Montenegrin President Milo Đukanović said he expects the Ecumenical Patriarchate to recognize the independence of the Montenegrin Orthodox Church (CPC) because, as he said, everything else would be contrary to canon law.
In an interview with Television N1 he said that he would be surprised if the Ecumenical Patriarchate believes differently.
“It would be contrary to canon law, it would be contrary to the fundamental principle of ethnophiletism (church nationalism). As we lost the state in 1918, after that, no matter it was a violent act, logically, in 1920, they were left without us without a church either,” Đukanović said.
As he stated, in 2006 the circumstances were changed, and Montenegro is an independent state.
“In accordance with this principle I mentioned, the organization of the Orthodox Church follows the organization of the state,” Đukanović said.
He stressed that there is no talk about an attempt to take the property churches and monasteries of the Serbian Orthodox Church (SPC) in Montenegro and give it to the Montenegro Orthodox Church, with the passing of the new law.
“This is a terrible and brutal political manipulation,” Đukanović stressed.
He said that, according to our state archive of Montenegro, it is state property.
Đukanović said that according to the Montenegrin Constitution this property is inalienable.
“Which means that anyone who can provide valid documentation, to prove under what conditions, has legally reached the acquisition of property, which was until 1918 in the hands of the state, he would preserve that property,” he said.
He wants, as he said, to preserve what was taken from the state of Montenegro.
“For that reason, I told you, it is a terrible and brutal manipulation, where, by raising such dust, they are trying to conceal the crime that was, in the meantime, committed against the state of Montenegro, by taking away its valuable assets,” Đukanović added.
The Metropolitan of the Montenegrin Coastal Region (MCP), said that it is not against the adoption of a new law on freedom of religion, but it is against the unilateral activities of the Montenegrin authorities in that regard.
The MCP said that it was important that the President of Montenegro, Milo Đukanović and the Government conduct the broadest possible consultations with all relevant subjects on that act.
“The Metropolitan, as who knows how many times before, reiterate that it is not against the adoption of a new law, but it will be against the one-sided activities of the Montenegrin authorities on this issue,” says MCP in the press release.
The MCP stated that Đukanović knows that the law, as it is now, is directed against the Orthodox Church.
“He does not know and was not advised properly, so he repeated that the Church in Montenegro, mistakenly called the Montenegrin Orthodox Church (CPC), was never independent, nor was it abolished by the order of Aleksandar Karađorđević,” says MCP in response.
The MCP stated that the less precise conclusion Đukanović is drawing from, as they said, the alleged independence of the CPC – that her property was state-owned.
According to them, in Serbia, unlike Montenegro, there has been an Orthodox church from the end of the nineteenth century, which was independent from the 1879 Constantinople Patriarchate./ibna