Cetinje, May 1, 2020
“For the first time in my more than 80 years, 60 of which have been devoted to pastoral work, I have been summoned twice by police to answer questions regarding my clerical duties,” states His Eminence Metropolitan Amfilohije of Montenegro of the Serbian Orthodox Church after he was again summoned and interrogated by police for attending a funeral on Bright Wednesday.
The Metropolitan and several clerics were earlier detained after celebrating Liturgy on the feast of Palm Sunday at a monastery in Zlatica, a suburb of the capital city of Podgorica.
“As the Metropolitan bishop of Montenegro and the Littoral and as an individual, I express my human and episcopal protest that the burial of the deceased is abused, prosecuted, and desecrated in this way by the state authorities,” His Eminence continues, in a statement published on the Metropolis’ website.
“This sacred rite is our human and Christian duty and obligation. We do not have the right, neither from God nor from state law, to not carry out our metropolitan and human duty, regardless of any subsequent interpretation in public,” His Eminence writes.
Several persons who attended the funeral of historical Vladimir Jovičić were questioned the next day by the Cetinje police, although, as Met. Amfilohije points out, religious rites have not been banned by the state’s quarantine measures. It is obvious, His Eminence writes, that Church representatives are being persecuted as an undesirable social category.
Met. Amfilohije regrets that the quarantine measures are used for the ideological and party intimidation of the faithful, thus violating their Constitutionally-guaranteed rights.
“In the end, because of our service to the Risen Lord Christ, we are ready to answer before every court in this world,” the Montenegrin hierarch states.