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Cetinje Monastery. Photo: discover-montenegro.com
Cetinje Monastery. Photo: discover-montenegro.com

The Serbian Orthodox bishop's seat is in the Cetinje Monastery, the seat of Montenegrin rulers until the 19th century. In 1993, however, a "Montenegrin Orthodox Church" was founded, claiming to be the rightful successor to the Montenegrin Church of the early 1900s (merged into the Serbian Orthodox Church after Montenegro's post-World War I incorporation into Serbia).

The Church was registered in 1997 as an NGO. It is not recognised by other Orthodox churches or by the Ecumenical Patriarch in Istanbul. It owns only two church buildings – one in Cetinje, the other in Kotor. Its 24 priests perform services in some 50 villages in the vicinity of Cetinje, where the local flock has decided to welcome them. The Montenegrin Church claims a significant part of the property managed by the Serbian Orthodox Church.

The status of the two competing Orthodox Churches was to prove one of the most contentious issues during the Montenegrin parliament’s debate on a new constitution in the summer of 2007.

Even the many Montenegrins who supported independence remain loyal to the Serbian Orthodox Church, which today counts 220 monks and priests, as well as 700 churches and monasteries across Montenegro.

April 2008

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27 April 2008, 00:00