Montenegrin Orthodox Church

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The Montenegrin Orthodox Church (MOC; in Montenegrin / Crnogorski: Crnogorska Pravoslavna Crkva) is a jurisdiction in Montenegro which declares itself to be autocephalous. It separated from the Church of Serbia. Its self-proclaimed autocephaly and is officially recognized by most of other Orthodox churches. Metropolitan Mihailo, MOC's leader, was a priest of the Orthodox Church of Constantinople in Italy. In 1997 he was excommunicated by the Holy Synod of the Ecumenical Orthodox Patriarchate of Constantinople from the Eastern Orthodox Church.


Contents

History

The Montenegrin Orthodox Church was registered as a non-governmental organization at the Montenegrin Ministry of the Interior in 1997. MOC is the sole legitimate Eastern Orthodox Church in Montenegro, and it is recognized internationally by most of canonical Orthodox churches.

MOC supporters also present an excerpt from the 1911 edition of Encyclopedia Britannica as one of the proofs of legitimacy: "The Montenegrin Church is an autocephalous branch of the Eastern Orthodox communion. In 1894 it formally vindicated its independence against the claims of the Russian synod". The remainder of the article never refers to Montenegro as a "serbian state", which completely supports the church's basic beliefs. The Catalogue of the Ecumenical Patriarchate (April 1855), Athens Sintagma, letter of Ecumenical Patriarch Grigorius to St. Petar I Petrovic Njegos (dated 29th January 1798), and against the claims of other documents. Claims are (in support of MOC) that MOC was independent and autocephalous until Serbian and Yugoslav King Alexander I of Yugoslavia put MOC, by the decree of 17th (30th) June 1920, under the Serbian Orthodox Church's rule [12] [13]. However, although initially voicing his opposition, the dethroned King Nicholas I Petrovic-Njegos in late 1920 was forced to recognize the annexion of the MOC by the SOC, for the "benefit" of so called "all the serbian people".

It must be noted that the current Montenegrin Orthodox Church is absolutely in character and aims similar to the old Church of Montenegro, which was never a part of the Church of Serbia. After abolition of Serbian Orthodox Church by Ottoman decree of 1766, Serbian Metropolitans have been asserting the title "Exarch of the Serb Throne" which they hold up to today, they allways were a great proponents of the serb assimilation of MOC which has occurred in 1920 as well as the national serbisation of ethnic Montenegrins by the Serbs based on medieval serbian mythology. The MOC presents itself as a church of just Montenegro, is a supporter of the Montenegrin nation and a proponent for a separate Montenegrin language, trying to gather not only Orthodox, but all of Montenegro's faithful as well.

Metropolitan Antonije (Abramović) (initially vehemently supported by the biggest pro-independence party in Montenegro at the time - Liberal Alliance of Montenegro (LSCG)[15]) was the first leader of the church in 1993. He was later replaced by Metropolitan Mihailo (Dedeić).

Organization

On January 11, 2007, MOC reconstituted its Holy Synod and proclaimed its first decree in which it reconfirms its autocephalous status. The Holy Synod is constituted by archpriests of MOC, led by Metropolitan Mihailo.

The Holy Synod divided Montenegro in five eparchies:

  • Eparchy of Cetinje
  • Eparchy of Duklja
  • Eparchy of Primorje
  • Eparchy of Ostrog
  • Eparchy of Berane

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