Academic journal article Journal for the Study of Religions and Ideologies

The Religious Community and the Communist Regime in the Case of Montenegro, 1945-1955

Academic journal article Journal for the Study of Religions and Ideologies

The Religious Community and the Communist Regime in the Case of Montenegro, 1945-1955

Article excerpt

The aim of the research is to present the position of religious communities in Montenegro, as well as to identify the mechanisms on the basis of which the Communist Party has tried to marginalise religion. Religious communities before the Second World War had a strong influence and were deeply rooted in the social life of Montenegro. The Communist Party after 1945 tried to change that and to eradicate the influence of religion in society. The paper analyses the relation of the Communist authorities towards the Orthodox Church, the Islamic community and the Catholic Church. It also explains the methods and mechanisms with the help of which the Communist Party has marginalised and excluded religious communities from social life, using a concrete set of actions and attitudes towards major religious representatives. The paper analyses the approach of the Communist Party to each of the three religious communities, since there was no uniform ideological and institutional approach towards the three religious communities in Montenegro. In addition to the analysis of the situation in Montenegro, the paper compares the attitude of the state towards religion in Yugoslavia and other Eastern European countries. The period within which the Party's attitude towards religion was viewed has been rounded with the first decade of the Communist government in Montenegro. This is the period in which the process of excluding religious communities from all major social processes was concluded, and in Montenegro it was determined by the organising of the most important party congresses. The research is based on the archival material of the State Archives of Montenegro, i.e. the fund of the Communist Party of Montenegro. Archival material from this fund provides a clear insight into the attitude of the Party and the state towards religious communities. Through the archival material, we could also trace all the mechanisms with which the Communist Party tried to restrict the activities of religious communities. The paper also used daily and periodic press from that period, through which we could keep track of all the ideological messages of the Party regarding religion, as well as the very attitude of the state towards religious traditions. In addition to this, the research uses relevant literature to explain the broader processes and comparison of the situation in Montenegro with other regions.

By taking over power, the Communist Parties in the countries of Eastern Europe initiated major changes that affected all aspects of social life. Under the influence of the communist ideology, traditional values of these countries were undermined, and a new system of values was introduced, based on the teachings of Marxism and Leninism. Religion in most countries of Eastern Europe was the "guardian of the national Christian tradition." Through such a position, religion had a monopoly over values fostered by the society. By taking over power, the Communist Party then generated a conflict between these two concepts. The communists wanted a monopoly over all aspects of social life, which is why immediately after the takeover of power in whole Eastern Europe they began the process of excluding religious communities from social life.1 The conflict between the Communist Party and religion was very traumatic, because religion has had its deep roots in the tradition of all the countries of Eastern Europe.2 Here, after the end of the Second World War and after the Communist Party established its power, a conflict erupted between the new government with religious communities. The source of tension between the two sides stemmed from the different historical and cultural positions of religious communities in these countries and the new Marxist-Leninist view of the world. While in previous social systems, the religious community was one of the basic pillars of the system of government, in the new circumstances religion tried to be discredited, thus destroying all organised forms of religious life. …

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