Podgorica, October 8, 2020
An agreement has been reached with the Metropolis of Montenegro of the Serbian Orthodox Church, and the whole story with the scandalous and persecutorial law “On Freedom of Religion” in Montenegro is over, according to opposition leader Dritan Abazović.
“We have agreed with the Church about the Freedom of Religion Act and that is the most important thing for us. I fully support @ZdravkoKrivokcg [the leader of the For the Future of Montenegro opposition coalition—OC] and there are no conflicts between us. The whole story with the law is over. The law will be changed, not withdrawn, because it is procedurally the shortest way,” the leader of the United Reform Action party and Parliamentarian Deputy tweeted on Tuesday.
For the first time in 30 years, opposition deputies won a majority of seats in parliamentary elections in August, thus winning the right to form a new cabinet, replacing the government of President Milo Đukanović, which actively persecuted the canonical Serbian Orthodox Church in favor of a tiny schismatic community founded on nationalistic political principles. The government’s persecution of the Serbian Church—the majority religion in Montenegro—was a major factor in the opposition victory.
In stark contrast to the authorities that ruled Montenegro for three decades, after learning of the election results, opposition leader Zdravko Krivokapić immediately went to the Cathedral of the Resurrection in Podgorica to give thanks to God and receive the blessing of His Eminence Metropolitan Amfilohije of Montenegro.
He also announced that the new government’s first act would be to repeal the so-called law “On Freedom of Religion.” According to Abazović, the law will not be repealed but will be amended in a manner agreeable to the Serbian Church.
The Law “On Freedom of Religion and Belief and the Legal Status of Religious Communities” was adopted on December 26, effectively giving the government the right to confiscate ancient sacred sites from the Serbian Church. The Orthodox faithful, clergy, hierarchs, and monastics immediately began taking to the streets in mass cross processions throughout the country that were held twice weekly for months, only stopping when pandemic health measures were put in place. The processions sometimes resulted in violence against the peaceful protesters. Hundreds of thousands of Orthodox faithful and concerned Montenegrin citizens participated in the processions.