Conspiracy theories and disinformation around the death of Metropolitan Amfilohije

After the death of Metropolitan of Montenegro and the Littoral Amfilohije on October 30 due to COVID-19, numerous narratives, disinformation and conspiracy theories could have been read in the Serbian media.

On October 29 in the late hours, the news portal Novosti was the first to publish that the Metropolitan had died.  In a short period of time, the other Serbian news portals republished the same piece of news. The Metropolitanate of Montenegro and the Littoral (MCP) reacted to the information with a press release stating that the health condition of the Metropolitan had not changed since the last report of that day, and that way denied the reporting of the Serbian media. Metropolitan of Montenegro and the Littoral Amfilohije died the following morning, which was officially confirmed by the MCP. This was followed by disinformation and conspiracy theories mostly launched by the Serbian media.

Mysterious death and conspiracy theories

Only a day after the death of Metropolitan Amfilohije, Srpski telegraf published the following headline on its cover: Mystery of the death of Amfilohije Radovic. Also, the headline MYSTERY OF THE DEATH OF AMFILOHIJE RADOVIC! Doctors about the last hours of Metropolitan’s life: He died an hour before going to Belgrade! was published by the news portal Republika, the website of Srpski telegraf. The text read that the Metropolitan had died unexpectedly, eleven days after the test had showed that he had been negative to coronavirus, which some consider a mysterious phenomenon. It was also stated that his death had occurred just a couple of hours before his allegedly organized transportation to the intensive care in Belgrade by the airplane of the Serbian Government.

Srpski telegraf was not the only one to publish the mentioned content. The news portal published a text MYSTERIOUS DEATH OF “THE MOST POWERFUL MAN IN MONTENEGRO” details on Amfilohije’s last hours leaked. The text did not precise why his death had been considered mysterious, but republished the Metropolitanate’s press release.

Dejan Lucic, known for the conspiracy theories on 5G network and vaccination, also expressed his condolences to all Serbs on the planet, as he stated. He shrouded even the Metropolitan’s death in conspiracy theories. In his video announcement for the public, Lucic wondered whether the biggest of Serbs had died or someone helped him die by putting him on the respirators instead of giving him liquid oxygen, as it was the case with U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson.

Professor Dejan Mirovic said for the news portal that the Metropolitan had been the real Locum tenens of the Patriarchate throne of Pec, emphasizing that he had been apprehended many times and interrogated for six hours in the Main Police Station in Podgorica during the coronavirus epidemic. Mirovic also said that his illness and death are on the head of the soulless people who requested and executed it. He added that the authorities and media in Serbia were terribly attacking Amfilohije, only because he had been the real Exarch of the Throne of Pec. His statements were republished by the news portals Naša Borba and Pravda with the headlines: THEY ARE SHAKING: Here is the culprit of Amfilohije’s death! and DR. MIROVIC: Amfilohije was a Patriarch of the people, here is the culprit of his death!

Milo and the DPS are sabotaging the funeral

When it comes to the funeral of Metropolitan Amfilohije, President of Montenegro Milo Djukanovic and his party (the DPS) were also targeted by the Serbian media. Milo gave a statement after Amfilohije’s death, the whole region is talking about his words! (Alo), WHAT DOES THIS MEAN?! MILO DJUKANOVIC FINALLY GAVA A STATEMENT! He expressed his condolences on Metropolitan’s death, but ONE PHRASE raises many questions! (Informer), are the headlines that the Serbian media used to republish the telegram sent by the President of Montenegro.

The DPS expressed in its press release that they found quite unusual that the public broadcasting service of all citizens would directly report from the funeral of Metropolitan Amfilohije, and that Prime Minister-designate Zdravko Krivokapic was behaving as a total opposite of a person who should lead the Government of the citizens of all religions and nationalities. The news portal Novosti republished the press release with a headline MILO’S DPS MINDS THE PEOPLE’S SORROW FOR AMFILOHIJE: Coronavirus is their excuse, they attacked Krivokapic as well.

The news portals Espreso and Republika published that Djukanovic, allegedly, wanted to sabotage the funeral by having tried to prevent Matija Beckovic from attending the Metropolitan’s funeral and holding the speech. They commented that Beckovic was waiting for a plane on the Belgrade airport, which had arrived late from the capital of Montenegro due to unexplained reasons. Historians Aleksandar Rakovic and Cedomir Antic who think that that delay was an obstruction attempted by the leaving Montenegrin regime confirmed that narrative.

Nevenka Pavlicic, doctor in the Clinical Center of Montenegro, asked the President of the National Coordination Body of Montenegro (NKT) to order the closed casket funeral of Metropolitan Amfilohije adding that the rite in which thousands of people are kissing his body represents an infection hotspot. The tabloid Alo assessed her statement as scandalous, emphasizing that Milo’s doctor tried to prevent the funeral of the Metropolitan.

Celebration that did not occur

The news portals Vidovdan, Nacionalist and News front published the articles entitled Milos’s Montenegrins from Cetinje are celebrating Grandpa’s death (author’s comment: Grandpa (Đed) refers to Metropolitan Amfilohije, his supporters used to call him that way), providing the photos and tweet in the article. However, the published photos were taken during the patriotic gathering, which took place on September 3 this year on Cetinje. As a proof, they published the tweet of @zelenascg1244 user (troll account), whose witnesses were informing that there was a celebratory gunfire in Cetinje. The text read that the celebration had begun and that the usage of torchlights had been planned, which did not occur after all.

Even the fact that that was intentionally launched disinformation did not prevent many social media users from spreading it further. The same night, a couple of hours after the news had been published on the news portal Vidovdan, its link was shared in six Facebook groups generating almost 160,000 likes.