BANJA LUKA / Bosnia and Herzegovina/, November 21. /TASS/. The Western bloc is trying to break up the Orthodox Church just like it did when it ensured the disintegration of Yugoslavia, Serb member of the Presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina Milorad Dodik told TASS on Thursday.
He noted that the Serbian Orthodox Church in Montenegro was currently under attack.
"The church is one of our most important grassroots and national institutions. It unites us. I do not believe in the term ‘conspiracy theory’. I believe in conspiracies, and that a conspiracy against the church does exist. It emerged at the time of the collapse of the Ottoman Empire, when mighty Britain set its goal of diminishing Serb influence in the Balkans in order to prevent them from creating a monolithic state and having a strong country, which also implies a strong church. They were able to ensure Yugoslavia’s disintegration, and now they are trying to deal a blow to the church. We can see it regularly occurring in Montenegro, and earlier [that happened] in Macedonia, where they took everything from the Serbian Orthodox Church. That’s not to mention the Serbian Orthodox Church’s plight in Kosovo or the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina," he stressed.
At the same time, Dodik noted that he did not believe that the Serbian Orthodox Church and Orthodox Christianity in general could be destroyed. "I do believe that the church has the potential and stamina to withstand and cling to its mission of uniting the Serbs around St. Sava, because each Serb has a deeply rooted sense of belonging to the Orthodox world. You know that in the West there are designs aimed at bringing down Orthodox Christianity and crippling it. I am aware of all that, but I believe that things will not go as far as destroying the Orthodox Church," he emphasized.
Montenegro recklessly following Ukraine’s autocephaly path?
Montenegrin President Milo Djukanovic earlier accused the Serbian Orthodox Church of trying to maintain a religious monopoly in the country. He also said that he would seek autocephaly for the "Montenegrin church" based on Ukraine’s model. For his part, a Serbian Orthodox Church bishop, Metropolitan Amfilohije of Montenegro and the Littoral, noted, commenting on Djukanovic’s remarks, that the president was "trying to be the head of the church himself," adding that "this is the first time in history when an atheist is creating a church."
Montenegro’s cabinet is trying to push a law through the parliament on religious freedom in the country, providing for the seizure of church property from the Serbian Orthodox Church. The issue at hand is more than 650 holy sites, including the well-known Ostrog Monastery.
Due to that, Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic asked the Montenegrin government to consider the feasibility of such a law, which "will inevitably worsen good relations between Belgrade and Podgorica."
Podgorica, in turn, retorted that Montenegro was an independent state, adding that its government was shaping its legislative system independently and would not let anyone influence that process.