Nikšić, Montenegro, May 18, 2020
The modern “neo-communist heirs of Tito” go further and further in their persecution against the Church, causing more and more resistance among the people, His Grace Bishop Joanikije of Budimlja and Nikšić told his supportive flock after being released from 72-hours of police detention.
His Grace and seven other clerics were detained in Nikšić from the evening of May 12, following a procession in honor of the greatly beloved St. Basil of Ostrog, until early in the morning on May 16, reports Pravoslavie.ru.
After being released, Bp. Joanikije went to the main court building, where a large gathering of faithful had been waiting for him since 9 AM the day before. He first of all thanked the faithful for their support and love, which, he said, is an expression of love for the Church.
He also called on the faithful to keep the peace and have respect for the authorities as well. While disagreeing with their incomprehensible actions, His Grace noted that the police had treated him well during his detention. However, he cannot understand why the authorities act as if the Orthodox faith and Church are problems, and Montenegro’s only problems.
He also reiterated his regret that the authorities are attempting to seize the Church’s sacred sites. The new Titos are ramping up their persecutions against the Church and stirring up the people more and more.
The Montenegrin faithful have continually showed their loyalty and devotion to their Orthodox faith in recent months, vowing to protect their churches, monasteries, and clergy.
“In these days, we have all witnessed your devotion to the Church and the faith, and especially to St. Basil of Ostrog. May the Lord and St. Basil reward you for this!” Vladyka emphasized.
The Church will continue to fight for religious freedom and for the honor and dignity of every citizen, he added.