.- Today in the Vatican, the Holy Father received the Letters of Credence of Antun Sbutega, the first ambassador of Montenegro to the Holy See. The smallest and youngest republic of the former Yugoslavia recently voted to open diplomatic channels with the Holy See.
“Over the centuries," the Pope said, "the peoples of the current Crna Gora have always maintained dynamic and cordial relationships with neighboring peoples, making interesting contributions to the life of European nations."
The Balkans have historically been marked by war and religious-ethnic conflicts. The tiny country which is now Montenegro is nearly 3/4ths Orthodox Christian. The Catholic population of the country is very small.
“The meeting between Christians and Muslims also took on compelling forms in Montenegro,” the Pope said.
He also recalled "the respectful attitude of the Orthodox Church of the time, which did not oppose the agreement with the Apostolic See," but considered it "a useful instrument for meeting people's spiritual needs."
The Pope concluded his address by reiterating his great esteem for Montenegro and expressing hopes in the continuance of "fraternal dialogue with the Orthodox, so present and active in the country," and of "millennia of mutual respect."