Reaction of Serbian Orthodox Church against the accusations of the Montenegrin Minister of Foreign Affaires

May 4, 2015. The statement of Montenegrin Minister of Foreign Affairs Igor Lukšić, on the occasion of his discussions with the head of German diplomacy Frank Walter Steimayr – confirmed by the report by the Montenegro Embassy in Berlin which was disclosed – according to which “The Russian pressure on Montenegro is developed through many structures of the Serbian Orthodox Church, opposition to some NGOs”, caused many reactions in Montenegro, especially after the confirmation of its authenticity as Evening News and Orthodoxie.com report.

The Bishop of Nikšić-Budimlje Joannice told the Belgrade newspaper “Novosti” that such conduct and such statements are not those of a statesman. “This declaration degrades the image of Montenegro and discredits Mr. Lukšić as head of its diplomacy. It is shameful for a foreign minister to slander his people and the Church, which has the highest trust of the population of that state. Besides the fact that public money is spent on the lobbying and on the intense campaign, the feeling of the majority of the population remains firmly opposed to Montenegro’s entry into NATO”, said the bishop Joannice whom newspaper “Novosti” interviewed on the return from his visit of several days in Russia.

“Can we blame the Church to remember and commemorate in prayer innocent victims of its attacked people? We can not forget the crime done by the NATO against the innocent population, especially Murina [17 bombs were dropped on the village, killing including three children, ndt], also not the previous crimes and the terrible destruction of our Homeland during the two world wars by the states that are now members of the military union… To forget the innocent victims, cross the river of the innocent blood is what, obviously, our NATO propagandists are ready to do and for a utopia that can only lead to new misfortunes and new divisions in Montenegro”.

The bishop also mentioned that the relations of the Serbian and Russian Orthodox Churches traditionally were good. “We have always been closely linked to Russia and Russians in the first place by the common faith, but also on the basis of a common origin, tradition, writing, historical and cultural ties through the centuries. I think that no nation in the world has such a capacity for understanding us and share with us our joys and difficulties, to recognize and highly appreciate the values that we inherited, and for being so open to every aspect of fraternal collaboration in the highest mutual respect” has even said bishop Joannice. In St. Petersburg, he visited the archbishop of Ohrid John, who is recovering at the Novodevichy Monastery. “Glory to God, he endured imprisonment, being unjustly imprisoned; he witnessed the apostolic way in the word and in the deed of the holy Orthodox faith and fought for the unity of the Church. I hope that his sacrifice will be the foundation of the solution to the schism in Macedonia, which is greatly damaging, above all, for the people who live in a spiritual isolation. The Russian Orthodox Church has done everything for us to help ourselves and Archbishop John. He will soon return to Macedonia on his episcopal cathedra, to his people, and to his sacred ministry”, concluded the bishop Joannice. The Archbishop of Peterhof Ambrose, President of the Ecclesiastical Academy of St. Petersburg, honored him with the Medal of St John the Theologian.

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