Church of Serbia – 10/7/18
A group of twenty Albanians yesterday tried to stop Metropolitan Amfilohije of Montenegro and the Littoral to serve the Holy Liturgy with priests and the faithful on the foundations of the church of Saint John the Baptist at Svach near Ulcinj.
The group of twenty Albanians led by Haxhi Sulejmani, councilor of the Democratic Party – the Ulcinj’s ruling coalition, tried to stop Metropolitan Amfilohije of Montenegro and the Littoral to serve the Holy Liturgy with priests and believers on the foundations of the church of Saint John the Baptists at Svach in Ulcinj on the 8th of July 2018.
This group of disturbers tried to block access to the church, and their leader Sulejmani said that the Metropolitan, the clergy and the faithful “had come to conquer” and that he himself, as Albanian of Muslim faith, would not allow it because, as he said, the church did not belong to the Metropolitanate despite the fact that he did not know whom it belonged to; he only “knew” that it was not property of the Metropolitanate.
At the question of Metropolitan Amfilohije how was it that he as a Muslim interfered into the issues of the Church, he said that he was Albanian at the first place.
After some debate and protests of the faithful, the police arranged that the Metropolitan, clergy and faithful people might come to the church, but not enter the premises of the foundation of the church where the celebration of the Divine Liturgy was planned to take place. Due to that reason, His Eminence officiated the Liturgy in the immediate vicinity of the remains of the church of Saint John the Baptists at Svach.
While emphasizing that we celebrate Saint Jovan Vladimir every year, not just in Bar where a magnificent church dedicated to him was built, but also in the monastery of Saint Jovan in Sin Jon in Albania, where his holy relics are kept, the Metropolitan pointed out that all Orthodox believers gather at such Liturgies, no matter whether they feel themselves as Greeks, Albanians, Serbs….
“We are one Church with the Orthodox Church in Albania headed by Archbishop Anastasios, and this holy place has unified all those who have gathered here throughout centuries, and today it should unify all, not to divide any. That’s why I am today very grateful that we can, as well as in previous years, offer the Service to God in honour of Saint John the Baptist”, the Metropolitan said.