20.000 faithful in a cross-procession at Plejvlja, Montenegro:

A magnificent procession of the faithful led by His Eminence Metropolitan Amfilohije and His Grace Atanasije

Even the cold weather on the 22nd of February 2020 could not hinder the congregation of Pljevlja to gather at the Church of Venerable Mother Parasceva, where the procession set off, thus expressing their protest over the adoption of the Law on Freedom of Religion of Montenegro

The prayer of supplication was officiated by His Eminence Amfilohije, Metropolitan of Cetinje and Montenegro, and His Grace Atanasije, competent Bishop of Mileseva, with the clergy of the Metropolitanate of Montenegro and the Littoral and the Diocese of Mileseva. Afterwards a magnificent procession of the faithful led by these two hierarchs set off through the streets of Pljevlja while 20.000 people  were chanting troparia and prayers, and the very well-known shout “We won’t give up our shrines” could be often heard.

The procession stopped in the square in front of the Hotel “Pljevlja” where His Grace Atanasije addressed the congregation and greeted the reputable guest His Eminence Amfilohije, who blessed the congregation with the blessing of St. Basil of Ostrog:

“I’ve brought you the blessing of St Basil of Ostrog since I’m an unworthy monk of the Ostrog monastery, I’ve also brought you the blessing of St. Peter of Cetinje the Wonderworker from his holy relics, I’ve also brought you the blessing of St Simeon the Myrrh-gusher who was born in Podgorica. That’s the reason why we founded the Monastery of St Simeon there.

The Church of Christ has been crucified since His crucifixion. Didn’t the Lord Himself say: If they persecuted me, they will persecute you! And it’s been going on and on through the centuries, Christ being persecuted, His Name, God of Love, is being persecuted, in Whose we Name we are being  baptized - in the Name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Montenegro has become the only place where the faithful people have been assembled to defend their shrines thus saving their soul, their being, saving the graves of their ancestors and saving their true faith. Especially you here at Pljevlja who have martyrs. Remember those 11 martyrs of Pljevlja, led by the abbot of the Monastery of the Holy Trinity Seraphim, who were murdered here after the Second World War. Didn’t the great Serbian Patriarch Varnava come from Pljevlja?  …

“All my hope is firmly grounded in God that the authorities of Montenegro will hear the voice of these people,  as the whole Europe heard it, so that they become reasonable if they are meant to be written in the history of Montenegro as honest and honorable people as their ancestors used to be.   May God bless you all, especially your lovely children!”

The procession then was going back towards the Church of Venerable Mother Parasceva, where there was a short cultural programme which actor Tihomir Arsic and gusle player Vaso Djondovic took part in. Vaso Djondovic was playing the gusle and performed a song dedicated to His Eminence Amfilohije.

In the end His Grace Atanasije thanked first of all to Metropolitan Amfilohije for his efforts to be with the congregation of the Diocese of Mileseva and also for blessings and warm words which he had addressed to everyone there, and then he thanked all of them who did their best to join in spite of the cold weather inorder to express their disagreement with bad laws that had been adopted in order to harm the Orthodox faith and the Serbian Orthodox Church in Montenegro.

Source: Metropolitanate of Montenegro and the Littoral

Translated into English by Sanja Simic de Graaf, Professor, Loznica