Georgia: Church-State Dispute in Tbilisi Exposes Anti-Armenian Undertones

Molly Corso 15/7/2011 A dispute over efforts to strengthen the legal rights of minority religions has opened a new fault line in Georgia’s fractured political landscape. It is also helping to define the limits of the governing United National Movement’s influence. Civil code amendments, passed on July 5, will allow “those faiths that are considered legal religions ...

Georgian Church calls for calm despite irritation at ‘hasty’ Law

By Gvantsa Gabekhadze 13/7/2011 The Holy Synod’s decision regarding giving legal status to other faiths in the country, as well as some other Church matters, was announced late on July 11. A written statement by the Holy Synod reiterated the Patriarchate’s dissatisfaction that the legislative amendment was passed hastily without proper consultations with the Georgian Orthodox Church ...

President’s Spokesperson: ‘We Appreciate Firm Ties with Church’

Civil Georgia, Tbilisi 12/7/2011 The Georgian state will never take a step, which will be in conflict with “firm relations” the state and the Georgian Orthodox Church have, Manana Manjgaladze, the Georgian President’s spokesperson said on July 12. “We appreciate a firm relationship, which traditionally exists between the state and the Church. These relations are strengthened not ...

Armenian Church Hails Georgia’s Religious Minorities Law

8/7/2011 YEREVAN -- The Armenian Apostolic Church has welcomed the decision by Georgian authorities that will allow it to gain legal status in Georgia, RFE/RL's Armenian Service reports. Depite fierce opposition from the leadership of the Georgian Orthodox Church and some political factions, pro-government lawmakers in Tbilisi on July 5 voted in accelerated second- and third-reading procedures ...

Georgian Church Slams Law on Religious Groups’ Legal Status

Civil Georgia, Tbilisi 6/7/2011 A legislative amendment allowing religious minority groups to be registered as legal entities of public law “contravenes interests of both the Church and the country,” the Georgian Orthodox Church said in a statement late on July 5. “We believe, that this law will bring negative consequences in the nearest future and the authorities ...

Ilia II says Karekin II “too young and inexperienced”

19/6/2011 PanARMENIAN.Net - Catholicos-Patriarch of All Georgia Ilia II said that the Georgian Church is “open for everyone but it will not allow suppression of the Georgian people and state.” When commenting on the recent visit of His Holiness Karekin II, Supreme Patriarch and Catholicos of All Armenians to Georgia, Ilia II said that “Karekin II is ...

Georgian Church leader praises late Abkhazian President

The Late Sergei Bagapsh

Tbilisi, June 6, Interfax - The head of the Georgian Orthodox Church has offered his condolences to the family of late Abkhazian President Sergey Bagapsh and called him "a dignified member of the Abkhazian people and Orthodox Christian." "On behalf of the Georgian Orthodox Church, I wish to express sincere condolences over the death of Mr. ...

Georgian spiritual leader criticizes Police and Protesters

InterPressNews 27/5/2011 The leader of the Georgian Orthodox Church has called on the authorities to be merciful to those detained during dispersal of an opposition rally. Patriarch Ilia II expressed his sorrow at the death of two people during the dispersal of the rally in the small hours of 26 May and offered his condolences to their families. "We ...

Russian, Georgian Orthodox Universities to Cooperate

24/5/2011 The Georgian Patriarchal University of Andrey the First-Called and the Orthodox Svyato-Tikhonovsky Humanitarian University (OSTHU) have signed a cooperation deal, RIA Novosti reports. The document was signed by Professor Sergo Vardosanidze, head of the University of Andrew the First-Called, and Arch-Priest of the OSTHU Vladimir Vorobyov. Vardosanidze congratulated Father Vladimir on his birthday. Metropolitan of the Gori and ...

Orthodox Church near schism in Abkhazia

05/17/2011 The clash between the so-called youth wing, linked to the Georgian Church, and the pro-Moscow faction worsens. An inter-Orthodox congress has been called to discuss the status of a local independent Church. Moscow (AsiaNews) – After achieving its political independence, Abkhazia could be on its way to having its own Orthodox Church. De facto independent since ...

