by Mladan Aleksic
The President of Montenegro, Milo Djukanovic, congratulated the newly elected Serbian Patriarch Porfirije.
“I congratulate you on your election as the Archbishop of Pec, Metropolitan of Belgrade and Karlovci and Patriarch of Serbia.
We expect that you will be in the service of all Orthodox believers and that you will encourage multiethnic coexistence in our region, for the benefit of our peoples and states.
We especially hope that with your holy mission you will contribute to overcoming the schism among the Orthodox believers of Montenegro in accordance with the holy canons and the centuries-old tradition of the independence of the Church in our country,” is said in the letter.
The only canonical Orthodox Church in Montenegro is the Serbian Orthodox Church. The key leader of the SOC in Montenegro was Metropolitan Amfilohije who reposed in the Lord last October. Since then, Bishop Joanikije administers the vacant position of the metropolitanate.
The Orthodox Church of Montenegro is not recognized by any autocephalous Orthodox Church, yet tries to gain autocephalous status.
Montenegro’s president, Milo Djukanovic, last February in an interview for AFP said that Montenegro needs to have its own Orthodox Church in order to strengthen its national identity and oppose interference from Serbia.
However, as Orthodox Times reported earlier, the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew has said that the Phanar will never recognize an autocephalous Church in Montenegro.