“Dan” daily published the response of Metropolitan Amfilohije to the letter Prtime Minister, Mr Duško Marković, sent him on 28 January, in which he invites Mr Amfilohije to start dialogue on the Law on Freedom of Religion. Mr Amfolohije says the Metroplitanate of Montenegro and the Littoral is willing to meet with Mr Marković.
We received your letter from 28 January this year. Let me express my opinion regarding specific assertions you stated in Your letter.
You claim that adoption of the Law on Freedom of Religion will not cause divisions among the Orthodox people in Montenegro, and that’s so contrary to the reality. Starting from 27 December 2019 to this day, a great number of citizens, and not only orthodox citizens, have been opposing the spirit and notms of the new Law so patiently, peacefully and with dignity.
We can clearly witness that the Law deepened the old and created new divisions among brothers and neighbors.
If you take into account the statement made by the president of your party, that Orthodox religious processions are “a movement of lunatics”, then it’s clear how this Law painfully divided and tore Montenegro apart.
We disagree with your claim that “enactment has been harmonized with the contemporary European standards and received positive opinion from the Venice Commission”.
The objective of the Law claims otherwise.
By that I mean provisions negating and eliminating the many century-long historical continuity of legal subjectivity and property rights of our Church in the first place, and other religious communities.
Therefore, we can’t agree with your statement that the “law eliminates cultural, religious and civilizational limitation we’ve found”.
It’s as clear as a day that the Orthodox Church is endangered and shaken by means of the new law.
We’ve been expecting your call for dialogue on deep and essential problems caused by this law and finding solutions for it.
We have to remind you that our call for public and institutional dialogue has always been open, but you, unfortunately, ignored it
And now you are calling on us to start dialogue in order to conclude basic agreement on regulating of mutual relations, expressing your preparedness to “consider once again, together, the best possible solutions for the application of articles 62, 63 and 64.
We are sorry to say this, but you obviously refuse to see that the existing law and the non-existing agreement, is the cause of the current social problems.
For that reason, those serious problems cannot be solved and overcome by “joint consideration of the best solutions” for this unlawful law.
However, aware of the historical importance of the throne of Saint Peter Cetinjski and the responsibility we assumed from our predecessors, and since we are worried for the harmony, peace and unity of the orthodox people in Montenegro, respecting the Constitution of Montenegro, we agree to meet with you and hope that you are willing to finally start essential and human conversation aimed at eliminating the law and all the discriminatory provisions it contains.
If you are ready and willing to discuss the Law and its elimination, we are glad to inform you that in that case, bishop Joanikije and Atanasije and Dimitrije would be present during talks.
We expect you to suggest the term for the meeting.