Georgian Orthodox Church Prepares Holy Chrism

20/4/2011 Orthodox priests make chrism at the Svetitskhoveli cathedral in ancient Georgia's capital Mtskheta, outside Tbilisi April 20, 2011. Chrism or Holy anointing oil is used by Orthodox church for baptism and other religious ceremonies and it is made approximately once a decade during the holy week. Source:

Who are Abkhazians trying to Deceive?

24/02/2011 Irakli Tskitishvili Experts' Club The Georgian side is concerned about the state of the Orthodox Church in Ilori, in the Ochamchire district and is asking to save the cultural monument. This was discussed at the meeting in Gali on 22 February in the framework of Incident Prevention and Response Mechanisms, which is based on arrangements ...

Georgian Church Says ‘Ignored’ in Turkish-Georgian Talks on Restoring Historic Sites

Civil Georgia, Tbilisi 7/2/2011 The Georgian Orthodox Church has again spoken out against potential deal between Georgia and Turkey, which, if signed, will pave the way for reconstruction of four Georgian medieval monasteries, now located in north-east Turkey, in exchange of rebuilding one and restoring of several other mosques in Georgia. The similar agreement was close to finalizing ...

“Saakashvilli’s visit not to lead to revolutionary Changes”

22.01.2011 Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili's visit to Armenia will have merely working nature and will not lead to any revolutionary change in bilateral relations, political scientist Sergey Minasyan, Deputy Director of Caucasus Institute said at the conference today. According to the speaker, in the frameworks of the visit the issues concerning the infrastructure and condition of the ...

Russian Church Leader Ignores ‘Abkhazia’ in Georgian Patriarch’s Title

Civil Georgia, Tbilisi 7/1/2011 The Russian Patriarch Kirill skipped over “Abkhazia” from an official title of the Georgian Orthodox Church leader in a Christmas congratulation message. In an apparent move to emphasize that Abkhazia is part of the Georgian Orthodox Church’s canonical borders, its main decision-making body, the Holy Synod, decided on December 21 to also make the ...

News from Holy Synod of the Georgian Orthodox Church

23/12/2010 Catholicos-Patriarch of All Georgia Ilia the Second was titled as His Holiness and Beatitude, Catholicos Patriarch of All Georgia, Archbishop of Mtskheta-Tbilisi, Metropolitan of Bichvinta and Tskhum-Abkhazia on December 21. According to the historical decision made by the Holy Synod His Holiness was handed Tskhum-Abkhazia eparchy on the grounds of historic documents considering the current ...

Saakashvili on Patriarch’s Role in Keeping ‘Georgian Identity’.

30/12/2010 Georgia maintained its very strong identity Georgian President Saakashvili praised the Georgian Orthodox Church and its head, Patriarch Ilia II, for, as he put it, playing an important role in keeping "Georgian identity." "Let's recall 1977, when 33 years ago [on December 25] his holiness [Patriarch Ilia II] became the leader of our Church. It was the ...

Georgian Patriarch in Diaspora comeback Plea

21/11/2010 In a sermon in the central Cathedral of Tbilisi on Sunday, the Georgian Orthodox Patriarch Ilia the Second appealed to the Georgian Diaspora to return home. He said their old country needs them for advancing reconstruction and development plans. A total of 15 hundred thousand are estimated to have left Georgia during its civil wars and ...

Only Georgian Orthodox Church officially recognized in Georgia

17/11/2010 There are many churches functioning in Georgia, apart from Armenian Apostolic church, but none of them has status and is recognized by the authorities, chairman of Javakhk union Shirak Torosyan told NEWS.am. Earlier today Yelena Tevdoradze, Georgian Deputy Minister of Reintegration, stated that Georgia would never recognize and give status to the Armenian Apostolic church. “The ...

Stalin appears on Christian Icon

21/10/2010 A small church near the Moscow Kremlin features an icon depicting Soviet dictator Josef Stalin. A similar image was at the center of a major scandal back in 2008. The icon displayed in the St. Nicholas church shows the notorious tyrant talking to the St. Matrona Nikonova, reports Moskovsky Komsomolets newspaper. She is a saint of ...

Patriarch: ‘Refrain from Sending Kids Abroad for Education’

3/10/2010 The influential head of the Georgian Orthodox Church, Patriarch Ilia II, called on believers on October 3 not to send thier children abroad for education purposes, saying that "in most of the cases it will harm a child." He made the remarks during his Sunday sermon in the Holly Trinity Cathedral in Tbilisi, while speaking about ...