Serbian Orthodox Church Patriarch Porfirije has received Montenegrin Prime Minister Zdravko Krivokapic at the Belgrade Patriarchate court in Belgrade, the Church information service announced on May 28, adding that the meeting had been organized "to fully harmonize the text of the Fundamental Agreement between the Serbian Orthodox Church and the state of Montenegro, which ultimately did not happen."
"The prime minister of the government in Podgorica presented new and so far unspoken reasons why he believes the signing of the Agreement must be postponed," the announcement reads. Patriarch Porfirije, according to the information service, "listened to those reasons carefully, with great patience, but also with even greater surprise, not seeing in the least the justifiability of the Montenegrin prime minister's intention not to sign the Agreement, which had been the sole reason for his arrival at the Patriarchate court in Belgrade."
"His holiness the Patriarch and the arch-hierarchs present expressed great sadness and concern about the further position of the Serbian Orthodox Church and its faithful people, given that it is the only one with which - even though the absolute majority of the people in Montenegro belongs to it - the Agreement guaranteeing its legal position and thereby religious and civil rights has not been signed, and that is an act of open discrimination," says the announcement.
The Serbian Orthodox Church and its faithful people will not abandon the defense of their rights and their shrines even in these circumstances, the announcement concludes.
Krivokapic said earlier that he had come to Belgrade to convey two key messages to the members of the Synod, that it was the will of the Montenegrin people to appoint Bishop of Budimlja and Niksic Joanikije as the Metropolitan of Montenegro and the Littoral, and to sign the Fundamental Agreement between the Church and the state of Montenegro in Cetinje on Oct. 30, on the anniversary of the death of Metropolitan Amfilohije.