Montenegrin police open criminal case against Metropolitan Amfilohije

Ulcinj, Montenegro, June 11, 2020

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Montenegrin police in Ulcinj have opened a criminal case against the Metropolis of Montenegro of the Serbian Orthodox Church and against His Eminence Metropolitan Amfilohije of Montenegro personally for the alleged uncoordinated construction of a monastery object, reports RIA-Novosti.

The case refers to the monastic residence at St. Basil of Ostrog Monastery near Ulcinj, which the authorities demolished yesterday. The 18th-century Church of St. Basil was just transferred to the status of a convent last month, and the building was newly-constructed.

Met. Amfilohije referred to the act of destruction as an attack on the people and the Church and against St. Basil himself, highlighting that the destruction began just after the Church announced that it would resume its protest processions this coming Sunday.

After consulting with the Office of the Public Prosecutor, the police decided to open the case against the Metropolitan and Church for the “construction of an object without notification and permission.”

The demolition of the building caused outrage among the Orthodox faith and the Montenegrin opposition. Hundreds of people also gathered yesterday to protect the Monastery of St. Michael the Archangel in Tivat, which the authorities also tried to demolish last year.

OrthoChristian earlier reported that one man, Miroslav Koprivica, was sent by his company to participate in the destruction of the monastery building, but he refused and left the scene on foot.

Met. Amfilohije is now the second hierarch of the Serbian Church in Montenegro to be facing criminal charges. His Grace Bishop Joanikije of Budimlja and Nikšić and a number of priests will also appear in court on June 19 on charges of organizing a procession under quarantine conditions.

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