February 11, 2020
NEW YORK – On Monday, February 10, 2020, Bishop Metodije of Diokleia visited Archbishop Elpidophoros of America at the Archdiocese Headquarters, to discuss the current religious and political situation in Montenegro.
Bishop Metodije expressed his deep gratitude for the support given by His All-Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew. He also thanked Archbishop Elpidophoros of America for advocating on their behalf to Secretary Pompeo and Metropolitan Tikhon along with the hierarchs of the Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops of the United States of America for their solidarity. It sent a clear message to the hundreds of thousands of faithful in Montenegro marching peacefully twice a week, that they are not alone and that their struggle to save their sanctuaries is supported by their coreligionists in the United States.
Bishop Metodije described the very difficult situation faced by the Orthodox Church in Montenegro. Thе new Law on Freedom of Religion or Belief, and the Legal Status of Religious Communities, discriminates against primarily the Orthodox Church, which has incited mass peaceful protests of Orthodox faithful.
Archbishop Elpidophoros assured Bishop Metodije of his deep concerns for the sisters and brothers in the Orthodox Church in Montenegro impacted by the implementation of the new law on Religious Freedom in the country. He also said: “We pray for peace in Montenegro, religious freedom for all, and an open conversation with all parties about this law.”
Also attending the meeting were, Metropolitan Tikhon, Bishop Irinej, Rev. Alexander Rentel, Rev. Miajlo Backovic, Rev. Nicolas Kazarian, Archdeacon Joseph Matusiak and Mr. Nick Anton.
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