The Serbian Patriarch Irinej assessed that the position of the Church in Montenegro is worse than in the time of the Ottoman occupation and that the status of Serbs is the same just like during the time of the fascist creation - the Independent State of Croatia.
Commenting on the frequent negative messages of Montenegrin officials sent to the Montenegrin-Littoral Metropolitanate, and the threats that the Church property could be seized, Patriarch Irinej said that something like that is unimaginable in the 21st century.
- While I was reading about that question and problem, I saw that it is unimaginable in our times. If the Turks did that, or Ustashas at the time, that could be understood. But to do that in the time of peace and freedom, in the time of rule of law, that is absolutely unacceptable, not just for Europe, but for Asia as well - the patriarch said for "Dan".
- We want and our obligation as a church is to step forward and to protect the Metropolitanate. There were few words about that on convocation and we sent a note to the government of Montenegro and we hope that this lawlessness will stop because it doesn't make any sense. Metropolitanate wasn't created yesterday. It exists for hundreds of years, and what officially belongs to the church can't be taken away. If that situation arises, we will alarm the entire world. The church and the believers are defending the church, and the lawful logic doesn't allow that kind of behavior - the Patriarch Irinej said.
He is dissatisfied with the position and treatment of Serbs in Montenegro.
- I don't know very much, but I heard so, the position of Serbs in Montenegro is not good. Unfortunately! That is a single nation that is divided. Well done to Montenegro, they were independent even before and each Serb accepts and supports the existence of Montenegro as a state, but to create that kind of relationship towards the Serbs in Montenegro is unacceptable - the Patriarch said.
When asked if he could compare the position of Serbs in Montenegro today with some epoch, the Patriarch Irinej said that this reminds him of the time in Croatia during fascism.
- I would compare this with the position of Serbs in Croatia, in the time of Independent State of Croatia. Unfortunately, the position of Serbs in Croatia is no better today. Perhaps that hostility in Montenegro is not like that of Ustashas, but the hatred in the people exists. Those who don't want anything good for Serbia or Montenegro wish for that. There is an old truth "divide and conquer", and they are probably sticking to that principle. I hope that the people will be more conscious than those who lead them and that they will find a way to exist and to live together - the Patriarch said.
The patriarch considers that the sending of the Montenegro soldiers into the southern Serbian municipality is a nonsense. Montenegro to send soldiers on Kosovo to settle and calm down Serbs, and who knows what, that is crazy for common sense - Irinej concluded in the interview for Dan.
(Telegraf.co.uk / Tanjug)