Cetinje, Montenegro, September 14, 2021
The unrest and riots surrounding the enthronement of Vladyka Joanikije as Metropolitan of Montenegro on September 5 were carried out largely by outsiders and even non-Christians, believes His Grace Bishop Stefan of Remesiana of the Serbian Orthodox Church.
In a recent interview with the Ukrainian outlet the First Cossack, Bp. Stefan noted that in reality, there were only a few hundred people involved, many of whom spoke poor Serbian. Therefore, he continued, it’s clear they were brought in from outside, probably from Albania. There were probably even many non-Christians involved, he noted.
The worst thing, he said, is that Montenegrin President Milo Đukanović took part in the anti-Orthodox demonstrations.
Đukanović is well-known for his anti-Serbian and anti-Orthodox stance. He vocally supports the numerically insignificant and schismatic “Montenegrin Orthodox Church” and has tried to seize properties from the Orthodox Church with state authority. However, his coalition lost the parliamentary elections for the first time in 30 years last summer, and the anti-Church law was largely amended to stop the persecution.
The riots were organized, the hierarch believes, by pro-Western forces who don’t like the Serbian Orthodox Church and the role it plays in uniting Serbs and Montenegrins.
“It’s hard to say that they’re nationalists, because they’re not from Montenegro, but from Albania and other countries. And, of course, under Western influence, which doesn’t benefit from the fact that the Serbian Church unites Serbian and Montenegro,” Bp. Stefan said.
Earlier, Deputy Prime Minister Dritan Abazović, published a video showing the security adviser to the President participating in the riots. He thus argued that the riots were instigated with the aim of returning the pro-Western communists to power.
But, in the end, Met. Joanikije was enthroned in Cetinje, after which he went to Holy Resurrection Cathedral to greet the thousands of faithfully who eagerly awaited him, as well as the visiting hierarchs of other Local Churches who were unable to participate in the enthronement due to the unrest.