LAST UPDATE 18:20
Metropolitan Amfilohije of Montenegro and the Littoral was interrogated at the Security Center in Podgorica on the Monday of June 22, 2020.
The Hierarch was interrogated by the Police as an alleged organizer of last night’s cross procession in Podgorica.
The Metropolitan gave a statement, and a statement from the prosecutor was awaited. The clergy and the faithful gathered in front of the Security Center were divided into smaller groups, because it was not allowed to gather more than 20 people in front of the Police building. At the last moment, after six hours of detention for an informative conversation, Metropolitan Amfilohije left the building of the Podgorica police.
Lawyers Bozidar Milonjic and Dragan Soc addressed a large number of gathered clergymen and fairhful as well as journalists. Lawyer Milonjic said that this was a too long hearing, as otherwise, it could be done urgently and economically, but that was not the intention of the prosecutor. – The Metropolitan was in the Security Center of Podgorica until the last minute, he explained everything and made it clear how the organization of prayers and procession went on, said Milonjic.
– I would like to draw your attention to the fact that the actions of the state prosecutor in this case were very unprofessional and incorrect. This should have been completed in an hour, said Milonjic, explaining that the prosecutor put one question every hour, then a supplementary question, and then coming back to the same question, with the aim of prolonging and buying time up to full six hours’ time! Lawyer Bozidar Milonjic emphasized that the prosecutor had showed his weakness with this matter, and not to talk about the fact that he had filed criminal charges against the Metropolitan.
– Be sure that there is no evidence here, there is no grounded suspicion, there is no basis for suspicion for this crime, and that is why there was a detention of up to six hours, said lawyer Milonjic.
When asked by the journalist what the questions he referred to and who the prosecutor was, Milonjic answered that the prosecutor in question was Nikola Boricic from Podgorica, and the questions related to the organization of the cross procession, security, organization of the guards, and the route of movement. – All the questions were exclusively concentrated on exhausting the time of six hours, concluded Milonjic.
Another defense counsel for the Metropolitan, lawyer Dragan Soc, said: “First of all, it is clear that this is one of the continuous moves to harass the clergy of the Orthodox Church in Montenegro”, emphasizing that the Government permanently exerts pressure and does not hesitate to take measures which are unworthy. Mr. Soc also underlined that holding Metropolitan Amfilohije, an 83-year-old man, for six hours long, without any reason, is much more than just unprofessional behavior. – This has to do either with stupidity of the prosecutor himself, or with the command given to him that he must finish it, said Soc.
– The public should know and will know that this is a matter of showing force in an inappropriate way, he pointed out and said that the state and the government did not gain anything with this, but only lost their reputation. He emphasized that the name of prosecutor Nikola Boricic would be found with the others who behaved unprofessionally as well. – Let the entire Montenegrin public know who agreed not to do that, said Soc and reminded, for example, that Bozo Vuksanovic did not want to persecute the then leadership of Montenegro under a political order, because he observed his professional conscience and preserved his honor.
Dragan Soc said that the police officers treated the Metropolitan correctly, with respect. – They behaved in the way they should, without violating dignity of the man when they interrogated him, Mr. Soc pointed out. – The Metropolitan endured this physical torture for six hours in a Christian way, said the lawyer and noted that, from the point of view of someone who was involved in politics, he believed that the state should not have dared this matter. – This is a shame for the government, lawyer Dragan Soc concluded.
Prosecutor Nikola Boricic filed criminal charges against Metropolitan Amfilohije on suspicion that he had committed criminal offense of failing to comply with health regulations to combat a dangerous infectious disease.
Cross procession in Podgorica, Montenegro: For Christ’s victory
After a procession that he had been leading through the streets of Podgorica on June 21, 2020, Metropolitan Amfilohije of Montenegro and the Littoral said: “The people have been assembled in peace, first of all, to glorify the name of God and to defend their shrines they had received by tradition from their ancestors, demanding that this government renounces the illegal part of the law on Churches and religious communities which has profaned the dignity of Montenegro, the dignity of the Parliament, the dignity of this people.”
The Metropolitan emphasized that those who are now in power “were not elected to use violence against the conscience of Montenegro, against the law and the Constitution, but to do justice, to respect and implement laws, not lawlessness.” “If they implement lawlessness, then who is so fool in Montenegro to vote for the one who declares lawlessness to be a law,” the Metropolitan noted.
As he said, Europe also demands the initiation of the dialogue between the Church and the state as well as a respect for religious rights in Montenegro.
“Europe has also noticed that there is no such respect. And America has noticed it as well. We stand for a dialogue, we show it constantly. But the dialogue is not for implementing some lawlessness, persistently insisting on that lawlessness and declaring someone as an enemy of the state for not accepting that lawlessness,” he said.
The cross procession was going from the Church of Christ’s Resurrection, next to the Old Government building, the Faculty of Law and the Faculty of Economics and Dalmatinska Street back to the Church.
Before the procession, a prayer of supplication (acathist) was officiated, and a message of Metropolitan Amfilohije was read, in which the procession participants were invited to comply with the health measures proposed by the Health Institute, and the State Prosecutor’s Office and Police Administration, as well as other competent bodies, to behave in accordance to the law before and after the procession.
Source: Serbian Orthodox Church