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The Political Dynamics of Intra-Orthodox Conflict in Montenegro

  • Kenneth Morrison
  • Nebojša Čagorović
Part of the Palgrave Studies in Religion, Politics, and Policy book series (PSRPP)

Abstract

Orthodox churches in central, eastern, and Southeastern Europe have been intimately connected with the region’s dominant post-communist ideology (nationalism), and have actively engaged in national politics.1 The key to this politicoreligious character is the structural organization of Orthodox churches, which render it possible that a “national” church with specific national characteristics can develop with relative autonomy. With no centralized structure within Orthodoxy, churches become a symbol of the national being, and, thereby, rather politicized. In the Balkans, or Southeast Europe, Orthodox churches have, in some instances, supported the politics of intolerance and hate on occasion, explicitly aligned themselves to nationalist political parties or governments that have sought to create ethnically homogenous states.2 However, Orthodox churches have often been burdened by internal splits and competition from “breakaway” factions. Perhaps, one of the most striking examples is the case of the Orthodox Church conflict in Montenegro. There, the Serbian Orthodox Church (Srpska pravoslavna crkva—SPC)3 have been one of the key instruments used to maintain the Serb identity of the Montenegrins, firmly supporting the narrative that Montenegro is the “second Serb state” and the “Serbian Sparta.”

Keywords

Religious Community Hate Speech North Atlantic Treaty Organization Catholic Priest Derogatory Term 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Notes

