Joanikije (Lipovac) of Montenegro

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Metropolitan Joanikije (baptismal name Jovan), the son of Spiro and Marija (maiden name Damjanovic) was born in Stoliva in the bay of Boka Kotorska, on February 16, 1880. He completed primary school in Prcanj, Grammar school in Kotor, Orthodox Theological Institute in Zadar, and the Philosophical Faculty in Belgrade. He also passed an exam for the professorship of theological subjects.

Jovan was ordained deacon on November 8 and hieromonk on November 10, 1912, by Rt. Rev. Vladimir, Bishop of Boka Kotorska and Dubrovnik. In the period 1912-1918 he was a chaplain in Kotor, and afterwards a parish priest in Lastva. From 1919 to 1925 he performed the job of assistant professor in the Grammar School on Cetinje, and afterwards in Lower-grade Female School, Female Teachers School, and the Cetinje Seminary. From 1925 to 1940, he was a professor in the First Male Grammar School in Belgrade.

Being a widower, he was elected Auxiliary Bishop of Budimlje in the end of 1939. He took monastic vows and the name Joanikije in the Rakovica Monastery, Skopje, Metropolitan Josif then serving. Joanikije was ordained bishop on February 11, 1940 in the Belgrade Cathedral. That same year, on December 10, he was elected the Metropolitan of Montenegro and the Littoral at an extraordinary session of the Holy Assembly of Bishops.


Metropolitan Joanikije managed the Diocese of Montenegro and the Littoral in a very difficult period. By his efforts, the Cetinje Seminary functioned and existed even in the hardest times of war. On July 20, 1942, he said to his priests: "to avoid any kind of political engagement and to take care of their duties and dignity". Due to arresting and persecuting of his clergymen, he tried to leave the country together with seventy priests. Unfortunately, he did not succeed; all of them were captured near Zidani Most. The priests were shot, and Metropolitan Joanikije was taken to Arandjelovac, where the Communists viciously killed him. The site of his remains is still unknown.

At the regular session of the Holy Assembly of Bishops in 1999, Metropolitan of Montenegro and the Littoral was canonized and his name was entered into the List of Names of the Serbian Church Saints.