TIRANA – Metropolitan Amfilohije of Serbian Orthodox Church in Montenegro and some priests accompanying him were detained by police on Sunday (April 12) after celebrating Liturgy for the Great Feast of Palm Sunday at a monastery in Zlatica, a suburb of the capital city of Podgorica, reported orthodoxianewsagency.gr on Monday.
Several priests were also detained after celebrating Liturgy in the city’s Cathedral of the Resurrection, although no parishioners were present for the service.
According to the Montenegrin outlet Vijesti, the hierarch and his clergy were taken by police to a security center in Podgorica to gather information about a “gathering of people in front of religious sites.”
Bishop Joanikije of Budimlja and Niksic commented that it was unclear if Met. Amfilohije was under arrest or only detained for questioning. “This act has shown that it is a bad intention and not a concern for preserving the health of the people. This is obviously another in a series of attacks on our Church,” commented Fr. Mircet Sljivancanin. He also emphasized that after the Liturgy in Podgorica, when the faithful were allowed in for personal prayer, all of the relevant requirements and sanitary standards were strictly observed.
After a few hours of interrogation, all of the detained were released. The incident caused further unrest among the Serbs in Montenegro.
Montenegro has confirmed 24 new cases of COVID-19 in the country since Friday morning, bringing the total number of registered infected people to 273, the country’s health institute said on Monday as quoted by SeeNews. One new coronavirus case was confirmed on April 13, a unit with the health ministry, said in an update on the epidemiological situation in the country.
Montenegro confirmed the first two cases of COVID-19 on its territory on March 17. On March 22, the first death caused by the coronavirus disease was reported in Montenegro.
Montenegro introduced a lockdown on March 30 to curb the spread of the coronavirus, which has infected dozens in the country. In a statement, the government said the lockdown will last from 7:00 p.m. and 5:00 a.m. on working days and from 1:00 p.m. to 5:00 a.m. on weekends. During those hours citizens have been ordered to stay indoors unless they have been issued with special permits such as those held by key workers, or face fines or detention. /argumentum.al