Montenegro was impeding the normal functioning of the Metropolinate of Montenegro and the Littoral (the Serbian Orthodox Church) in 2018
January 1, 2019 – Following the annual meeting of the priesthood, monks and nuns of the Metropolitanate of Montenegro and the Littoral (“the Metropolitanate”) with their Metropolitan father Amfilohije (“Metropolitan”), held at the end of December 2018, a public communique was issued. In the communique, the public has been informed of all relevant activities realized by the Metropolitanate in Montenegro and abroad in 2018.
However, a significant part of the communique is dedicated to the problems that the Metropolitanate was faced with in 2018 in Montenegro.
Namely, it was noticed that the trend of division among faithful people in Montenegro and a spirit, which goes against the feeling of brotherhood, was still present and nurtured in 2018. Furthermore, the question of the draft and adoption of the Law on the Legal Status of the Church and Religious Communities was frequently manipulated issue in 2018; some local media run an anti-church campaign, which started back in 1945 and is still ongoing. The Metropolitanate was particularly worried about the fact that the Ministry of Human and Minority Rights had almost completely terminated its communication with the Metropolitanate, despite it had been having the right, as a representative of the church, to participate in the procedure of drafting of the laws. Metropolitanate urged for Montenegro to adopt the law of the quality and validity, which would regulate the freedom of religion and legal status of the church and religious communities. On this occasion, the Metropolitanate expressed its readiness for the establishment of a civilized dialogue with the Government of Montenegro for the purpose of further preparation of the drafts of the law. Finally, the Metropolitanate noted few unlawful initiatives for confiscation of the church property.
However, the Metropolitanate expressed its deepest concern for the fact that the Montenegrin Ministry of Interior continued its behaviour from previous two years and did not prolong residence permits for more than seventy priests and their families, including their minor children, monks, and nuns. The Metropolitanate regards that there is no proper legal justification for such a behaviour of the Ministry of Interior, and invited it to act lawfully and regularly issue residence permits to the priests and other members of the Metropolitanate.