PODGORICA — The Serbian Orthodox Church’s Cathedral of the Resurrection of Christ in Podgorica, the largest Orthodox church in Montenegro, was consecrated on Monday.
The ceremony took place in the presence of Orthodox church dignitaries, and was, according to Serbian Patriarch Irinej, the crown of the marking of the 1700th anniversary of the Edict of Milan.
The ceremony was attended by Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew,Patriarch Theophilos III of Jerusalem and Russian Patriarch Kirill.
Also present were Montenegrin President Filip Vujanović, Montenegrin Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Igor Lukšić, Republika Srpska President Milorad Dodik, representatives of other Christian churches and religious communities and all Montenegrin opposition parties, as well as a large number of citizens and believers from Montenegro and the region.
Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew called for respect of the canon and unity of the Orthodox Church in Montenegro, adding that nobody has the authority to set up new Orthodox churches in the area.
The church is not an association and the court cannot define its existence or status, as it was established by Christ and only his apostles and their successors can manage it, not just anyone who gathers a flock of supporters and dubs the organisation a church, Bartholomew said.
“It is unacceptable for a local church to declare itself an autocephalous church and this deserves to be condemned, Bartholomew said,” in clear reference to the canonically non-recognized Orthodox Church of Montenegro (CPC).
The consecration of the Cathedral of the Resurrection of Christ in Podgorica is an important day, not just for Serbia and its people but also for all Orthodoxy and Christianity, Patriarch Irinej said.
May the Cathedral restore all good and truth and may it guide us on the path of peace and unity, Irinej said.
Patriarch Kirill called for unity and preservation of Orthodoxy which, as he said, helped Montenegro persevere in difficult moments throughout history.
Montenegrin Prime Minister Milo Đukanović was absent from the ceremony “as he participated in the celebration of the Hall of Armed Forces of Montenegro,” it was announced, and added that he “would confer with the patriarchs of the Orthodox churches.”
The construction of the Cathedral of the Resurrection of Christ in Podgorica took two decades and the building covers 1,380 square metres and has seven dome crosses and 17 bells, one of which weighs 11 tons and is the biggest of the kind in the Balkans.