Montenegrin Orthodox Church Asks Govt for Equality with Serbian Church

Montenegrin Orthodox Church liturgy in Podgorica. Photo: Montenegrin Orthodox Church

After Montenegrin Prime Minister Dritan Abazovic on Tuesday called for negotiations about the agreement with the Montenegrin Orthodox Church, Metropolitan Mihailo said that it must be treated the same as the Serbian Orthodox Church, the largest Orthodox community in the country.

"The Montenegrin Orthodox Church clerics and believers must be allowed to hold religious ceremonies in Orthodox churches and monasteries which are cultural heritage. They are the property of the state of Montenegro, not the Serbian Orthodox Church," Metropolitan Mihailo told the news website Standard.

Montenegro is preparing to sign a so-called 'fundamental agreement' with the Serbian Orthodox Church on Friday.

The agreement says the government is obliged to register all Orthodox churches and monasteries as belonging to the Serbian Orthodox Church, and must start restitution processes for church property that was nationalised or confiscated by the Communist authorities after World War Two.

It also says that the state cannot give permission to build Orthodox churches without the approval of the Serbian Orthodox Church.

But the government in Podgorica could face more problems after on June 27 it called on all religious communities in the country to negotiate similar agreements.

Montenegro has 32 registered religious communities. According to the Freedom of Religion Law, religious communities can be registered by at least three adults.

As well as the Serbian Orthodox Church, the Islamic Community and the Catholic Church, registered religious communities include the Jewish Community, Jehovah's Witnesses and the Adventist Church.

Also registered are the...

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