Montenegrin police filed a criminal case against the priest of the Serbian Orthodox Church (SOC) in Podgorica for the violation of measures against coronavirus after a Liturgy in connection with the conversion of Hagia Sophia in Istanbul from a Museum into a mosque, said the interior Ministry.
In Serbia and Montenegro, which, with varying success fought the Ottoman rule in the Balkans from the XIV to the XX century, the news about the change of status and the first since 1934 the Friday prayer in the Hagia Sophia caused a resonance. Patriarch Irinej of Serbia on July 13 called on the Turkish authorities to leave the object as a Museum with the possibility of both Christian and Islamic religious services.
The Montenegrin authorities decided to send several priests of the Serbian Orthodox Church (SOC), while the President of Serbia Alexander Vucic, Patriarch Irinej asked Russia for help in protecting the interests of the Church, reported the press service of the Metropolitanate of Montenegro and the Seaside SPTS.
Earlier Thursday, during the visit of foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov to Belgrade, the Serbian President told reporters that SOC is under threat and it needs the support of Russia. Patriarch Irinej at a meeting with Russian foreign Minister also noted that the interests of the Serbian Church in need of protection. Lavrov said that Moscow is always trying to support the clergy of the Orthodox churches to carry tranquility and peace, including in the Balkans.
Patriarch Irinej of Serbia on the day of the Holy Trinity held a festive divine service at Church of the Moscow Patriarchate in Belgrade, said the press service of the Department for external Church relations of the Moscow Patriarchate (DECR).
"June 8, 2020, the day the Holy spirit, the metochion of the Moscow Patriarchate in Belgrade (Serbia) celebrated the patronal feast of their temple. A festive Liturgy on this day made a representation of his Holiness Patriarch Irinej of Serbia. His Holiness concelebrated with the rector of the metochion Archpriest Vitaly Tarasyev and the clergy of Belgrade," the report says.