As expected, the issue of Montenegro has concerned again the Russian and Serbian leaders. During Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov’s official visit, President of Serbia Aleksandar Vučić asked for Moscow’s support.
“It is extremely important for us to take care of the Serbian Orthodox Church, whose survival is threatened in the region, and I have asked for Russia’s support,” said Aleksandar Vučić after the meeting held yesterday. The president of Serbia looks forward to Putin’s visit next fall, who will attend the inauguration of Cathedral of Saint Sava in Belgrade.
“I believe that President Putin’s presence at the inauguration of the magnificent St. Sava’s Cathedral will not only strengthen our cultural and religious ties but will also strengthen the position of the people, the country and the Serbian Orthodox Church,” he said.
The Balkan countries, and especially the post-Soviet states, have turned to the United States and the European Union, so what remains is the cohesion of the Orthodox, but this is not easy.
The Ukrainian autocephaly has whetted the appetite in Montenegro and Skopje, thus there is unrest. The Phanar does not wish to see a new Ukrainian autocephaly issue arising while the other Churches, including that of Greece, cannot intervene with the exception of Russia, which, however, serves as Putin’s long arm.
It is evident the Church in the Balkans is instrumentalized in a very dangerous way. And, it becomes even more dangerous as Turkey does not want to be left behind. Turkey provides support to Muslims and does not abandon the idea of a spectrum that will exert even more pressure on Greece.
The Balkans are like a pressure cooker about to explode in recent years in relation to church affairs. The question is whether the other Orthodox Churches want to play a role.