Dispute Flares with Serbian Church over Montenegro Monastery

The Cetinje Monastery in the old royal capital of Montenegro. Photo: Shutterstock

"Although the Cetinje monastery was built by the residents of Cetinje, it has only been used by the Serbian Orthodox Church in Montenegro. For decades, it was forbidden to be used by the faithful and the clergy of the Montenegrin Orthodox Church, which is their constitutional right," the draft resolution says.

With origins going as far back in 1482, Cetinje Monastery is one of the main Orthodox sites in Montenegro, and is the seat of the Serbian Orthodox Church Metropolitanate of Montenegro and the Littoral.

The Serbian Orthodox Church owned the land and monastery before World War II, but the Yugoslav Communist regime then registered most of the land to the municipality of Cetinje. In 1972, the Yugoslav authorities registered the Church as the user of the land and monastery. However, after the Montenegrin authorities registered the land and monastery to the municipality in 2005, the Church appealed to the Administrative Court for return of ownership.

Ahead of the local council's debate on Tuesday, the Property Directorate pre-registered the monastery to the state of Montenegro at the government's request.

"Ownership of the Cetinje monastery and its land should be re-registered from the Cetinje municipality to the state of Montenegro. The Serbian Orthodox Church should continue to use monastery," said the government's request.

Serbian Orthodox Church is the largest religious community in Montenegro, while the Montenegrin Orthodox Church claims to be the successor to the autocephalous Orthodox Church that was suppressed in 1920 after Montenegro became part of the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes. Revived in the 1990s, it remains unrecognised by...

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