Montenegrin authorities form commission to negotiate with Church about new law on Church property
March 10, 2020.
Montenegrin Prime Minister Duško Marković has formed a team of experts to negotiate with the Montenegrin Metropolis of the Serbian Orthodox Church and other dioceses of the Serbian Church in Montenegro regarding the recently-passed scandalous law “On Freedom of Religion and Belief and the Legal Status of Religious Communities.”
The law gives the state the right and authority to seize Church properties if the Church cannot prove that it owned them prior to 1918, when the-then Kingdom of Montenegro joined the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes that preceded Yugoslavia.
The first working meeting of the “expert commission” and representatives of the Church is set to take place tomorrow, March 11, in the capital city of Podgorica, reports the official site of the Montenegrin government.
According to the announcement, His Eminence Metropolitan Amfilohije of Montenegro has been officially notified.
Several hierarchs previously met with PM Marković on February 14, resulting in a joint press release expressing the desire to continue talks at an expert level.
Meanwhile, according to the Serbian outlet B92, the government has already begun making legal claims against the famous Ostrog and Ždrebaonik Monasteries and other sites.
Hundreds of thousands of Orthodox faithful and others have joined in the protests taking place regularly throughout Montenegro since the law was passed in December. Interviewing protestors at a recent rally, RIA-Novosti learned that many believe the state wants to seize Church properties, especially along the Adriatic coast, that it can sell for top dollar to help bolster the state’s deteriorating economic situation.
According to the International Monetary Fund, Montenegro’s external debt is currently more than $8 billion, while its GDP is half of that.