PODGORICA (Tanjug) - The Cathedral of the Resurrection of Christ in Podgorica, the biggest Orthodox church in Montenegro, was consecrated on Monday in the presence of Orthodox church dignitaries to mark the celebration of the 1700th anniversary of the Edict of Milan.
The ceremony was attended by Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, Patriarch Irinej of the Serbian Orthodox Church, Patriarch Theophilos III of Jerusalem, and Patriarch Cyril of Moscow and all Rus'.
Also present were Montenegrin President Filip Vujanovic, Montenegrin Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Igor Luksic, Republika Srpska President Milorad Dodik, representatives of other Christian churches and religious communities and all Montenegrin opposition parties, as well as a large number of citizens and believers from Montenegro and the region.
Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew called for respect of the canon and unity of the Orthodox Church in Montenegro, adding that nobody has the authority to set up new Orthodox churches in the area.
The church is not an association and the court cannot define its existence or status, as it was established by Christ and only his apostles and their successors can manage it, not just anyone who gathers a flock of supporters and dubs the organisation a church, Bartholomew said.
It is unacceptable for a local church to declare itself an autocephalous church and this deserves to be condemned, Bartholomew said, thus sending a clear message to the canonically non-recognised Orthodox Church of Montenegro.
The consecration of the Cathedral of the Resurrection of Christ in Podgorica is an important day, not just for Serbia and its people but also for all Orthodoxy and Christianity, Patriarch Irinej said.
May the Cathedral restore all good and truth and may it guide us on the path of peace and unity, Irinej said.
Patriarch Cyril of Moscow and all Rus' called for unity and preservation of Orthodoxy which, as he said, helped Montenegro persevere in difficult moments throughout history.
Montenegrin Prime Minister Milo Djukanovic could not attend the consecration of the Cathedral of the Resurrection of Christ in Podgorica as he participated in the celebration of the Hall of Armed Forces of Montenegro, but he will confer with the patriarchs of the Orthodox churches.
The construction of the Cathedral of the Resurrection of Christ in Podgorica took two decades and the building covers 1,380 square metres and has 7 dome crosses and 17 bells, one of which weighs 11 tons and is the biggest of the kind in the Balkans.