6. Official (State-sponsored) Religion

In 1993, the Montenegrin Orthodox Church was re-established in Cetinje as separated from the Serbian Orthodox Church, under which jurisdiction the orthodox parishes of Montenegro have been during the Yugoslav time (since a royal decree in 1920). The Montenegrin Orthodox Church claims to be the sole legitimate Eastern Orthodox Church on the territory of Montenegro and also lays claim to many Serbian Orthodox churches, monasteries and chapels in Montenegro. It is, though, not canonically recognized, neither by the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople nor by other Orthodox churches (except of some obscure, self-proclaimed ones).Also in Montenegro itself, the presence of the Serb Orthodox Church is prevailing.

In 1997, the government registered the Montenegrin Orthodox Church as a NGO. In 2007, the church re-constituted its Holy Synod, which proclaimed its autocephalous status in its first decree. In the ongoing debate about the new Montenegrin Constitution, the status of the Montenegrin and Serbian Orthodox Churches in Montenegro is also discussed.

Apart from the unrecognized Montenegrin Orthodox Church, the other important church organizations in Montenegro are: Serbian Orthodox Church, Catholic Church, and Islamic Community. State and church are separated in Montenegro.[1]

 


[1] See article 11 of the present constitution on religion: “The Orthodox Church, Islamic religious community, the Roman Catholic Church and other faiths shall be separate from the state. All the faiths shall be deemed to be equal and free in the performance of their religious rites and affairs.“