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ORTHODOXY IN CRISIS: Serbia and Montenegro Fail to Find Common Position on Schismatic Church

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JERUSALEM, Occupied Palestine – Talks in Jerusalem have failed to make progress. Serbian President Alexander Vučić could not agree with his Montenegrin counterpart Milo Djukanovic on a common position on the situation around the Serbian Orthodox Church. Vučić announced this to the Serbian press on January 23rd after talks with Djukanovic in Jerusalem.

“We have been talking for a long time about the situation of the Serbian people and the recently adopted law on religious freedom in Montenegro and agreed that our positions are very removed and there is no way to reach a common position on these issues. At the same time, we talked as civilized and responsible people, aware that Serbia and Montenegro should not be opposed to each other and it is necessary to continue negotiations as soon as possible in order to reduce tension and find a solution, ” TASS quoted Vucic as saying, citing Serbian edition of Blitz.

Vučić added that he also discussed with the Montenegrin leader “the European path of Serbia and Montenegro and increased coordination in future speeches in front of European institutions”. The presidents of Serbia and Montenegro also intend to “continue the conversation about greater freedom and speed of movement of goods, people and services in the region.”

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Recall that the protests of Orthodox believers in Montenegro have not stopped since December 27, when the country’s parliament voted to adopt a law on religious freedom, which infringes on the interests of the Serbian Orthodox Church – the only canonical Orthodox church in Montenegro. The law entered into force on January 8th.

According to the document, the Serbian Orthodox Church must register in Montenegro as a non-governmental organization and prove its ownership in relation to the religious objects that are at its disposal. If she fails to document this right, the churches and monasteries of the Serbian Orthodox Church will become the property of the state. This will open the possibility for their transfer of the unrecognized schismatic “Montenegrin Orthodox Church”, which has existed since 1992 as a non-governmental organization.

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