Podgorica, June 23, 2020
The harassment of the hierarchs, clergy, and faithful of the Serbian Orthodox Church in Montenegro continued yesterday as His Eminence Metropolitan Amfilohije of Montenegro was summoned to the police again following a large cross procession in the capital city of Podgorica.
Processions were held in many cities throughout the country, and many clergymen were detained by police.
According to the Metropolis’ website, His Eminence was summoned for questioning to the Podgorica Security Center because of a complaint against him as the organizer of the procession held the day before.
The police department reported today that a case was opened against him for violating health measures to counter an infectious disease by holding the cross procession.
Vladyka Amfilohije has been detained and interrogated by the police multiple times in recent months, and a case was already opened against him for the alleged illegal construction of a monastery. His Grace Bishop Joanikije of Budimlja and Nikšić and a number of priests also await trial on charges of organizing a procession under quarantine conditions.
Met. Amfilohije only left the Security Center after 6 hours. A large number of priests, faithful, and journalists were waiting for him. His lawyers explained to the crowd that the prosecutor intentionally and unprofessionally dragged out the meeting.
“Be sure that there is no evidence here, there is no grounded suspicion, there is no basis for suspicion for this crime, and that is why there was a detention of up to six hours,” the lawyers said.
Holding an 83-year-old man for 6 hours is an inappropriate show of force by the prosecutor, they told the journalists and Church representatives. On the other hand, the police treated Vladyka respectfully.
In the end, Prosecutor Nikola Boricic filed a criminal complaint against the Metropolitan on suspicion that he committed the criminal offense of failing to comply with health regulations to combat a dangerous infectious disease.
A press release from the Metropolis notes that all the cross processions throughout the country were properly planned and reported to the police, in accordance with the law and current regulations on mass gatherings, but the police failed to block traffic at the last minute, thereby endangering the lives of many, including children.