Eastern Orthodoxy in Montenegro

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Eastern Orthodox Christians in Montenegro, according to 2011 census

Eastern Orthodoxy in Montenegro refers to adherents, religious communities, institutions and organizations of Eastern Orthodox Christianity in Montenegro. It is the largest Christian denomination in the country. According to the latest census of 2011, 446,858 citizens of Montenegro (72.07%) registered as Eastern Orthodox Christians. The majority of Eastern Orthodox people in Montenegro are adherents of the Serbian Orthodox Church. A minor percentage supports the noncanonical and unrecognized Montenegrin Orthodox Church.[1][2][3]

Serbian Orthodox Church in Montenegro[edit]

Serbian Orthodox Monastery of Cetinje

Four eparchies (dioceses) of the Serbian Orthodox Church cover the territory of Montenegro, two of them being entirely within its borders, and two partially:

In 2006, the Bishops' Council of the Serbian Orthodox Church decided to form a regional Bishops' Council for Montenegro, consisted of bishops whose dioceses cover the territory of Montenegro. By the same decision, Metropolitan of Montenegro and the Littoral was appointed president of the regional Bishops' Council.[6]. The 17th-century Ostrog monastery is a religious landmark of Montenegro and the most popular pilgrimage site.[7]

Independent orthodox churches in Montenegro[edit]

Upper church of the Ostrog Monastery

In modern times, some independent groups and organizations emerged within the wider scope of Eastern Orthodoxy in Montenegro, challenging the traditional position of the canonical Serbian Orthodox Church in the country. Alternative religious movements are focused mainly on the creation of a separate and independent (autocephalous) Orthodox Church in Montenegro, receiving so far a limited support from the public.

Montenegrin Orthodox Church (1993)[edit]

In 1993, a group led by Antonije Abramović founded a separate religious organization, known as the Montenegrin Orthodox Church, receiving support from the Liberal Alliance of Montenegro, a minor political party that advocated the independence of Montenegro.[8] Antonije was proclaimed Metropolitan of Montenegro by his supporters, but his movement failed to gain any significant support. It remained unrecognized, and was labeled as noncanonical. In 1996, he was succeeded by Mihailo Dedeić who tried to reorganize MOC, hoping that state independence of Montenegro, achieved in 2006, would secure wider political support for his organization.[9] Those hopes were reinforced after the Moscow-Constantinople schism (2018), an event that caused great concerns among canonical Eastern Orthodox Churches.

Montenegrin Orthodox Church (2018)[edit]

In 2018, a group of priests of the Montenegrin Orthodox Church (MOC-1993) split and formed an independent organization, claiming to represent genuine traditions of Montenegrin Orthodoxy, and thus a new Montenegrin Orthodox Church (MOC-2018) was created,[10] led by Vladimir Lajović,[11] who became an archimandrite under the jurisdiction of the Orthodox Church of Italy (Italian: Chiesa Ortodossa d'Italia), also a noncanonical church body.[12] Creation of MOC-2018 presented a challenge for the MOC-1993, since the emergence of the new organization received significant public attention.[13]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

Sources[edit]

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