The Serbian Orthodox Church maintains the infrastructure for the Greater Serbia through its four diocese in Montenegro – three of which span across our border, Montenegrin President Milo Djukanovic told N1's Amir Zukic, in an interview aired on Wednesday evening.
“The Serbian Orthodox Church continuously perceives the Montenegrin national identity as non-existent and thinks that Montenegrins do not exist as a nation, that there is no Montenegrin Orthodox Church, no Montenegrin identity, that independent Montenegro is a transitory creation and a result of some immature people's game, but all this will change in time. Their actions are the result of their basic principle – which is that states are transient and that the Church is older than everything else,” Djukanovic said for N1. “With their four dioceses, the Church is claiming the land for the Greater Serbia, thus emphasising its mission which is – when states make mistakes, and they perceive Montenegro as a mistake, the Church will, in time, fix that mistake.”
Speaking about the Serb member of Bosnia's tripartite Presidency and Bosnian-Serb leader, Milorad Dodik, who drew a map of Greater Serbia recently, which included parts Bosnia and Montenegro, Djukanovic said Dodik helped reaffirm the idea of the renewal of Montenegro's statehood, but that map drawing was a “foolish act.”
“I learned that Dodik protested against the insufficiently precise interpretation of that thought (map drawing). If Dodik's thought was interpreted correctly, then it is deeply confronted with Montenegro's national interests. Montenegro's position is that peace and stability are the oldest interest of everyone in the Balkans, and it can be preserved if we all nourish a multi-ethnic democracy in all our countries,” Djukanovic said.
However, he added he disliked Dodik's rhetoric.
“Not because it threatens Montenegro. I'm perfectly calm about that – nothing can threaten Montenegro, not even those maps, but I dislike it because it brings me back to the 90s.”
During the 90s of the previous century, the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia broke apart, which led wars in Slovenia, Croatia and Bosnia. Later, Kosovo's demand for independence led to another war, resulting in nearly a decade of war in the territory of former Yugoslavia.
The Montenegrin President then pointed out that actions of the official Belgrade and the Serbian Orthodox Church are wrong, and that Montenegro has always come up as a winner in such situations.
Asked if he expects the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople to recognise the Montenegrin Orthodox Church, he said:
“Of course I do, and I would be surprised if they decided otherwise. It would be contrary to the canonical law and fundamental principles of ethnophiletism. Just as we lost our state in 1918, our church in 1920, we regained it all in 2006 and Montenegro is now an independent country,” Djukanovic noted.
N1's Zukic mentioned that Montenegrin opposition parties said they would re-examine the country's legal status, seek the annulment of its NATO accession, and the annulment of Kosovo's recognition…
“The result of that policy is a continuous defeat. The public's answer is clear, and they (the parties) have been in opposition for the past 30 years. They will only continue to serve foreign countries. They are proud to serve Serbian and Russian interests against the interests of Montenegro,” Djukanovic concluded for N1.