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The fight over orthodoxy

Cetinje Monastery, former seat of Montenegrin rulers,  - Copyright by Vijesti
Cetinje Monastery, former seat of
Montenegrin rulers

The Serbian Orthodox bishop's seat is in the Cetinje Monastery that has been the seat of Montenegrin rulers until the 19th century. However, in 1993 a "Montenegrin Orthodox Church" was founded, claiming to be the rightful successor to the Church that was merged into the Serbian Orthodox Church after Montenegro's incorporation into Serbia following the First World War.

The Church, registered in 1997 as an NGO, is not recognised by other Orthodox churches or the Ecumenical Patriarch in Istanbul. It only owns two church buildings, one in Cetinje and one in Kotor. Its 24 priests perform services in some 50 villages in the vicinity of Cetinje where the local flock has decided that the Montenegrin Orthodox Church's priests are welcome. The Montenegrin Church claims a significant part of the property managed by the Serbian Orthodox Church. When, in summer 2007, the Montenegrin parliament debated a new constitution the status of the two competing Orthodox Churches was one of the most contentious questions in these discussions.

There are still followers of the Montenegrin church. Even many Montenegrins who supported independence are loyal to the Serbian Orthodox Church and its 220 monks and priests and 700 churches and monasteries in Montenegro.

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