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News 09 May 13

Montenegro's Royal Poet up for Sainthood

The Serbian Orthodox Church’s top cleric in Montenegro, Metropolitan Amfilohije Radovic, said he would propose that 19th-century prince and poet Njegos be declared a saint.

Milena Milosevic
BIRN
Podgorica

Bishop Amfilohije, Metropolitan of Montenegro, said he would make the suggestion at the May session of the Holy Synod of the Serbian Orthodox Church, the Belgrade-based newspaper Politika reported on Wednesday.

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

Radovic 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,” Radovic 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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