Christians protesting a godless dictator who wants to destroy the Orthodox church
Montenegrin President Milo Djukanovic signed a bitterly contentious legislation on religion and faith into law that will allow Montenegro state to confiscate Orthodox churches. Djukanovic, who has ruled Montenegro for most of the nearly three decades has long sought to curb the influence of the Serbian Orthodox Church.
Full transcript below.
The troubled times has come to Montenegro.
This is the territory of the canonical Serbian Orthodox Church.
However, President Djukanovic, following the example of the Ukrainian oligarch -
- President Poroshenko
intended to build his own "pocket church"
thus breaking the centuries-old brotherly bond of Serbian-Montenegrin people.
On January 8th, Law on Freedom of Religion and Belief and the legal position of religious communities entered into force in Montenegro
which not only leads to a split within the country,
but also toward a confiscation / general redistribution of church property.
Daria Grigorovna reports how Orthodox believers have welcomed the holiday of Christ's birth in Montenegro
The branches of the young oak, the Christmas trees Badnjak, stand on fire with prayer
It is a symbol of a fire that was lit in a cave in which Jesus Christ was born.
It looks like a bright night on the Christmas Eve in the Balkans
but even on holidays, the thoughts and prayers of believers in Montenegro
are focused on the future of their Mother Church.
We fight with peaceful walks and peaceful protests against the law
and we will not betray our church and our Serbo-Russian fraternity.
WE WILL NOT GIVE OUR HOLY SHRINES - those words are on the posters today
and said by believers throughout the country.
There is only one true church in Montenegro - the Serbian Orthodox Church.
"Freedom of Religion" law has shocked Orthodox believers
since it nationalizes all temples and monasteries built before December 1, 1918.
There are more than 600 Orthodox temples on the territory of Montenegro
and 60 monasteries. Most of them will go from being Church property to state control according to the law.
It is essentially a law against Orthodoxy.
They do not recognize the Orthodox Church because it is called Serbian.
The soul of Orthodoxy in Montenegro is the Cetinje Monastery.
One of the greatest holy relics is in this casket
of the whole Christian world - the right hand of St. John the Baptist.
In a modest side room where relics of priceless value are stored
worshipers from all over the world come to worship the holy relics.
The right hand of St. John the Baptist arrived in Montenegro from Russia after the revolution
The right hand with a particle of the Holy Cross came to us from Russia
The Maltese Order presented them with gratitude to Emperor Paul I Romanov
The spiritual relationship with Russia is also strong here, Imperial martyrs icon is in the central temple of the monastery.
The Cetinje Brotherhood Archimandrite is traditionally the Metropolitan of Montenegro .
The town of Cetinje is also the old capital of Montenegro
and by the 19th century, it was a theocratic state they ruled
bishops, who at the same time had the title of princes and a church title
Their residence was precisely the Cetinje monastery.
This means that under the new law, the regime will want to take it over first.
The sound of the monastery bells is well heard in a house in the suburbs of Cetinje
where, according to the board in front, are HQ of an organization called "Montenegrin Orthodox Church".
The tenants of the house often look to the holy monastery.
"... about 500 meters. But it will be even shorter. Less, in no time."
The adopted Religious Law who will improve his living conditions, alluded to by Miras Dedeic,
In his office, there is a portrait of the Ukrainian schismatic Mikhail Denisenko: He is a wonderful man.
The state plans to hand over temples and monasteries to Dedejić's organization
confiscated from the Serbian Orthodox Church.
Today, Dedejić receives € 50,000 a year from the budget,
and the president of the country, Milo Djukanovic, publicly supports the so-called autocephalous church,
but it is not recognized by any of the 15 Orthodox churches, including the Patriarchate of Constantinople.
That is why Montenegrin "autocephalists" do not rule out even abandoning Orthodoxy.
For example, if you are not recognized by other Orthodox churches,
then you can move from Orthodoxy to another religion, like in Roman Catholic?
- Not only me, but any bishop also can...
There is no law
So does the Russian patriarch Kirill
He can say tomorrow: I don't want to be a Russian patriarch, I want to be in another church.
But, the self-proclaimed metropolitan speaks of politics most willingly.
What is your relationship with the president, Milo Djukanovic?
Well, I can say, that people say that he is the greatest politician in Europe"
Do you recognize Kosovo as an independent state?
Look ... The Montenegrin Orthodox Church is following in the footsteps of the state
I can't be against my state.
Currently, the so-called the autocephalous church has 11 priests
and how many believers there are, we can judge from this building in the city cemetery.
According to the banner, services are held once a week.
There are strange icons inside and also the strange wooden dragons on the iconostasis.
We can only assume what the Orthodox shrines will look like under the management of such a "church".
Trapped in the rock, at an altitude of 900 m above sea level,
Ostrog monastery is one of the most revered and most visited shrines in the Orthodox world,
and the founder of the monastery, St. Basil the Wonderworker of Ostrog
consider the patron saint of Orthodoxy in the Balkans.
He managed to preserve the Orthodox faith during the Turkish rule,
and believers hope that this particularly Serb revered saint will also now help to defend the Church.
According to attendance, this monastery is comparable to Golgotha, and the Temple of the Holy Sepulcher in Jerusalem.
The state (regime) is very much tempted to take this and other holy places for itself.
In general, is this a financial issue for the authorities?
It's for the authorities. You know, our government what it does...
during the communist era, there were many factories built-in Montenegro.
All that was destroyed. The only organism to regenerate and who has preserved his property is - the Church.
Now the property and temples should be taken away from the church.
Procession on the streets of Podgorica is a special prayer service
as support from the church and the faithful.
At the beginning of the procession, they bear the icon of Saint Basil Ostroski
Thousands of believers from the Serbian Orthodox Church participate in the processions.
Tens of thousands of people participate in the prayer service.
That's a lot of people for Montenegro.
In addition, parliamentary elections will be held in the country this year
and it is precisely with them that they link the emergence of a new law on religion.
This is essentially an attack on the Serbian people in Montenegro
which occurs in an election year.
In this way, this law is intended to preserve power.
President Djukanovic, although he has repeatedly confessed to being an atheist,
became the main initiator of the law that creates the church schism.
He took the country out of the federal state with Serbia
and set Montenegro on a Euro-Atlantic course.
Now the president has taken a stand for his own church.
Darija Grigorovna, Anton Cigajev and Vlad Radojicic, News of the Week from Montenegro.
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