2020-09-07 10:37:00

Montenegro election results outcome of authorities' support of schismatics - Russian Orthodox Church

Moscow, September 7, Interfax - The results of the recent election in Montenegro, disappointing for incumbent President Milo Dukanovic, have become an outcome of pressure put on the canonical Church, Metropolian Hilarion, head of the Department for External Church Relations of the Russian Orthodox Church, said.

"Dukanovic has actually lost part of the support he has enjoyed for 30 years and I believe it is a direct outcome of the conflict with the canonical Church he started. Why did he do that? Perhaps, he wanted to score extra points in the election, but he lost them," the metropolitan said in the Church and the World program on the Rossiya 24 television channel.

The Russian church warned Dukanovic about such consequences, using the example of Pyotr Poroshenko, "who tried to score points by supporting members of the local schism to the detriment of the canonical Church in the very same fashion" and failed to get re-elected as the president of Ukraine as a result, he said.

The Montenegrin Orthodox Church, part of the Serbian Orthodox Church, is "the Montenegrin people's church," Metropolitan Hilarion said. The authorities tried to create the legal framework to deprive the canonical Church of its property to hand over its churches to schismatics afterwards.

"The people realized this. The Church came to the defense of its holy sites, mass church processions in Montenegro were held throughout summer. [...] Unfortunately, Dukanovic failed to heed the voice of his people, he went against his people and now he will reap the fruits of what he has done," the metropolitan said.

The Democratic Party of Socialists led by Dukanovic, running in the parliamentary election as part of the coalition "Decisively for Montenegro!" won 35.06% of votes, while the opposition coalition For the Future of Montenegro 32.55%. According to analysts, For the Future of Montenegro, based on the pro-Serbian Democratic Front, have more potential to successfully form a parliamentary coalition.

As reported, several months ago, Montenegro passed a bill aimed at nationalizing the church property primarily churches and monasteries. At the same time, promises to create "an autocephalous church" in the country involving members of the local schism were voiced. It sparked protests involving the majority of the Montenegrin population. The authorities started detaining and questioning bishops, members of the clergy, and laypersons affiliated with the canonic Church, and some of them had to leave the country in a hurry as the authorities demanded.