The Montenegrin Orthodox Church (MOC), largerly backed up by the current pro-Western government, is conducting a campaign against the country Serbian Orthodox Church, which comprises the majority of the population in Montenegro as well as Serbia, and the Republika Srpska entity of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
The MOC was created by Antonije Abramovic, a defrocked monk of the Serbian Orthodox Church, in 1993. Abramovic declared himself as the Metropolitan of Montenegro and the head of MOC. Abramovic claimed that his entity successes to the autocephalous Montenegrin Church, which operated until the unification of the two Serb countries Kingdom of Serbia and Kingdom of Montenegro, later to join the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes in 1918. The current head of the MOC is Miras Dedeic (Metropolitan Mihailo).
The MOC has relations with several non-canonical, unrecognized Orthodox Churches: the Ukrainian Orthodox Church – Kiev Patriarchate, the Bulgarian Alternative Orthodox Church, and its Italian-based branch, the Orthodox Church in Italy. Canonic Orthodox theological circles see the MOC as a schismatic group and a political fabrication.
In May, the MOC said that it had asked the Patriarchate of Constantinople to grant it an autocephaly like the one provided to the Ukrainian Orthodox Church – Kiev Patriarchate. Nonetheless, there has been no official decision on this issue by Constantinople.
The interesting fact is that the Montenegro schismatics declare interests similar to those of their Ukrainian colleagues. Claiming that the MOC is the sole legitimate representative of Orthodox Christianity in Montenegro, they seek to seize all Orthodox Christian property in Montenegro that is in the possession of the Serbian Orthodox Church. Time to time, MOC members and supporters tried to seize some of these structures. However, so far, they have failed.
In the framework of this campaign, the MOC is working to convince the government to adept a law seizing all structures and property of the Serbian Orthodox Church and to transfer them to “legal owner”. This activity is supported by an active media campaign by the MOC and its representatives. The MOC is actively contacting various pro-Western funds and influence groups in order to get their support in defeating the canonical Orthodox Christianity in the country.
Nonetheless, the Montenegro schiismatics appeared to be split themselves. The head of the the MOC’s Podgoritsa-Duklianska Diocese Lajovic (Lav) was expelled from the MOC after the conflict with Miras Dedeic. According to local experts, this conflict erupted because Lev Lajovic was openly seeking to become a new head of the MOC.
The problem is that Miras Dedeic withdrew from the MOC with all his supporters and even some controlled churches. He joined another non-canonical entity – the Orthodox Church in Italy – and became its representative in Montenegro as archimandrite Vladimir.
As in the case of Ukraine, the Washington establishment and the European bureaucracy are using the local schismatics and their attempts to gain additional financial resources as a tool to strengthen and expand own political and economic over the region. The religions factor is employed to split the religious community and neutralize the opposition of the canonical church to the “neo-liberal” project promoted by the Euro-Atlantic elites. By now, these efforts have achieved limited results only. The overwhelming majority (over 70%) of Montenegro’s Orthodox Christians stay with the Serbian Orthodox Church.
These developments in Montenegro are close to the situation with the Ukrainian Orthodox Church – Kiev Patriarchate. Both these entities pursue own business and political interests formally justifying them with religious factor and openly working with foreign powers.
The bad news for sponsors of Ukrainian and Montenegro schismatics are that both the MOC and the Ukrainian Orthodox Church – Kiev Patriarchate wallow in internal conflicts, which undermine their influence even within the existing small support base. Some link this with the psychological traits and general behavior of people forming new, non-canonical churches. This leads to their inability to develop these “churches” systematically and conduct normal church activities. Instead, they use the newly created entities ad a tool of business and political power struggle. Their “church activities” often look like a slapstick comedy show. The expansion of these non-canonical, Western-backed Orthodox-styled projects would lead to the discreditation of the church institutions and even the Orthodox Church.