Reaction Relating to the Media Coverage of Bishop Joanikije’s Statement

Church of Serbia – 23/12/2020

Some media presented the statement of the Bishop Joanikije of Budimlje-Niksic quite incorrectly and maliciously so that the public could conclude based on their information that he had said that the Serbian Orthodox Church had made changes to the law, which is not true.

Bishop Joanikije clearly stated that the Church, in other circumstances, would demand that this discriminatory law be completely abolished. However, the Orthodox Church requested the previous government as well for only those changes that would make it impossible to discriminate it, and consequently, it did not request anything else from these authorities either.

In addition, the Bishop made it clear that the process of change had been viewed “from all the sides” and that lawyers had been left to do their job. Therefore, the competent state authorities presented the proposed changes to the Church, as well as to other religious communities, and the lawyers from the Church considered the issue and concluded that the changes were done in a good way, given all the circumstances.

We repeat: the Church, as a way of a compromise, and not as an ideal solution, accepted the changes instead of drafting a new law. It was not unknown what the Church presented as its minimum requirements – even to the former Government: recognition of the existing legal subjectivity and abandonment of an illegal attempt of new nationalization of Church property. With these changes, thanks be to God, these requirements have been provided.

Metropolitanate of Montenegro and the Littoral

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