Serbian president and patriarch meet, discuss "Vatican model" idea

Source: B92

December 29, 2015


Belgrde-based Vecernje Novosti daily writes on Tuesday that the meeting was held amid preparations for the resumption of dialogue with Pristina.

According to the announcements coming from the Serbian negotiating team, the government intends to nominate precisely the question of the status of the Serbian Orthodox Church and its property in the southern province once the talks have resumed.

The SPC announced that the president and the patriarch discussed the problems of the Church and the people in Kosovo, "with special emphasis on the perspective that can be expected after the opening of chapter 35 in (accession) negotiations with the EU."

In his first platform on Kosovo three years ago Nikolic envisaged that the SPC should, within the essential autonomy of Kosovo and Metohija, have the same position that the Roman Catholic Church, i.e., the Vatican, has in relation to Italy.

Then SPC at the time "informally rejected this proposal, because there had been interpretations that the relation toward the Kosovo authorities could be interpreted as an announcement of a recognition of the province's independence." Instead, the Church "informally proposed international guarantees for its status and property in the province."

According to this article, "this proposal, unless it is changed" should be the platform for future talks in Brussels on the topic of the position of the SPC.

The Church at the time rejected "the Vatican model" believing that the example is not adequate when it comes to situation of the Diocese of Raska-Prizren in Kosovo, as "the Vatican, Italy and the city of Rome are not burdened by the past, national conflicts and religious differences that exist in the southern province."

For that reason the Church found the authority of the EU or the UN to be more acceptable, as "a pledge to define the status, the assets and the mission of the Church, without making direct contact with the authorities in Pristina and without concluding any kind of agreement."

According to the newspaper, when explaining "the Vatican model" as a solution, the president nowadays usually points out that it would not mean the SPC should have "the status of a state in Kosovo" - but instead that it should "present its stance and talk with Pristina, without depending on it."

The article also noted that the document regulating relations between Italy and the Holy See was signed in 1929 and is known as the Lateran Treaty. Italy recognized the sovereignty of the Holy See over the area of the Vatican City State, which became a separate subject of international law. The contract also regulates the position of the Catholic Church in Italy and a financial settlement regarding the claims of the Holy See for the loss of its property.



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