Church vs State dispute brewing in Montenegro

epa08207001 Serbian Orthodox Church members in Montenegro take part in a protest rally in Podgorica, Montenegro, 09 February 2020. The Serbian Orthodox Church in Montenegro protest against a new law on religion, which the church has called a plot to rob it of its property. Montenegro's government proposed a new bill on religion requiring all religious communities, including Catholic and Orthodox churches, to register their immovable assets as state property. The law also states that religious communities can only retain their assets if they can produce evidence of the right to ownership, triggering allegations from the Serbian Church that the government plans to dispute its holdings. EPA-EFE/BORIS PEJOVIC

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Montenegro has been rocked by a conflict between the pro-European government and the Serbian Orthodox Church, which is protesting against a new law that makes it obligatory to register church properties.

Protesters fear that the State could confiscate Serbian Orthodox churches or cemeteries.

Euronews reports that the government of Montenegro rejects this interpretation of the new law. Andrija Mandic, one of the main pro-Serbian opposition leaders was reported saying by Euronews, that Serbs in Montenegro were being treated like second-class citizens.

There is a real problem, created by the authorities. Serbs are discriminated against when in comes to investment programs, discriminated by the national education programs, discrimated when it comes to job policy.”

“Being a Serb, you cannot get key positions in the State administrations, nor in the Army, nor in the police. Right now, on the top of that, we have an attack against our church. The government wants to give a last blow to our existence on these territories where we were living historically.”

Via Euronews 


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