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news 20 May 13

Montenegro's Top Cleric Declares Poet Njegos a Saint

The Serbian Orthodox Church’s top cleric in Montenegro, Metropolitan Amfilohije Radovic, has declared 19th-century prince and poet Njegos a saint.

Politika, BIRN

Amfilohije Radovic, metropolitan of Montenegro and the Littoral, declared poet Petar Petrovic Njegos to be a saint on Sunday.

His announcement was marked by the symbolic carrying of an icon of Njegos into a monastery in the Montenegrin town of Cetinje on Sunday.

"This is part of the preparation for the canonisation of Njegos by the Serbian Orthodox Church," Amfilohije told Serbian daily newspaper Politika on Monday.

He said he expects that the church’s Holy Synod will confirm the decision at its spring session on May 21.

Petar Petrovic Njegos was a prince-bishop as well as a renowned poet in Montenegro in the first half of the 19th century.

Amfilohije recently noted that calls for Njegos’s canonisation have been made ever since the former ruler’s death in 1851.

“Earlier metropolitans and people throughout history have spoken about him with awe as a holy man,” Amfilohije was quoted as saying.

Njegos’s poem ‘The Mountain Wreath’ is renowned all over the Balkans and much prized.

At the same time, the approving description of an alleged mass execution of Muslims has caused some controversy in recent years.

Some Muslims in Montenegro and Bosnia say it feeds a negative perception of their community as religious renegades, and that its ideology may even have encouraged the ethnic cleansing of Muslims in the 1990s in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Serbs and Montenegrins, on the other hand, prefer to see Njegos’s literary heritage as affirming their national and cultural identity.

The Montenegrin government has formed a special committee to organise a commemoration of the 200th anniversary of his birth this year.

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