Montenegrin gov’t to sign agreement with Serbian Orthodox Church

Podgorica, Montenegro, April 20, 2021

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The government of Montenegro will soon sign an agreement with the Serbian Orthodox Church, according to Prime Minister Zdravko Krivokapić.

“The government of Montenegro is ready to sign an agreement with the SOC. I have spoken about it with His Holiness Patriarch Porfirije of Serbia, and we will soon decide on the time to sign the treaty,” the PM wrote on Twitter on Sunday.

The Serbian Orthodox Church is by far the largest religious organization in the country. The government already signed agreements with the Catholic church and the Jewish and Islamic communities in 2012, but not with the Serbian Church, which it instead chose to persecute, attempting to seize its ancient holy sites.

The new Montenegrin government, which took power in December, quickly amended the previous government’s anti-Orthodox law to make all religious organizations equal in the eyes of the law. The new agreement will protect the rights of all believers and property belonging to the Serbian Church, reports Politika.

The text of the given agreement is to be published after signing, though there are those pushing for it to be published ahead of time.

“This issue mustn’t be the subject of politicization or intrigue aiming to earn any political dividends. If the SOC is pleased with it, then I don’t understand why some people who present themselves as its defenders are dissatisfied,” the PM added on Twitter.

A report on the site of the Montenegrin Metropolis of the Serbian Church calls on political leaders and the people to remain calm about the situation, and reminds that the text of the agreements with the Catholic, Jewish, and Islamic communities were not published until after signing.

PM Krivokapić led the opposition coalition that won a majority of seats against President Milo Đukanović’s party for the first time in 30 years in the summer elections. The first thing he did after learning of the election results was to go to church to thank God and receive the blessing of His Eminence Metropolitan Amfilohije.

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