Podgorica, Montenegro, June 12, 2020
Montenegrin citizens should not vote for incumbent deputies in the upcoming parliamentary elections if they do not stop pressuring and persecuting the Serbian Orthodox Church, His Eminence Metropolitan Amfilohije of Montenegro said in an address in front of the Cathedral of the Resurrection in Podgorica that was broadcast on the Church’s Radio Svetigora yesterday.
Hierarchs, clergy, monastics, and the Orthodox faithful had gathered at the Church for a moleben for peace and fraternal harmony, reports the Metropolis of Montenegro.
On Wednesday morning, municipal services, under heavy police protection, demolished the allegedly illegally-constructed monastics’ residence building at the new St. Basil of Ostrog Monastery outside the town of Ulcinj, and the next day, the police opened a criminal investigation against the Metropolis of Montenegro and Met. Amfilohije himself for having constructed the building, allegedly without proper permission.
“The time of those who forbid the restoration of shrines destroyed by the occupiers, who continue the work of the occupiers in Montenegro, must also pass. Therefore, we will continue our processions, observing sanitary measures. Although they have not promised to change the law on religious associations, I remain hopeful,” His Eminence told the crowd.
However, it has been a month since Met. Amfilohije wrote to Prime Minister Duško Marković about resuming the dialogue between the state and the Orthodox Church concerning the law on religious associations passed in December that gives the state the authority to confiscate Church property, and there has, as yet, been no response, reports Politika.
“If they don’t want to do this, the people should not vote for the authorities. Montenegrins have never voted for this government without fear, but there is no more fear now,” Vladyka Amfilohije emphasized, noting all the clergy who have been detained and the other conflicts with the state authorities.
“Those who believe in God, for whom the Church is sacred, do not vote for such an unholy, anti-secular power. Montenegrins have never voted for such a government, especially one that does what the occupiers did. I hope that this will not happen in the future,” the hierarch pleaded.
“Our gatherings are also a request, an encouragement to those who are now in power to sober up, not to pass lawless laws, not to steal anything for themselves and their authority, and especially not to steal from the Church of God,” Met. Amfilohije also called.
Parliamentary elections are slated to be held in September. The majority of seats are currently held by members of the Democratic Party of Socialists of President Milo Đukanović, who openly seeks to receive a tomos of autocephaly for the miniscule schismatic “Montenegrin Orthodox Church” in opposition to the canonical Serbian Orthodox Church, after the model of the “Orthodox Church of Ukraine.”