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The Legal Foundations of the Montenegrin Orthodox Church (MOC)
New Basic or Universal Coat of Arms of the MOC
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Introduction to Religions in Montenegro
Montenrgin Orthodox Church and Institution of 'Vladikat'
The Serbian Orthodox Church in Montenegro
Islam in Montenegro
Roman Catholics in Montenegro
The Legal Foundations of the Montenegrin Orthodox Church
The Montenegrin Orthodox Church after the WW2
Restoration of the Montenegrin Orthodox Church
The Saints of the Montenegrin Orthodox Church
Best Wishes from the Ecumenical Patriarch to the Head of Montenegrin Orthodox Church
All Known Prince Bishops (Vladikas) of the Montenrgin Orthodox Church
Holy Charter of Principality of Montenegro  The Legal and constitutional foundations of the Montenegrin Orthodox Church (MOC) are given by the renown scholar Valtazar Bogisic whereas canonical matters are formulated by the renown historian and orthodox canonist Dr Nikodin Milas. Bogisic’s ‘Anketa’ (Pravni obicaji u Crnoj Gori, CANU, 1984, p. 238) states: "The Montenegrin Orthodox Church is autocephalous and independent eparchy that has no other legal relations with other autocephalous churches except peace and love". Similarly Dr Nikodin Milas in his textbook Pravoslavno crkveno pravo (1890, Zadar, p. 137, 237) presents the catalogue called Sintagma listing all known orthodox churches of that time. In the Sintagma, whose printing was approved by the Patriarchy of Constatinople in(Athens 1855), the "Autocephalous Metropolis of Montenegro (Autokefalna Mitropolija Crnogorska)" is listed under number nine.

A Mitre - Present Given to Petar Petrovic II Njegos by the Russian TzarSome Serbian theologians and historians (i.e. Prof. P. Cupic) distinguish two periods in the history of autocephalous church in Montenegro: the first period encompasses the time prior to recognition of its independence by the Holy Synod of Russian Orthodox Church while the second period covers the time of full independence thereafter (Glasnik pravoslavne crkve u Kraljevini Srbiji – Organ arhijerejskog sabora, number 3 and 5, 1901). The great majority of scholars who wrote on the subject agreed that, "with the abolishment of the Patriarchy of Pec in 1766, Sava (Petrovic Njegos) proclaimed himself an independent Metropolitan and the MOC continued its independent activities leaned on the Russian Orthodox Church who recognized its autocephaly (during the time of Petar I Petrovic Njegos). The autocephaly (independence) of the MOC was also recognized by the Patriarchy of Constantinople soon after". This is, among numerous sources, also reiterated in the religious textbook of the Serbian Orthodox Church (SOC) ‘Istorija opste hriscanske i Srpske Pravoslavne Crkve’ written by Z.M.Marinkovic and J. Igumanovic in 1934, p. 130, and approved by the Holy Synod of Archpriests SOC and recommended by the Main Educational Board).

However, this classification fails to encapture the period between 1455 nad 1557, when Montenegro was a part of Macedonian Ohrid Archbishoprics. 

Thus, the Montenegrin Orthodox Church has been independent and autocephalous since 1603, and formally since 1766.

Mitrofan Ban, the last metropolitan of the Autocephalous Montenegrin Orthodox ChurchNo serious historian or orthodox theologian has failed to recognize the historical role of the MOC and its autocephalous character. The fact that MOC enjoyed considerable respect within family of the Christian churches could be seen from their mutual correspondence. Among numerous best wishes sent for various occasions to the Autocephalous Montenegrin Orthodox Church (AMOC) one can find the message from His Holiness Patriarch of Constantinople as well as best wishes from the Serbian Orthodox Church to ‘sister church in religion and nationality’ ("sestrinskom po vjeri i narodnosti").

The organization and the internal governance of the MOC is regulated by: 

  • Charter of the Holy Synod of the Principality of Montenegro from 1904,(see the image above) and
  • Law about parish clergy from August 31st 1909. 
In addition, as in other orthodox churches, legal sources for activities of the MOC were also the church's canons and the regulations of the Holy Ecumenical Synod and the teachings of the Holy Fathers.
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Montenet 1997
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