|"T.V. Weber & Alida Weber"
URGENT! Montenegro churches desecrated!
July 13, 2000
We have received an urgent appeal from Amphilochios, the Metropolitan
Archbishop of Montenegro, concerning attacks on Church property
Grace's letter is attached to these introductory notes by the Director
The Rockford Institute, Dr. Thomas Fleming:
I have met the Metropolitan several times both in Montenegro and
United States and formed a very favorable impression of a man who
once a brilliant theologian and a devoted servant of Christ.
In reading this appeal, please keep in mind several important points.
1. The Metropolitanate is the only legal, historical and canonical
"Orthodox Church" in Montenegro. There is no rival group
with any legal or
2. Montenegrins are Serbs as much as people in Shropshire are English.
Because the Metropolitanate of Montenegro is an integral part of
Serbian Orthodox Church, it is now at the receiving end of a persecution
orchestrated for purely political purposes by the Djukanovic "pro-Western"
government in its tug of war with the government in Belgrade.
3. The so-called "Montenegrin Orthodox Church" is a purely political
construct, not an authentic church or any kind of genuinely religious
organization. It is led by a defrocked monk who has been excommunicated
anathemized by the Ecumenical Patriarch in Constantinople (under
jurisdiction he used to be). It has no canonically recognized clergy
most of its "faithful" are political activists who support Montenegro's
separation from Yugoslavia. Most of them are either former
even traditional non-Christians (Muslims and Albanians);
4. The kind of persecution to which the Metropolitanate is now subjected
would be front-page news if the victim was any OTHER group but
Orthodox Christians. Imagine what would happen if a group
activists, atheists, and Buddhists started taking over Catholic
Illinois or Episcopalian parishes in Virginia. When whole
have--by overwhelming majorities--tried to secede from the Episcopal
Church--American courts have always upheld the bishops in reasserting
ownership and control over dissident parishes.
5. The anti-Orthodox bigotry is attested to by the indifference
hostility) of Western NGOs, journalists, and other representatives
Montenegro, and by international bodies who have so far failed
to these outrages.
6. The Metropolitanate has been in the forefront of the struggle
democratization of Yugoslavia; it has repeatedly condemned Milosevic,
it has quietly and disretely (as befits the Church) supported Djukanovic
elections and in his previous showdowns with the Milosevic government.
Djukanovic's cynical betrayal of his Orthodox supporters is all
foolish in that it divides the Montenegrin people at a critical
7. Canon law apart, the seizure of the church's property is also
violation of the rule of law and of the rights of private property
tolerating this misbehavior on the part of the Djukanovic establishment,
the United States and its allies will only convince the Serbs in
that they have no choice but to resist separation by force.
Serbs have no love for Milosevic, but in spite of their hatred
for him and
his regime, they will refuse to be bullied into a fake independence
divides them from their cousins to the East. Of all the mistakes
American administrations in the Balkans--and they are too numerous
count, much less mention--an intrusion into Montengro (accompanied
persecution of the Orthodox church in Montenegro) would be the
disastrous Balkans blunder of the century.
In the days to come we hope to rally faithful Christians and all
uphold the rule of law and the right of private property in support
Metropolitanate of Montenegro. Their struggle is the struggle
people who revere the name of Christ and respect property.
* * *
ORGANIZED CAMPAIGN AGAINST THE ORTHODOX METROPOLITANATE OF MONTENEGRO
Statement by the Orthodox Metropolitanate of Montenegro and the
Monday 10th of July, 2000
With much regret and grave concern we are informing the public that
of people falsely presenting themselves as Orthodox clergy, together
their followers, among whom were well known atheists and "old style"
persecutors, on Sunday 9th July illegally broke into and desecrated
church owned by the Orthodox Metropolitanate of Montenegro and
in Njegusi, thus trampling under foot elementary religious, human
Our Metropolitanate informed in advance the President of Montenegro
Djukanovic, President of the Montenegrin Government Mr. Vujanovic,
President of the Montenegrin parliament Mr. Marovic and Minister
Police Mr. Maras of the previously announced and planed intention
into this church, asking them to protect our property and legally
guaranteed rights of the Orthodox church. Since we have been assured
highest level that Montenegrin police would fulfill their lawful
prevent the illegal breaking into the church, as well as the endangering
and misuse of the church property, the official representatives
orthodox faithful of our Metropolitanate decided to abandon the
personally protect their property, with a view to avoiding the
its possible tragic consequences.
