As a result of numerous protests by Montenegrin people, the Synod of the Serbian Patriarchate called on yesterday the government authorities to take responsibility and reconsider their stance on religious freedom in Montenegro.
At a meeting in Belgrade chaired by Patriarch Irinej of Serbia with the participation of Metropolitans and Bishops from Montenegro, the Holy Synod of the Serbian Church pointed out that the new law was “unprecedentedly deepening the existing divisions and conflicts in Montenegrin society. The Holy Synod of Bishops calls on the government authorities of Montenegro to acknowledge their responsibility for the past and the future decisions and to reconsider their stance on the religious rights and freedoms of their citizens and of the dominant Church in Montenegro.”
Furthermore, the Holy Synod of the Patriarchate of Serbia expressed understanding for the justified upheaval caused by the adoption of the new law, which is “against the Orthodox Church of Montenegro”. Moreover, the Holy Synod expressed full support to “the peaceful Christian resistance” to the new Law on Freedom of Religions or Belief and the Legal Status of Religious Communities.
According to the communiqué published by the Serbian Patriarchate, the new law adopted by the Parliament “allows the holy shrines to be desecrated” and opposes “whoever was devoted to God and to the Church and not to any state or government.”
The Holy Synod of the Serbian Church further stated, “So far, it has been shown that people’s gatherings, as a result of this injustice, had an explicit ecclesiastical character, and it is, therefore, necessary to avoid any political intervention in the future.”
Finally, the Serbian Orthodox Church and its metropolises in Montenegro declared that they would “protect religious rights and freedoms” and that at the same time they would “call on all parties concerned to reopen a comprehensive dialogue on this very important and sensitive issue.”