Reaction of the Orthodox Metropolitan of Montenegro and Littoral on the Montenegrin new draft law on freedom of religion
October 16, 2015. On 28th August 2015, the Government of Montenegro deposed on the European Commission for Democracy through law the draft law on freedom of religion. This draft law has the intention to restore the public property of all religious objects that were built prior to 1918. According to it: “Goods representing the cultural heritage of Montenegro, and on which the right of ownership or right to use is owned by a religious community shall not be sold or taken out of the state without the consent of the Government”.
The Government of Montenegro planned a public discussion on the draft until 14th September but it extended the deadline until 30th September in order to leave enough time for submitting suggestions, objections or proposals of all interested parties regarding the text of this regulation so it is in accordance with European standards and Montenegrin specifics, as the website cdm reports.
This draft caused the strong reaction of Metropolitan Amfilohije (Radović) and of the Serbian Patriarchate. As the official website of the Metropolitanate of Montenegro and Littoral reports, Bishop Amfilohije opposes to this draft because the Church is going to lose a great part of its property and it will be weakened. He also thinks that it will provoke many problems to other religions for the same reasons and he underlines that this practice belongs to totalitarian periods.
The Minister for Human and Minority Rights, Mr. Suad Numanović, said that the draft law on freedom of religion will not be withdrawn from procedure, just because the most influential religious community in Montenegro is not satisfied with it. He also said that Religious communities and the Church should not have a say in law-making, as the website cdm reports.
Minister of culture Mr. Pavle Goranovic said that the new law for freedom of religion will create an additional monitoring system of the country over the property that wasn’t sufficiently protected so far, as cdm reports.