Montenegro intends to expel more than 30 monks and priests of the Serbian Orthodox Church (SPC), Belgrade daily Vecernje Novosti writes.
Along with members of their families, this concerns about fifty citizens who work in that country.
The newspaper is reporting that under the guise of regulations on registration of residence, Podgorica is closing the door to Serbian citizens who, according to Montenegro’s laws, do not fulfill the conditions to live and perform religious services there.
SPC’s Metropolitanate of Montenegro and the Littoral say that all legal remedies have not been exhausted and that the battle for status is still ongoing.
Priest Velibor Dzomic told Vecernje Novosti that at the center of the new persecution are 30 monks, priests and members of their families who until this year had a properly regulated residence in Montenegro. But the Montenegrin Ministry of Internal Affairs decided not to extend this status to them.
“They have been forced to leave Montenegro until the end of the proceedings. Appeals have been lodged before the Administrative Court. In some cases they were rejected, while a part of the proceedings is still ongoing,” Dzomic explained.
The problem with the residence of SPC members who were not born in Montenegro was laid bare in 2011, when the state closed its gates to a group of about 80 monks, nuns, priests of the SPC, and members of their families.
Behind the regulations on permanent or temporary stay in Europe’s youngest country, permeates Montenegro’s official policy which, by demanding the re-registration of the Metropolitanate of Montenegro and the Littoral, does not accept the SPC as a full-fledged domestic religious community.
With the argument that in Montenegro, it was the Church that created the state, and is therefore naturally older that the state, the Metropolitanate has not been registered before the state organs to this day.