Dedeić, Philaret Denisenko was also canonically defrocked, excommunicated, and anathematized by the Russian Orthodox Church, which was acknowledged and accepted by Pat. Bartholomew himself, though in the same interview with the Serbian outlet, the Patriarch blames the Russian Church for Philaret’s personal choice to become a schismatic.
Despite these universally-recognized canonical sanctions, Denisenko and the “hierarchs” consecrated by him were rehabilitated and welcomed into the Patriarchate of Constantinople last October and became the basis for the new “Orthodox Church of Ukraine” created by Pat. Bartholomew and ex-President Petro Poroshenko in January.
The schismatic “Montenegrin Orthodox Church” was also in communion with Denisenko’s schismatic “Kiev Patriarchate,” and the OCU has also concelebrated with Montenegrin schismatics.