The Montenegro’s Orthodox believers today Monday are celebrating Xmas Eve in a highly tense climate over a disagreement between the country’s rival churches that has also strained ties with their neighbours Serbia.
The two groups of rival worshippers were just a 100 metres apart from each other in the former royal capital of Cetinje for the ritual lighting of a yule log.
One of the group comes from the Serbian Orthodox Church (SPC), which is the country’s main religious body, while the other follows the smaller independent Montenegrin Orthodox Church, which is yet to be recognized globally.
There was heavy presence of police to prevent incidents as hundreds of believers were gathering peacefully for the ceremonies due later Monday, an AFP correspondent reported.
The controversial religious freedom law passed by parliament late December increased the decades-long tension between the two rival clergies.
It also touches on the sensitive issue of Montenegro’s national identity and its relationship with Serbia, with which it was tied for nearly 90 years as part of the former Yugoslavia.https://tatahfonewsarena.com/russia-banned-from-all-sporting-activities-for-four-years/
The new law entails religious communities to prove ownership of properties from before 1918 when Montenegro was absorbed into Serb-dominated Yugoslavia — in order to keep them.
The government says this is to reclaim what is rightfully Montenegrin property. The SPC has however denounce it as a state bid to steal hundreds of its churches and monasteries spread across valuable land.
President Milo Djukanovic — a strongman who has been in power for 3 decades was accused of using the law to boost the fortunes of the independent Montenegrin church, which saw a “renewal” in the 1990s.