Sputnik / Anton Denisov
VALAAM, Russia (Sputnik) – The Holy Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church has expressed its concerns about the situation in Montenegro where the authorities have been seeking to create the so-called autocephalous Orthodox church.
"The Holy Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church expresses profound concern over the worsening situation with the dioceses of the Serbian Patriarchate in the territory of Montenegro where during several years the unity of Orthodoxy has been suffering from the schismatic actions of the so-called Montenegrin Orthodox Church … We take the recent initiatives of the Montenegrin authorities with concern and call upon them to stop discrimination and frustration of the unity of the Serbian Orthodox Church. We raise our voice in [its] defence", the statement, published on Department for external church relations of the Moscow Patriarchate (DECR) on Tuesday, read.
In the statement, the Holy Synod specifically expressed its concern about the draft law on the freedom of religion and beliefs and legal status of religious communities, released by Montenegro's authorities last May.
The document entailed discriminatory measures, including the seizure of the Serbian Patriarchate's properties, such as buildings and monasteries by the government, the statement argued.
AFP 2019 / SAVO PRELEVICSerbian Orthodox Church (File)
According to the press release, the Holy Assembly of Bishops of the Serbian Orthodox Church (SOC) characterised this draft law as "anti-European" and representing a "direct interference into internal Church affairs".
In December, Montenegrin President Milo Dukanovic said that the country's leadership w