A letter to the President of Montenegro, Milo Đukanović, was sent by Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, referring to the intention of the first to create an Orthodox Church in Montenegro.
As pointed out in the letter, Patriarch Bartholomew expresses the Ecumenical Patriarchate’s concern about President Milo Đukanović’s intention to create an Orthodox Church in Montenegro.
He also expressed the concern about the ratification of a draft legislation regarding freedom of religion by the country’s government, which envisions the nationalization of all Orthodox Churches constructed prior to 1918, as well as of ecclesiastical property.
“This means that your nation is expropriating the churches and property of the Holy Metropolis of Montenegro, as well as of another three Eparchies of the Orthodox Church of Serbia,” the Ecumenical Patriarch noted in the letter.
He adds that the Ecumenical Patriarchate along with all the other Orthodox Churches recognize as the only canonical Orthodox jurisdiction in Montenegro that which lies within the jurisdiction of Metropolitan Amfilohije of Montenegro, a Hierach of the Church of Serbia.
“The Church of Montenegro has never been autocephalous, while today’s co-called ‘Orthodox Church of Montenegro’ under Miraš Dedeić does not belong to the Orthodox Church. Mr Dedeić is not a Bishop of the Orthodox Church, but a person defrocked by the Ecumenical Patriarchate. The sole canonical Hierarch there is our brother Metropolitan Amfilohije, who belongs to the Patriarchate of Serbia, which is recognized on a Pan-Orthodox level,” Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew points out.
He addresses a “message” to Milo Đukanović saying that the people of Montenegro are in danger of reaching “the point of ecclesiastical isolation and severance from the body of the entire communion the Orthodox Churches, inasmuch as no single Church among them will recognize or support tha anti-canonical fabrication of Dedeić.”
He repeats that a similar letter in 2000 reported the dangers that lurk for the “spiritual cohesion of the people of Montenegro, as entailed by the movement of the said Dedeić, and that you will wish to disassociate yourself from him for the sake of the unity of your people.”
Finally, he urges the President of Montenegro to consider this letter as “a desire on the part of our Mother Church in Constantinople to assist your pious people at a critical crossroads in history.”