BELGRADE – The Orthodox Church is not subjected to any state principles of organization and no state has the authority either to organize or reorganize the Church, ‘Blic’ was told at the Patriarchy in Belgrade in reaction to annoucements by the authorities in Montenegro ‘that only one Orthodox Church can exist’ in that country.
After many years of problems and attempts of depriving the Serbian Orthodox Church from its possession and property, the Serbian Orthodox Church (SPC) is contemplating as one of possible solutions to give to the Montenegrin Metropolitane the status of an Archiepiscopacy what means larger autonomy within the SPC.
Politicians in Montenegro have again opened the issue of the Serbian Orthodox Church. In the past they did it most usually ahead of elections. By verbal attacks on the SPC the authority in Montenegro tried to demonstrate its national consciousness.
Two days ago interfering in religious issues culminated when the leader of the ruling DPS Milo Djukanovic announced that his party program would include a religious goal of ‘uniting Orthodox Church’ in Montenegro. He also said that the idea ‘has support by Montenegrin Parliament and its Speaker Ranko Krivokapic’.
The stance of the Patriarchy in Belgrade is that the authorities in Montenegro are acting contrary to European principles of the church being separated from the state.
‘Montenegro wants to join the EU and the authorities there should be aware that it is not in its competence to deal with the Church and its organization. In Germany, Italy and everywhere else, the power is not dealing with organization of the Church’, ‘Blic’ was told at the Patriarchy.
One of the possible reactions by the SPC is giving to the Montenegrin Metropolitan the status of Archiepiscopacy. That would mean foundation of an autonomous church unit, independent in a way, but which is an integral part of the SPC. It would be registered in the territory of Montenegro.
Russian Church severely reacted to announcements from Podgorica. Its representative Nikolai Balashov says that the Orthodox Churches worldwide have no doubt that the so-called Montenegrin Orthodox Church (CPC) is schismatic organization.
Serbian Minister of Religions Srdjan Sreckovic reacted by saying that ‘the church life has to be completely separated from the secular one’ and that ‘the time when a state was deciding about a church has passed long time ago’.
Religious analysts claim that the idea of independent CPC is hardly possible. The example of the Macedonian church which in spite of time flow has not succeeded to get the status of an independent church speaks in favor of their claim.