Europe

Montenegrin president OKs Law on Religious Freedoms

Draft legislation adopts Serbian churches as ‘state property’

Mustafa Talha Öztürk   | 29.12.2019
Montenegrin president OKs Law on Religious Freedoms

BELGRADE, Serbia

Montenegrin President Milo Djukanovic approved Saturday the Law on Religious Freedoms that is strongly opposed by the Serbian Orthodox Church and the opposition Democratic Front Party.

The draft legislation adopts Serbian churches as "state property."

Serbian Orthodox members protested the draft law that was prepared at Djukanovic’s request in June.

The bill envisions churches built in Montenegro after World War I and those built before the country became part of the Serbian, Croatian and Slovenian Kingdom would become state property.

Serbs opposed the bill, protesting in different cities and in front of the Montenegrin Embassy in Belgrade.

Twenty-two people were detained, including 18 lawmakers from the pro-Serbian opposition Democratic Front after chaos broke out in parliament Friday.

The Serbian Orthodox Church is the dominant religious organization in Montenegro as well as the Montenegrin Orthodox Church despite Montenegro's independence from Serbia.

Montenegro declared independence from Serbia on May 21, 2006 after a referendum.

According to 2017 census, more than 400,000 Orthodox make up 72% of Montenegro's 620,000 population.

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