BELGRADE, June 18. /TASS/. President of Serbia Aleksandar Vucic asked Russia to protect the Orthodox Church on the Balkans, Vucic said during his joint press conference with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov in Belgrade.
"I asked Russia to protect the Orthodox Church, considering everything that is happening in Montenegro and the entire region," Vucic said.
The congregation of the Serbian Orthodox Church (SOC) conduct mass protests in Montenegro, Serbia and Bosnia and Herzegovina’s Republika Srpska against oppression of the SOC in Montenegro, where, on December 27, 2019, the parliament passed the controversial Freedom of Religion Law. The law was passed by 45 lawmakers out of 45 present after the police detained all opposition lawmakers. On December 28, President of Montenegro Milo Djukanovic signed the bill into law.
The president accused the SOC of an attempt to retain religious monopoly in the country. He claimed that he would seek autocephaly for the "church of Montenegro" similarly to that in Ukraine. The Freedom of Religion Law also includes confiscation of over 650 sanctuaries from the SOC to the state, including the Ostrog monastery, widely known in the Orthodox world.