“Our government is communist, they are the children of communism, and worse than the communists. Because their ideology intermingles the worst of communism and the worst of the West. It is essentially a fight against Orthodoxy that started in this area and is still ongoing after the NATO bombings.”
Those were the words of Metropolitan Amfilohije of Montenegro to describe the situation in his country lately, in an interview with orthodoxia.info and Andreas Loudaros.
The Metropolitan does not hide his disappointment at the conduct of his country’s government, and did not mince his words, denouncing any attempt to instrumentalize the Church on the part of the political groups.
“They are now a secularized state that has nothing to do with the Church (…) They want the Metropolitanate to serve their secular interests and to be cut off from the Patriarchate of Serbia. After communism and 1945, a new nationality emerged, the Montenegrin. They have devised the Montenegrin language as well, and they want the Church to conform to their plans, as has been the case in Skopje after World War II, when they created a non-existent Macedonian nation. This is also the case in Montenegro, they want the Church to be autocephalous because we have Montenegrin nationality, we speak the Montenegrin language and we live in an independent state.”
When asked whether he was satisfied with the support of the Ecumenical Patriarch on the issue of the Metropolitanate of Montenegro and the Littoral, Metropolitan Amfilohije is clear: “I am (satisfied) 100%, of course, with my friend, Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew. We both studied in Rome and we are friends, of course! He maintains very good relations with the Metropolitanate and the Church of Serbs in general. Not the Church of Serbia, because, we say Serbia, but the Church belongs to the Serbs. It is not Serbia. Serbia is now the state separately.”
“Ecumenical Patriarch is first among equals”
A special chapter in the discussion with the Metropolitan of Montenegro was the case of the schismatic Church in Skopje, the solution of the problem which the local authorities have called for the intervention of the Ecumenical Patriarch, who announced that he would call on all parties involved for dialogue at the Phanar.
Metropolitan Amfilohije seems to align himself with the Russian regarding the “primacy of honor” of the Ecumenical Patriarch, making it clear that he can do nothing on his own.
“The Ecumenical Patriarch can certainly provide assistance but not on his own. There is a theory developed by some in Constantinople, who claim that the Ecumenical Patriarch is primus sine paribus. I do not know who developed this theory. I think Elpidophoros is the one who said that thing. This has nothing to do with the Orthodoxy. He has responsibilities but he cannot interfere or intervene in the internal affairs of any local Church.