By Yekaterina Filatova for UOJ
“Metropolitan” Mikhail Dedeic is convinced that without the church structure he leads with its “century-old property”, Montenegro would not be a full-fledged state.
The head of the Montenegrin schismatics, “Metropolitan” Mikhail Dedeic, called the law on religious freedom adopted by the Montenegrin authorities “a crucial historical turning point” and stated that the non-canonical “Montenegrin Orthodox Church” (MOC) would soon enjoy full recognition from Constantinople, Sputnik Srbiјa reports.
According to Dedeic, Montenegro cannot exist as a full-fledged state without a MOC with its “century-old property”.
“They (the Serbian Orthodox Church – Ed.) want to take into their own hands what we acquired until 1920 after the liberation from Turkey. It’s impossible. If churches and monasteries do not return to Montenegro and thus, to the Montenegrin Orthodox Church, then Montenegro will not exist as a state,” he said.
The hierarch added that recognition of the autocephaly of the MOC, which, according to him, “by its nature and unity of the state and the Church in the past has always been autocephalous and has been recognized by others to a large extent throughout history”, is now a “hot-button issue”.
Moreover, according to the publication, Dedeic expressed his conviction that the “Montenegrin Church” will soon receive the full recognition of the Patriarchate of Constantinople.
“Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople, whose priest I used to be, said that he would study the history of the Balkans and that other Orthodox Churches should be given autocephaly; this concerns the Montenegrin Orthodox Church and the Macedonian Orthodox Church,” he said.
In August 2019, Dedeic was notorious for having twice struck an elderly woman who stood in his way.
As reported by the UOJ, on the night of December 27, 2019, the Montenegrin parliament passed a majority vote on the Law on Freedom of Religion and Belief and the Legal Status of Religious Communities, which infringes on the rights of the Serbian Orthodox Church. The new law makes the state the owner of the main mass of church property, including land, buildings and even holy relics: it is more than 650 shrines of the SOC, including the Ostrog Monastery, widely known in the Orthodox world. The adoption of the anti-church law provoked large-scale protests across Montenegro, which have not ceased to this day.
Recall that the Holy Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church called the anti-church law adopted in Montenegro an act of supporting schism by weakening the canonical Church and attempt to humiliate it and make it subordinate to the state. Addressing the Local Churches, the Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church emphasized that what is happening today in Montenegro in relation to the Serbian Orthodox Church can affect tomorrow any of the Churches.