  1. 1.
    Michael Radu, “The Burden of Eastern Orthodoxy,” Orbis, 2, no. 42, Spring 1998, p. 283.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. 2.
    See, for example, Mirko Djordjević, “The Balkan God Mars—Te Religious Factor in the [Yugoslav] Wars 1991–1999,” in Dragica Vujadinović et al., eds., Between Authoritarianism and Democracy: Serbia, Montenegro, Croatia, Vol II, Civil Society and Political Culture (Belgrade: CEDET, 2005), pp. 133–143.Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    For a succinct account of the role of the SPC in modern Serbian society and political life (since 1989) see Radmila Radić and Milan Vukmanović, “Religion and Democracy in Serbia since 1989: The Case of the Serbian Orthodox Church,” in Sabrina P. Ramet, ed., Religion and Politics in Post-Socialist Central and Southeastern Europe: Challenges Since 1989 (London: Palgrave MacMillan, 2014), pp. 180–211.Google Scholar
  4. 5.
    For detailed analyses of the CPC see, Sreten Zekovic (ed.), Elementa Montenegrina hrestomatija—Crnogorska pravoslavna crkva (Zagreb: CFP-Crnogorski federalistički pokret, 1991);Google Scholar
  5. Dr. Danilo Radojevic, Iz povijesti hriscanskih crkava u Crnoj Gori (Cetinje: CDNK, 2000);Google Scholar
  6. Branko Nikac, Crnogorska pravoslavna crkva: clanci—rasprave—studije (Cetinje: CDNK, 2000);Google Scholar
  7. Veseljko Koprivica, Amflohijeva sabrana ne-djela (Podgorica: Monitor, 1999);Google Scholar
  8. Novak Adzic, Kratka istorija Crnogorske pravoslavne crkve (Cetinje: Dignitas, 2000);Google Scholar
  9. Sreten Zekovic, Crnogorska pravoslavna crkva (Cetinje: CKK, 1997).Google Scholar
  10. 6.
    Sabrina Ramet, Balkan Babel (Boulder, CO: Westview Press, 1999), p. 109.Google Scholar
  11. 9.
    The existing monument on Lovćen was built to house the bones of Njegoš, whose bones were moved there from nearby Cetinje in 1925. The event was attended by King Aleksander Karadjordjević and numerous members of the SPC hierarchy. See Andrew Baruch Wachtel, Making a Nation, Breaking a Nation: Literature and Cultural Politics in Yugoslavia (Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 1998), p. 105.Google Scholar
  12. 10.
    One such event was in May 1996, when the bones of Saint Vasilije Ostroški were paraded through the Montenegrin town of Nikšić. According to Ivan Čolović, “In the eyes of the church, the earthly remains of saints, martyrs or prominent priests and reliquaries (the boxes in which their remains are kept) like their graves and parts of their clothing, have supernatural, miraculous power. They heal sickness of the body and spirit. This is the power, for instance, of the sanctorum reliquiae of Saint Vasilije Ostroški. When his relics were carried recently in a religious procession through Nikšić, it was conceived and carried out as a kind of collective therapy. The organizers explained that through the miraculous power of the holy relics they wished to influence the spiritual state of the inhabitants of that Montenegrin town, where over the last few years there had been an exceptionally large number of murders and suicides. See Ivan Čolović, The Politics of Symbol in Serbia (London: Hurst, 2002), p. 166.Google Scholar
  13. 16.
    Šerbo Rastoder, “Religion and Politics—The Montenegrin Perspective,” in Dragica Vujadinović et al., eds., Between Authoritarianism and Democracy: Serbia, Montenegro, Croatia, Vol II, Civil Society and Political Culture (Belgrade: CEDET, 2005), p. 124.Google Scholar
  14. 19.
    For a detailed analysis of the DPS split see Ljubisa Mitrović and Aleksander Eraković (eds.), Sto dana koji su promijenili Crnu Goru (Podgorica: Daily Press, 1997).Google Scholar
  15. 20.
    For an analysis of Montenegrin politics in the 1990s, see Kenneth Morrison, “Montenegro: A Polity in Flux 1989–2000,” in Charles Ingrao and Tomas Emmert, eds., Confronting the Yugoslav Controversies: A Scholar’s Initiative, 2nd edn. (West Lafayette, IN: Purdue University Press, 2012), pp. 427–456.Google Scholar
  16. 21.
    See for example Matica Crnogorska, “Kontinuitet provokacija Srpske Pravoslavne Crkve,” Matica Crnogorska Godišnjak 1999/2000 (Cetinje: Matica Crnogorska, 2000), pp. 132–133.Google Scholar
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    See Radojević, “Crnogorsko-primorska mitropolija.” in Enciklopedija Jugoslavije, Vol. 3 (Zagreb: Jugoslovenski Leksikografski Zavod, 1984), pp. 147–150.Google Scholar
  18. 25.
    Sreten Zeković, Nauka o samobitnosti Crnogoraca V: Crnogorski autokefalni pokret (Cetinje: Crnogorska prijestonica, 2003), p. 233.Google Scholar
  19. 28.
    Sharyl N. Cross and Pauline Komnenich, “Ethnonational Identity and the Implosion of Yugoslavia: The Case of Montenegro and the Relationship with Serbia,” Nationalities Papers, 33, no. 1, March 2005, p. 18.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. 32.
    In a letter to Bartholomew I, Archbishop of Constantinople, Istanbul, from Archbishop Theodosius, Archbishop of Washington, Metropolitan of All America and Canada, the latter claimed that “On 28 October 1993, His Holiness Patriarch Pavle informed us that a retired cleric (Archimandrite Anthony Abramovich) was falsely representing himself as an auxiliary (vicar) bishop of Edmonton (Canada) of the Orthodox Church in America. He has (as we have officially informed) become involved in and supporting the uncanonical and unchristian action of causing schism and division in the Holy Serbian Orthodox Church. On October 29, 1993, we faxed a response in which we affirmed that Anthony Abramovich was never consecrated by us or, to my knowledge, by any other canonical Orthodox church.” See Letter to Bartholomew I, Archbishop of Constantinople, Istanbul, from Archbishop Theodosius, Archbishop of Washington, Metropolitan of All America and Canada, in Budimir Alekšić and Slavko Krstajić, Trgovci Dušama (Nova Varoš: Bonart, 2003), p. 36.Google Scholar
  21. 42.
    Vjekoslav Perica, Balkan Idols: Religion and Nationalism in Yugoslav states (Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press, 2002), p. 175.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Gorana Ognjenović and Jasna Jozelić 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Kenneth Morrison
  • Nebojša Čagorović

There are no affiliations available

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