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February 4, 2014

Political Leaders and Hierarchs Frescoed in Montenegro Cathedral

The Cathedral of the Resurrection of Christ in Podgorica, Montenegro was consecrated last year after construction began in 1993.

Depicted in the first fresco is the current Metropolitan of Montenegro Amphilochius presenting the cathedral to Christ, and behind him is Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, the late Patriarch of Serbia Pavlos (depicted with a halo), the late Patriarch of Moscow Alexy II, the late Archbishop of Athens Christodoulos, together with other clergy and laity. These are all people who were instrumental in building the cathedral.

Another fresco inside the church shows Tito, Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels in the fires of hell. They are depicted together in torment as a "personification of communist evil in the Balkans". Works by philosophers Marx and Engels were required reading when Montenegro was part of communist Yugoslavia. Being swallowed by a demon are other hierarchs and rulers. When a representative of the cathedral, named Dragan, was asked if it is right to depict political leaders in churches, he responded: "Every artist has the right to express with freedom whatever he desires." He further stressed: "No one, however, can judge in the name of the Church who resides in Hell and who in Paradise." The artist remains as of now anonymous, and there is debate as to whether this fresco should be removed.

This church is not the only one in Montenegro to depict figures from 20th Century history on its walls. A monastery in Ostrog shows Hitler, Lenin and Tito together with Judas, who betrayed Jesus.