Europe

Montenegro church depicts Tito, Marx and Engels in hell

Fresco from church in Podgorica, Montenegro Image copyright AFP
Image caption Tito, Marx and Engels are pictured in a sea of fire with diabolical beasts

A church in Montenegro has sparked controversy by displaying a fresco depicting Yugoslav communist leader Josip Broz Tito in the fires of hell with Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels.

The newly built Church of Resurrection in the capital Podgorica has already drawn criticism for its lavish design.

Critics now say the church should not be interfering in politics.

Works by philosophers Marx and Engels were required reading when Montenegro was part of communist Yugoslavia.

One church leader, named only as Dragan, told the Agence France-Presse news agency that Marx, Engels and Tito "personify communist evil in the Balkans" and the artist should be "allowed the freedom to see things as he wishes".

However, he added: "He cannot judge, in the name of the Church, who belongs in hell or heaven."

Image copyright AFP
Image caption The Church of Resurrection in Podgorica has also been criticised for its lavish design.
Image copyright AFP
Image caption Tito is shown in his military uniform next to Marx and Engels

The fresco painter remains anonymous.

Visitors to the church were divided over whether the fresco should remain.

"The Church should not interfere in the secular world and determine who deserves a place in hell or heaven," said lawyer Rade Stankovic.

But another visitor, named only as Milos, said communism had caused "so much evil".

"Many people were killed in the name of the ideology promoted by Marx, Engels and their followers," he said.

The church is not the only religious building 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.

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