Cetinje, Montenegro, August 24, 2021
Anti-Serbian Montenegrin nationalist held a rally in Cetinje on Sunday against the upcoming enthronement of His Eminence Metropolitan Joanikije as the head of the Orthodox Metropolis of Montenegro.
The rally was attended by representatives of miniscule “Montenegrin Orthodox Church,” which is completely unrecognized in the Orthodox world, and representatives of Montenegrin national public organizations, reports danas.rs.
The protesters call the upcoming enthronement, scheduled for September 5, “a symbol of the consent to Montenegro’s occupation by the Serbian Orthodox Church.” The activists say they have no other homeland but Montenegro and they will never enter the “Serbian world.”
“We don’t forbid the Serbian Patriarch from elevating his representative in the objects that the Serbian Orthodox Church either built or received in Montenegro, but we don’t allow this act of occupation in the cathedra of St. Peter, the Cetinje Monastery, a symbol of Montenegrin spiritual, state, and national identity, and the freedom of Montenegro,” the protesters said, emphasizing that Montenegro can only survive as a European and Euro-Atlantic secular society.
Met. Joanikije, who was elected Metropolitan of Montenegro in May, was celebrating the Divine Liturgy at Cetinje Monastery as the nationalist-schismatics rallied. In his sermon he emphasized that he was born and raised in Montenegro and was even ordained in Cetinje 22 years ago:
This is where I started my ministry. I didn’t come to Montenegro from somewhere to “occupy” it... Some in Montenegro are worried about the Serbian Orthodox Church. It’s strange. I’ve never heard that the Serbs in Montenegro, and there are a lot of Serbs here, were concerned about the fact that the Metropolis is called Montenegrin. It’s a great honor for all of us, because we know the history and the role of St. Sava in it. I was lawfully ordained here—a legitimately elected bishop, legitimately appointed after the death of the Blessed Metropolitan Amfilohije as the administrator of the Metropolis and sent to Cetinje, legitimately elected by the Holy Synod of Bishops. Let our brothers say whatever they want, but just don’t lie.
And while a minority of the population views him as an “occupier,” His Eminence sees them as his brethren and his flock:
So they renounced me, but I, as a shepherd, as a metropolitan, as a man of the Gospel, cannot renounce them. These are my brothers. These are the people that God has entrusted to me and I think there is a lot of good in them. But how that came about and who did everything to make these people feel and think that way is another topic.
He also emphasized in his Sunday homily that he is ready to meet and discuss with anyone who has concerns about the activity of the Serbian Church in Montenegro.
Meanwhile, the protesters intend to hold another rally on the day of the enthronement, September 5.