Archpriest Jovan Plamenac is a cleric of Metropolitanate of Montenegro and the Littoral of the Serbian Orthodox Church
Many residents of Montenegro are already acquainted with his letter, published on Christmas Eve, which speaks of the dangers lying in wait for the country, as well as his speech on the Old (Orthodox or Serbian) New Year’s holiday in Podgorica.
Montenegro now is really in a difficult situation. In spite of the mass protests in December, the country received an invitation to join NATO. Demonstrations against joining an unfriendly military alliance exacerbated internal conflicts smoldered for years: for the fourth month regular anti-government demonstrations don’t stop in the country.
What is the position of the Church on the issue of possible membership in NATO and in general subject of Western integration, and why the Serbs and Montenegrins, as in centuries past, today are in hopes are looking at Russia, told the priest in an exclusive interview with News Front.
News Front: Holy Father many have read your appealing on the Christmas Eve. In particular, you wrote about the fact that we are in danger as never before, with an emphasis on the danger that comes from the West. What do you think needs to be done for protection?
– When I speak of the danger that comes from the West, I mean not merely today or the Christmas Eve. It is a longstanding process. First of all, I see the danger in a cultural and spiritual terms. Of course, there is factual manifestation of this danger – the arrival of NATO into our territory. They are already here on our doorstep. But the spiritual component is a long-term situation, and is a big problem. And this is something what comes from the West. The West has its own culture, of course, each person should have its own culture. But everything which comes to us, literally spoils our people, and not only young people. It is anti-culture of the West.
It leads down, inter alia, through the media. For example, take a look at infanticide propaganda, which was included in our laws, as in the most countries of the world where legalized the murder of children in the womb. Let us say, when it’s saud that the Islamists have killed 200 children, the world grabs his head. But every month in Podgorica same number of children are killed in the womb. And no one cares. It also came to us from the West. The schools introduce “sexual education”. This is a terrible program. Kids at school will be told how everything is going, and all that, as they say, for the sake of protection from an unwanted pregnancy or diseases. Talking with kids about such issues is terrible. This is a heavy blow to immatured consciousness.
And there’re many, many more examples of anti-culture, which comes to us from the West. In fact, everything that is contrary to the Holy Gospel. This is anti-spirituality, something that is contrary to God, this is Satanism. People do not realize how they are tightened into the Western system and way of life. It is written in the Bible – in the end a negligible number of people will stay with God – and we can see it right now.
News Front: Wherein do you see the protection from the Western influence? Is the Orthodox faith a way out, or steps on the national level are needed?
– Of course, the Church is defense, but the church in its original, true sense. I don’t mean just the church as a church, I say how it is written in the Bible and the Gospel. We have to be at the liturgy, in which we are united with the Lord, there is nothing stronger than the joint prayers. Need to confess and receive communion. This is our connection with God. This the protection against the witchcraft and superstitious beliefs, against the global demonic that imposes a wrong set of values through the media and the Internet and is attractive to young people. That is not a case when we can take a pill and be cured. We should work hard on ourselves.
News Front: It took 25 years, and Russia again has turned to the Church, despite several generations raised in atheism. And now many Serbian and Montenegrin politicians among other things in interviews with News Front say that the West has an alternative – awakened Russia. Do you think maybe Russia is a way out for the Orthodox Slavs, who have long been under the Western influence, and now have a historic opportunity to return to their eternal ally?
– Only God has no alternative (paraphrases spreaded in the Balkans by Western resources phrase “Europe has no alternative” – Ed.). If we deviate from it – will fall into the abyss. And the West… How there might not be alternative to it when it slides into the spiritual and cultural barathrum? I’m not talking about the immediate moments that come and go, but the profound life-changing things. To move away from this abyss is not a fallback, it is a salvation for us.
The question is not whether to be or not to be with Russia. Russia unites and warns us. During NATO attacks, we can take refuge and find salvation under her wing. I’ll repeat: I am not talking about the physical, it’s all coming and going. We’ll get ours, but the new generations will come. I’m talking about spiritual salvation. There is only one force that can save us from the vulgarity that runs from the West – it’s Russia, only one people – Russian, and only one man – Putin.
News Front: What can we expect in the near future? Will the Church be more active in anti-NATO and anti-regime protests? And if they can be combined into one common?
– As to NATO… According to our customs, traditions, ideological definitions, teachings, way of thinking – if we don’t overcome this situation, we won’t do anything else.
It should not be divided crowd but a single rod. The church can be involved in this way: encourage people to the unity.
Why do people are taken to the streets? For example, I don’t even know who to vote for when there would be elections, and it is not so important. It is important to resist the evil that is coming at us – NATO. And the Church, in order to protect its people from spiritual and cultural destruction, can call on the confrontation to this evil, in the same way as any other evil: desecration of the Holy Scripture, enemies or evil in ourselves. To any evil that can happen in the world. Call on the people to unite in the face of evil that hung over us – that may be the role of the church.
And I hope that God will help to achieve results. It depends not only from the Church but also from people who will hear us.
The full version of the interview in the original language