Unfortunately, Montenegrin police not only failed entirely to fulfill
legal duty, but also have openly helped the hooligans and consciously
lawlessness unleash. One of the policemen personally took part
appeared to be the lynching of an independent, internationally
freelance photographer, Mr. Ciric, destroying the film in his camera,
Mr. Ciric was being severely beaten up by the delinquents and his
smashed to pieces. Complicity of a similar kind was also obvious
of days earlier when one of the thugs threatened hierodeacon Jefrem
Dabanovic that he will "cut his head off with a shovel", and the
present at the scene (Mr. Milasevic) added: "with a sword, why
Taking into account yesterday's and other earlier incidents we see
some people display unprecedented, poisonous and chauvinist hatred,
full presence of the "official keepers of the law and order", towards
people who declare themselves as members of the Serbian nation
particular. This type of hypocritical behavior with regards to
Metropolitanate by the official governmental institutions, which
recently repeated several times only confirms that this government's
institutions are directly or indirectly becoming an accomplice
in the job
of stamping on and suppressing the elementary religious and human
and endangering, plundering and stealing the property of
Metropolitanate of Montenegro and the Littoral. Only in lawless
without independent courts of law, it is possible that a group
who falsely proclaim themselves to be something that they are not,
any court rulings or decisions, can be allowed to persistently
extort and unduly claim property which legally belongs to someone
Recent developments and the attitude of the regime towards the
Metropolitanate of Montenegro and the Littoral, more and more looks
continuation of the repression which started during the World War
after, when Metropolitan of Montenegro and the Littoral Joanikije
killed (1945) with over a hundred orthodox priests, the church
confiscated and never returned back, innocent Metropolitan of Montenegro
Arsenije imprisoned (1954), the only public demonstrations in this
held in front of Cetinje Monastery (organized by the regime) against
honorable Metropolitan Danilo (1971) just because he opposed the
destruction of the Church dedicated to St. Petar of Cetinje at
the top of
Lovcen mountain. In the recent years as we expected the true democratic
changes and the emergence of the new type of state ruled by law
the modern European democratic states, we have to express our grave
concerns with regards to the fact that Montenegro is on the brink
becoming a lawless country, which the above mentioned incidents
similar ones sadly confirm. The time of "transition" and "privatization"
being used in an opportunistic way and we are witnessing the "
style", overnight sprouting of various businessmen and millionaires
thriving on the misery of 'simple folks'.
Through their infantile and short-sighted political maneuvering
government institutions are directly warming up the old animosities
divides and making new ones; in the name of Montenegro and its
future they are either trampling under foot or sidetracking the
state-forming, national and spiritual heritage embodied in the
bearing" Petrovic family and ages long efforts and longings of
who are now finding themselves in the position to "sell their faith
single dinner, and their face and their souls for 'euros' ".
Having in mind all of these and our responsibility for the
Montenegro, the Orthodox Church and our people, we feel that it
is our duty
to appeal to domestic and international public, as well as the
international institutions for the protection of human rights,
to help us
protect the endangered elementary religious, human and property
the Orthodox Metropolitanate of Montenegro and the Littoral.
At the same time we are appealing to the clergy, monastics and the
of our Metropolitanate and our Church to step up their prayers
love and brotherly unity in our Montenegro, among our people and
Still not having lost confidence that state institutions will
stop the new
lawlessness, and especially the unprecedented methods and lawlessness
against the Orthodox church, we appeal to the current regime to
deed and not only verbally that Montenegro really is a state ruled
and that it wants to be such a state. If the justice and the rights
being trampled upon through such behavior of the regime in power
the Metropolitanate which is and has always been the 'spinal cord'
Montenegro, what are we to expect in other domains of personal
life?! Lawlessness does not lead to Europe, and even less it leads
society of honorable citizens; it rather strikes one out of company
decent men and out of history of civilized nations.
Placing our hopes in the mercy of God and the protection of St.
Cetinje and relying on God's and his (St. Petar's) truth " that
Name are judgement and justice", we appeal upon all the faithful,
people of good disposition to strive for peace, patience and perseverance
in goodness and justice. We are also inviting all Orthodox clergy
faithful to gather in front of Cetinje monastery for annual celebration
the feast of St. Peter and Paul, invoking upon all the blessing
Father, loving kindness of the Son, together with the communion
of the Holy
ORTHODOX METROPOLITAN OF MONTENEGRO AND THE LITTORAL, AND THE EXARCHOS
THE HOLY PATRIARCHAL THRONE OF PEC
His Grace Amfilohije