Serbian Patriarch Porfirije Continues to Fight for the Rights of the Serbian Orthodox Church and the Faithful People in Montenegro

Church of Serbia – 29/5/21

His Holiness Porfirije, the Serbian Patriarch, received Mr. Zdravko Krivokapic, President of the Government of the Republic of Montenegro at the Serbian Patriarchate today, on 27 May 2021.

The meeting was attended by members of the Holy Synod of Bishops: Metropolitan Hrizostom of Dabar-Bosnia, Bishop Jovan of Sumadija, as well as Bishop Joanikije of Budva-Niksic.

In the morning of the same day, the representatives of the Holy Synod of Bishops and the Government of the Republic of Montenegro fully harmonized the text of the Basic Agreement between the Serbian Orthodox Church and the state of Montenegro. Representatives of the Government from Podgorica then confirmed that Mr. Krivokapic would come to Belgrade in the afternoon to meet with His Holiness Porfirije, Serbian Patriarch, and solemnly sign the Fundamental Agreement. The same intention of Mr. Krivokapic was verbally confirmed to His Holiness Patriarch from the Cabinet of the Prime Minister of the Republic of Montenegro.

After several hours of delays and of informing the Primate of the Serbian Church about a number of completely different reasons for delaying his departure from Podgorica, Krivokapic arrived at the agreed meeting at around 9 pm. The Prime Minister of the Government in Podgorica presented new and previously unspoken reasons why he believes that the signing of the Agreement must be postponed.

His Holiness heard those reasons showing attention, great patience, but also an even greater surprise, unable to see in the least the merits and justification for Prime Minister Krivokapic’s intention not to sign the agreement, which was the only reason for his arrival to the Patriarchal Palace in Belgrade. His Holiness the Patriarch and the hierarchs who were present expressed great regret and concern for the future position of the Serbian Orthodox Church and its faithful people, considering that although the absolute majority of the people in Montenegro belong to it, Montenegrin state has not signed the agreement guaranteeing its legal position, and thus religious and civil rights of the people of St. Sava only with it, which is an act of open discrimination.

The Serbian Orthodox Church and its faithful people will not give up on defending their rights and their shrines in these circumstances.