Thursday, June 27, 2019

EP defends Serbian Church against Montenegrin separatism

Many people have contacted me over the last year believing that Ukraine was the first piece in a domino tumbling line of dissatisfied ecclesial bodies that wanted their own recognition separate from the Church they were under that would be scooped up by Constantinople. Churches all over the world would be weakened (so goes the theory) until the papal aims of the Phanar are realized. Montenegro has often been listed among likely candidates. It seems His All-Holiness (at least here) has no interest in raising the hackles of the Serbian Church. Glory to God.

(Romfea) - A letter to the President of Montenegro, Milo Đukanović, was sent by Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, referring to the intention of the first to create an Orthodox Church in Montenegro.

As pointed out in the letter, Patriarch Bartholomew expresses the Ecumenical Patriarchate’s concern about President Milo Đukanović’s intention to create an Orthodox Church in Montenegro.

He also expressed the concern about the ratification of a draft legislation regarding freedom of religion by the country’s government, which envisions the nationalization of all Orthodox Churches constructed prior to 1918, as well as of ecclesiastical property.

“This means that your nation is expropriating the churches and property of the Holy Metropolis of Montenegro, as well as of another three Eparchies of the Orthodox Church of Serbia,” the Ecumenical Patriarch noted in the letter.

He adds that the Ecumenical Patriarchate along with all the other Orthodox Churches recognize as the only canonical Orthodox jurisdiction in Montenegro that which lies within the jurisdiction of Metropolitan Amfilohije of Montenegro, a Hierach of the Church of Serbia.

“The Church of Montenegro has never been autocephalous, while today’s co-called ‘Orthodox Church of Montenegro’ under Miraš Dedeić does not belong to the Orthodox Church. Mr Dedeić is not a Bishop of the Orthodox Church, but a person defrocked by the Ecumenical Patriarchate. The sole canonical Hierarch there is our brother Metropolitan Amfilohije, who belongs to the Patriarchate of Serbia, which is recognized on a Pan-Orthodox level,” Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew points out.

He addresses a “message” to Milo Đukanović saying that the people of Montenegro are in danger of reaching “the point of ecclesiastical isolation and severance from the body of the entire communion the Orthodox Churches, inasmuch as no single Church among them will recognize or support tha anti-canonical fabrication of Dedeić.”

He repeats that a similar letter in 2000 reported the dangers that lurk for the “spiritual cohesion of the people of Montenegro, as entailed by the movement of the said Dedeić, and that you will wish to disassociate yourself from him for the sake of the unity of your people.”

Finally, he urges the President of Montenegro to consider this letter as “a desire on the part of our Mother Church in Constantinople to assist your pious people at a critical crossroads in history.”


  1. This is why the Serbian church plays both sides. They support the canonical church in Ukraine, which is good. But they want to remain on good terms with the EP because of such situations as described above.

  2. The EP, at one time, also recognized the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, under Metropolitan Onufry, as the only canonical Church in Ukraine and recognized as such by all the other Churches.

    His words mean nothing.

    1. Spot on Mikhail! This is merely an opening salvo. Classic misdirection. First identify a problem where there is none. Then agree with the Establishment. Then when things spin out of control go in for the kill. Because you have to.

  3. When is a Local Church considered august enough to be autocephalous? Are there any writings by the fathers on this topic?

  4. Autocephaly as practiced and understood today was unknown in the eay church, so only modern "Fathers" could be looked to. In modern times, autocephaly is really just Orthodox, ecclesiastical, national self-determination. Best choice would be to turn the Ecumenical Patriarchate into a sort of standing Stnod with representatives from all the local churches, the monasteries, seminaries, etc.

    1. This furthers my thesis that autocephaly is like national sovereignty: if you're big enough or important enough, then you just take it, and if enough people agree with you then it's yours. In other words, autocephaly is recognized, not given.

      Thus, it was easy for the large Russian diocese to take autocephaly when the Phanar was just a bankrupt ghetto in Istanbul. Montenegro, by contrast to Russia, is a large town and at any point in the future could be carved up among its three neighbors, and that would be the end of "Montenegrin Orthodoxy."

      The Phanar's situation is even more tragically comic: around 2,000 congregants, which is barely enough to support a viable priesthood much less a Patriarchal hierarchy. Would "Constantinople" even exist without the addition of the GOA in 1922? The gravest threat a sovereign can face is that nobody takes him seriously.

      Antioch has a similar problem, with no less than four bishops all claiming to be "Patriarch of Antioch," none of whom actually live in Antioch proper. But Antioch seems to punch above its weight, with the ardor of its congregants and lots of extremely savvy diplomacy.


    "Metropolitan Mihailo had worked as a professor for the Serbian Orthodox Church and then as a priest of the Greek Orthodox Church in Italy, where he uncanonically created a Serbian Orthodox Municipality out of the Greek Church, leading after a number of scandals, including adultery and accusations of embezzlement, to his permanent suspension from the Church in 1995. After becoming Metropolitan of the MOC in 1997, he was fully excommunicated by the Holy Synod of the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople from the Eastern Orthodox Church."