Kidnappings, protests, hunger strike: Montenegro rebels for the faith

Похищения, протесты, голодовка: Черногория бунтует за веруSupport the Montenegrin Parliament of the law on religious associations resulted in the removal of the opposition forces with meetings, protests and arrests. The country’s largest Serbian Orthodox Church fears that the document, already signed by the President, will allow the authorities to take her property and transfer it to the self-proclaimed Montenegrin Orthodox Church. On how events develop, in the material “Газеты.Ru”.

The opposition Democratic front (DF) arrested in Montenegro after the Parliament in the night of Friday by a majority of votes of the ruling coalition approved the draft law “On freedom of conscience and religion and the legal status of religious communities”, declared a hunger strike. This became known from the broadcast on the party page at Facebook.

Members of Parliament Andria to Mandic and Milano Zogovic court on Friday appointed 72 hours of the arrest of another Deputy Milan Knežević — was questioned by the Prosecutor’s office.

“Mandic and Zogovic declared a hunger strike until, until you stop the bullying of the ruling Democratic party of socialists and the Prosecutor’s office,” said the evening before the building of Prosecutor’s office in Podgorica member of the Democratic front Nice Radunovic.

The result of the approval by the Assembly (Parliament) of the draft law on religious freedom began protests detention of citizens, MPs brawl in Parliament. This has caused deep concern in the country’s largest Montenegrin-coastal Metropolitanate of the Serbian Orthodox Church (SOC).

The opposition Democratic front tried to prevent the adoption of the project. The party has made more than 150 amendments, the Committee on human rights and the legislative Assembly Committee has reduced that number to 100. Debate in Parliament continued until late Thursday night. Then one of the leaders of DF Andrew Mandic proposed to postpone the discussion of the bill and vote on it. However, the Chairman of the Parliament Ivan Brajović refused.

“In the beginning of the meeting we said that today we will complete this discussion and vote. We held a thorough discussion on this and took the maximum allowed time — six hours talking about the bill and more”, — quotes the speaker of RIA “news”.

The deputies of DF was angered by the refusal, disputes led to a brawl with representatives of the parliamentary majority. The discussion was interrupted, members of the Democratic front was removed from the meeting, and later they were detained by the police. The initiative was adopted unanimously and the remaining 45 deputies, all of the proposed opposition amendments were rejected. A day later the law was signed by President Milo Djukanovic.

“After the abduction of the deputies of DF from the Assembly of Montenegro, the regime in an atmosphere of dictatorship to the applause of the approved law against the Serbian Orthodox Church (SOC),” said the leaders DF Facebook.

In parallel, in Podgorica was held a procession to the Parliament building, but the protesters blocked the road police. Against the bill were also expressed in Niksic and Budva — there residents blocked the road. About 20 people were detained.

The authors of the bill — members of the ruling Democratic party of socialists. The initiative was prepared and discussed for a long time — about five years, as explained by the Montenegrin authorities. Active debate around the government’s plans broke out in the spring and the discontent then showed SPTS. Thus began the confrontation between the Montenegrin authorities and the Serbian Orthodox Church. However, in the summer the bill received a positive assessment of the Venice Commission of the Council of Europe.

Under the bill, all the Church property belonging to the state until 1918, should be returned to the state. The exceptions are those facilities which the owner may present the relevant documents. The SOC believe that, therefore, the government will take the churches the churches.

“This bill specifically and intentionally discriminated against Montenegrin-coastal Metropolitan and Budimljansko-Nikshichsky diocese, and expected weaning and the Holy temples and the proclamation of the state property”, — reported in the statement adopted following the meeting of the Council of bishops of the SOC in may.

Soon we should expect the fierce debate over the ownership of Church lands and facilities, whose total cost is estimated at €1 billion At the end of the 20th century during the Balkan wars of the SOC managed to write in his possession a considerable share of Church property.

In the Church today believe that this initiative sets the stage for the establishment of Autocephalous Montenegrin Orthodox Church. Power, according to representatives of the SFC and want to take belonging to her temples to transfer their ownership of the new Church.

However, the government has repeatedly stressed that the transfer of ownership does not mean its weaning SPTS. The government has recently published in social networks a list of “five misconceptions about the bill.” In particular, the report stated that according to the law of 1888, the Church had no right to dispose of property without the permission of the state. The Cabinet of Ministers of Montenegro has also denied reports that because of the initiatives of SPC will fall into dependence on the authorities.

However, the grounds for the fears of the Church are, and they are quite weighty. Plans to create an Autocephalous Orthodox Church was declared by President of Montenegro Milo Djukanovic in the last year. In July, at the final stage debate of the bill, he issued a policy statement in the course of which spoke of the need to create independent SPTS Church.

“Autocephalous Orthodox Church in Montenegro has a history and tradition, so undeniable right of modern Montenegro to start the operation for its restoration, — said Djukanovic. — A clear strategy, the arguments on our side. But in the outcome I am confident that Montenegro, without a doubt, will have its own Autocephalous Orthodox Church.”

The Montenegrin Orthodox Church now has no official status and recognition of other churches. However, many residents consider themselves to be her members, that is one of the indicators of a split in society between Serbs and Montenegrins. The Djukanovic believes that to overcome this split, you can just create a single Orthodox Church in Montenegro.

“Our main motive is the attempt of reconciliation,” the President said, noting that he has in mind the establishment of the Montenegrin Orthodox Church to confront the SPTS.

As an example, will probably be taken the scenario of granting autocephaly of the Orthodox Church of Ukraine. Montenegro can join the Montenegrin and the Serbian Church by separating the latter from SPTS.

The government thus sees no reason to conflict with SPC.

“We in the government see no room for such conflict, and the adoption of the law we came up with the idea not to interfere, and to try to adopt a new law as part of the new legal system of Montenegro, which should replace the law of Yugoslavia 1976 or 1977”, — said Djukanovic earlier in the broadcast TV BN.

To avoid collisions, however, the parties failed. Metropolitan Amphilochius (Radovic) reported in April that the clergy of the Church and its parishioners suffer harassment from the government of Montenegro. 21 Dec Metropolitanate of Montenegro and the seaside SPC invited the faithful to participate in mass prayer gathering on December 21 in the town of Niksic to demand from the authorities to abandon their plans to adopt the bill.

And if in July the President of Montenegro stated that there were no grounds for conflict, this time, he spoke with great irritation.

“This is another and I hope last attempt to blackmail an independent and European Montenegro from greater Serbian nationalism… there is no room for compromise, everything is done according to the rules and procedures are followed to the end,” he pointed out.

In addition, the bill threatens to tension in relations between Serbia and Montenegro. In June, President of Serbia Alexander Vucic asked to Podgorica not to take the initiative.

“We think it’s a bad decision and my request, and I can’t demand how the President of another country, but as the President of another country who cares about the plight of the Serb people and who did not want to spoil relations with Montenegro, and to build good bilateral relations, asked the Montenegrin authorities not to approve such a decision, — said the President of Serbia. So this is my request to the authorities in Montenegro, if they want to hear it. If you don’t want, it’s their right and opportunity, we understand this and will be able in accordance with this act. I think that this solution is largely bad present a very decent and good relations of Serbia and Montenegro”.


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