President of Serbia intends to help Serbian Church in Montenegro
Serbian President Alexander Vučić will discuss the situation with the Primate of the Serbian Orthodox Church and determine how Belgrade can help the SOC in Montenegro.
On December 31, 2019, the head of the Serbian state announced his desire to help the Serbian Orthodox Church in Montenegro due to the adoption of the law on religious freedom by the parliament of that country. It is reported by the Eadaily publication.
President Alexander Vučić is going to discuss the church situation with Patriarch Irinej of Serbia to find out how the authorities can help the Serbian Church in Montenegro.
At the same time, Vučić stressed that Serbia will not interfere in the internal affairs of Montenegro.
“We can only respect the decision of this nation, respect Montenegro, but we also respect our nation. At the same time, I do my best not to spoil relations with Montenegro,” the president said on O2 television channel.
He also added that he intends to invite Patriarch Irinej to set up a commission of lawyers, which will decide what international organizations Belgrade can appeal to regarding the Montenegrin law on religious freedom.
“We will discuss how one can help our Church. I’m not good with metropolises and dioceses, for me there is only the Serbian Orthodox Church,” said Vučić.
As reported by the UOJ, on December 28, the President of Montenegro signed the law “On Freedom of Religion and Belief and the Legal Status of Religious Communities”, which threatens the property of the Serbian Orthodox Church, which caused a wave of protests from Montenegrin believers.
The Montenegrin police used force against protesters, among whom were representatives of the clergy and believers of the Serbian Orthodox Church; for example, during the protest rally on the Djurdzhevich Tara bridge, which is located at the crossroads between the cities of Mojkovac, Zabljak and Pljevlja, law enforcement officers brutally beat Bishop Methodije (Ostoich) of Diokleia, rector of the Cetinje Monastery, and several believers.
On the evening of December 31, 2019, in Montenegro in Nikšić on Freedom Square, more than 10,000 believers gathered for a prayer in defense of the Serbian Orthodox Church.