Information Service of
the Serbian Orthodox Church

July 22, 2004


If the new initial draft of the law on religion is adopted, pension and disability insurance and salaries for clergy in undeveloped regions will cost taxpayers some 200 million dinars per year. The draft law, recently submitted for public evaluation, also foresees immunity for priests, recognition of marriages in church by the state, and performance of religious rites in schools, companies and state institutions. Serbian Minister for Religions Dr. Milan Radulovic said that immunity from prosecution is not necessary for members of the clergy, who are careful not to clash with the law.

The religions ministers emphasized that 98 percent of residents in Serbia stated that they belong to churches or religious communities and that consequently religion is no longer a private matter. He said: “It is necessary for the state to pass a law defining the place of religion in society and the extent of its domain, and for the state to guarantee that it will respect people’s religious affinities. With this law the state is supposed to guarantee freedom to every citizen, and the content of individual freedom of the religious community to which the citizen belong, and to acknowledge that belonging to religious communities is something positive for society. The initial draft makes a radical turnabout inasmuch as it identifies religion as a private matter as a social and cultural movement.”


At a meeting held on July 20, 2004 in Cetinje the Metropolitanate of Montenegro and the Littoral’s Executive Council discussed several current issues relating to the life and work of the Metropolitanate. Much attention was dedicated to the Law on restitution of ownership rights and compensation, which denies the Church the right to its property nationalized during the Communist era and represents an example of meddling by the State in the basic, internationally recognized rights of the Church (the right to property).

Taking into account that Montenegrin courts have for years been deaf to all appeals by the Metropolitanate of Montenegro and the Littoral, the Executive Council decided that the issue of the Metropolitanate’s rights should be resubmitted to international legal organizations and courts, first and foremost, the court in Strasbourg. The Council concluded that since the property of the church was not confiscated on the basis of any special law, it is completely incomprehensible that the regulation of the restitution of the same property should be done on the basis of a special law.

The Executive Council concluded with regret that Montenegrin state officials are increasingly supporting Miras Dedejic’s group as a substitute for the Orthodox Church in Montenegro. Their supposed “consecration” of the newly adopted state symbols of Montenegro is an act of shame for both the symbols and Montenegro. Miras Dedejic’s group, unfortunately, is also increasingly supported by some of the Roman Catholic circles in Montenegro contrary to the public appeals of the Holy See for cooperation and dialogue with the Orthodox Church in the spirit of the Second Vatican Council.

The Executive Council also established a Coordinating Office whose function will be to coordinate the work of the Legal, Financial, and Architecture and Construction Committees. It also adopted a strategy for economic development and legal representation for the Metropolitanate of Montenegro and the Littoral, as well as for the work of the Architecture and Construction Committee.

The Executive Council also discussed several issues with regard to the mission of the Church in Montenegro, welcoming the election and vestment of Abbot Jovan of Ostrog as Bishop of Dioclea.

Source: Svetigora Press


The first phase of construction of the church of the Ascension of Our Lord in Klisa will be completed with the installation of the bells in the new bell-tower on the feast of St. Elijah, August 2, in the presence of the donors. All those wishing to assist in the building of the church may make a donation to the Orthodox Diocese of Backa to its account in Vojvodjanska Banka AD Novi Sad, account number 355-1046352-89, designating the Orthodox Diocese of Backa as the recipient and noting that it is for the church in Klisa, Slana Bara and Vidovdansko Naselje.


The Provincial Secretariat for Regulation, Administration and National Minorities has announce a bidding to award funds for projects involving the restoration of churches classified as protected cultural monuments on the territory of Vojvodina. The grant is only available to dioceses, bishoprics, vicariates and exarchates active on the territory of the province, each of which may submit only one project for restoration of one church defined as a protected cultural monument by appropriate officials. The total amount available is three million dinars. Eligible confessions in the bidding are the Serbian Orthodox Church, the Romanian Orthodox Church, the Roman Catholic Church, the Islamic Community, the Jewish Community, Slovakian Evangelical Church, the Reform Christian Church, and the Greek Catholic Church. Applications are to be submitted in Serbian or the official language of a national minority in use in Vojvodina. There is no application form; each application should be include information relevant to the request and specific characteristics of each project. The deadline for submission of the application is no later than August 20, inclusive.

[Serbian Translation Services]

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