Montenegro: Serbian Orthodox Church unwanted?

The inauguration of the new Metropolitan of the Serbian Orthodox Church in Montenegro this weekend was marked by fierce clashes between police and protesters. Citizens blocked access to the country's historical capital Cetinje, where the ceremony took place, in protest against what they consider excessive Serbian influence. Commentators examine the events against the backdrop of close but complicated Serbian-Montenegran ties.

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Večernji list (HR) /

Unnecessary conqueror posturing

The Serbian Orthodox Church was deliberately provocative, Večernji list suspects:

“The moment captured by a skilled photographer when twelve heavily armed special police and bodyguards accompanied the Serbian Orthodox Church's new Metropolitan of Montenegro Joanikije II into the monastery of Cetinje using protective shields says everything about how welcome the Metropolitan is in the place. The scene was tragicomic because although there is no war in Montenegro, the Serbian Orthodox Church has come to Cetinje as a conqueror. The ceremony could have been held in Podgorica, but the Church deliberately chose fiercely nationalist Cetinje in order to humiliate the Montenegrins even more.”

Peščanik (RS) /

Very similar to Serbian nationalism

Montenegrin and Serbian nationalism are hardly distinguishable, the portal Peščanik comments:

“Montenegro may not be part of Serbia, but based on the ideas put forward [by the nationalists] one can conclude that it is part of the same political world as there are basically no major differences between its ideology and Serbian nationalist ideology. The Church is deemed indispensable for the preservation of Montenegrin identity, without which there can be no statehood or independence. The Montenegrin national identity is under attack, from outside and within, and threatens to disappear - aren't we hearing the same thing from the nationalists in Serbia? The difference is this: while Serbian nationalism is mainly an anti-Western project, Montenegrin nationalism is pro-Western.”