On Friday, September 12, Catholicos-Patriarch Ilia II of All Georgia received at the Patriarchate in Tbilisi the head of the Presidency for Religious Affairs in Turkey Mehmet Görmez and asked him to afford an opportunity to perform services at Georgian churches on the territory of Turkey, reports Gruzia Online.
The question of obtaining of legal status by Georgian churches and their transfer to the Georgian party was discussed by Catholicos-Patriarch Ilia II of All Georgia during his visit to Turkey in October 2011. Earlier he had sent a respective letter to the Turkish government.
“Khakhuli, Ishkhani, Khantsta, Oshki, Otkhta—these are historical monastic centers. Georgian hotbeds. Georgians coming to Turkey visit churches and pray. Possibly, there is an opportunity for monks to serve there and for restoration of services in them,” said His Holiness at the meeting.
Görmez had arrived in Tbilisi with a friendly visit the day before.
The Georgian Patriarchate is spreading a statement regarding this meeting, reports Gruzia Online.
“In the course of the meeting, the head of the Georgian Orthodox Church raised the question of the Georgian Orthodox Church obtaining legal status in the republic of Turkey, and asked for permission to perform services at Georgian churches in the Georgian language.
According to the Patriarch, the Muslim community of Georgia has all the conditions necessary for confessing their faith; there are for example 311 active mosques in Georgia. As the head of the Georgian Church stated, this is happening while there are no active Georgian churches on the territory of Turkey. At the same time, His Holiness demanded the involvement of the churches of Khantsta, Oshki, Ishkhani, Ardeni, Khakhuli, Otkhta and Ardasheni in restoring a monastic ministry there.
Mehmet Görmez expressed the hope that the Azizie and Akhmedie Mosques would be restored in Georgia, adding that in Turkey Georgian people had an opportunity to confess their faith freely.
The head of the Georgian Orthodox Church, on his part, expressed regret because of the incident in Kobuleti connected with construction of a Muslim school, stating that such facts would be stopped,” the patriarchate’s statement reads.
He was referring to an incident wherein a pig’s head was hung on the door of the madrasah. The Batumi city court on Friday imposed a fine of 100 lari (57 US dollars) on three Kobuleti residents in Adjara (an autonomous republic of Georgia), who had committed this crime, reports Interfax-Religion.
The court qualified their actions as violation of public order.
At the court the detained people stated that they had been intoxicated at the time of the criminal act.