Schism In Montenegro Orthodox Church Repeats Split Seen In Ukraine - ROCOR


Schism in Montenegro Orthodox Church Repeats Split Seen in Ukraine - ROCOR

WASHINGTON (UrduPoint News / Sputnik - 28th December, 2019) The schism in the Orthodox church in Montenegro is a repetition of events that led to the division and the granting of autocephaly to a non-canonical religious organization in Ukraine, Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia (ROCOR) Synod of Bishops Chancellor Serafim Gan told Sputnik.

On Friday, the Montenegrin parliament adopted a controversial religious bill proposed by the ruling Democratic Party of Socialists of Montenegro. The bill proposes turning all religious buildings owned by the Kingdom of Montenegro - before it was incorporated into the Kingdom of Yugoslavia in 1918 - public property.

The Serbian Orthodox Church said it fears its assets in Montenegro can be seized and given to the Montenegrin Orthodox Church, which is unrecognized by other Orthodox institutions. Opposition Democratic Front lawmakers clashed with representatives of the ruling majority during the tabling of the bill and were pulled out of Parliament by police.

"It appears that recent events in Ukraine, where the previous authorities and Constantinople Patriarchate legalized the schism, are currently repeated in Montenegro," father Serapfim said on Friday.

On January 6, Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople handed over a tomos of autocephaly - a document that grants Orthodox churches autonomy - to the newly established Ukrainian Orthodox Church.

The Russian Orthodox Church, along with the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate, refused to recognize the new church in Ukraine and Constantinople Patriarchate's decision to grant it autocephaly.

Father Serafim said ROCOR is "deeply saddened" regarding the recent events in Montenegro, particularly the physical assault against Bishop Mefodii (Ostojic) and Orthodox believers by police.

He noted that the Montenegrin Orthodox Church is a schismatic organization that has not been recognized in the Orthodox world and has no communion with local churches.

"This schism has no good or canonical basis," father Serafim said. "Schismatics should confess and achieve reconciliation with the Serbian Orthodox Church."

Father Serafim also said that no one external power has the right to interfere in church issues.

"It is better to avoid playing such games with Christ faith and believers' souls. Schismatics should start with confession before the Church and ceasing all political intrigues," he said.

For years, Montenegro, as the Diocese of Montenegro and the Littoral, has been a part of the Serbian Orthodox Church. In recent years, the US-supported government of Montenegro has been supporting the Montenegrin Orthodox Church, which proclaimed itself autocephalous in 1993, saying that the Serbian Orthodox Church undermined the country's independence.