Church of Serbia – 14/5/2020
The Holy Synod of Bishops of the Serbian Orthodox Church strongly condemns the latest persecution of the Serbian Orthodox Church in Montenegro and last night’s arrest of His Grace Bishop Joanikije of Budimlye-Niksic and seven priests by the Montenegrin authorities, that under the false pretext of fighting the coronavirus, have been utilizing the opportunity to confront the Serbian Orthodox Church and her faithful people.
The Holy Synod of Bishops calls upon the authorities in Montenegro to stop persecuting the Church and to finally start behaving in accordance with the norms of civilization, according to which free confession of faith is one of the most significant rights of every individual.
At the same time, the Holy Synod of Bishops expresses great concern over the aggravation of the situation in Montenegro and hopes that the Serbian people, as before, will act peacefully and will not respond to provocations by the then authorities that definitely want conflict so as to accuse the Orthodox Church and her believers.
It is clear to anyone who is reasonable and well-meaning that sobriety and prudence should be preserved in these moments, and above all, we should pray to God that peace prevails in Montenegro and that the innocent Bishop Joanikije and his priests be released from custody immediately.