The Montenegro Ministry of the Interior refused to renew residence permits for more than 30 non-resident priests and monks of Serbian nationality. They are exercising their ministry in one of the four dioceses of the Serbian Orthodox Church in Montenegro.
According to Archpriest Velibor Džomić, the coordinator of the legal council of the metropolis and the legal representative of all priests and monks, this is part of the illegal acts aiming at persecuting the clergy and monks of the metropolis of Montenegro and the Littoral.
“These past months, we have received more than ten decisions of the Ministry of the Interior, which deny the extension of the temporary residence permit in Montenegro to our priests, monks, nuns, and priest families. These permits allowed the clergy to provide religious services. In all, fifty priests, monks, nuns, and family members of priests, will remain without a residence permit in Montenegro. Thirty of them must already leave Montenegro within a month, while another twenty are expecting this decision”, said Father Velibor to the Serbian daily “Politika”.
He expressed his astonishment at such a decision by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Montenegro, as these past two years, the temporary residence permit was granted to these same people on the basis of the exercise of their priestly ministry.
“In the meantime, no regulations has changed in Montenegro. I don’t think such a move by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs is motivated by legal reasons, but rather by political ones. I don’t understand why the ministry led by Mevludin Nuhodžić has undertaken such a synchronized action, which has nothing to do with the law and the facts,” he continued.
Archpriest Džomić stated that the metropolis’s legal team has lodged complaints against these decisions, but each has been rejected. New appeals have been filed at the administrative court.
“The legal provisions were grossly violated during the making of these decisions, and the possibility was not even given to the priests to explain themselves. and to participate in the proceedings before the decision was made. As someone who knows this case, I am sure the Ministry acted illegally. No logic could explain why the metropolis was considered as a religious and legal entity by the Ministry for two years, and their residence permits approved, and that it no longer exists, although nothing has changed”, Fr Velibor explained.
He called on Minister Nuhodžić to bring the actions of his officials “within the framework of the law”.
Source in Serbian