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Russia criticized by Orthodox hierarchs

Three hierarchs of Georgian Orthodox Church (GOC): metropolitan Abraham, archbishop Grogori and bishop Zenon addressed Catholicos Patriarch of All Georgia Ilya II on October 20 with a plea to put Church affairs in good order. The actual text of the address has been sent to all members of the GOC Holy Synod.

The hierarchs call the recent events in North Ossetia “Russian aggression against Georgia” and accuse Russian Orthodox Church in “anticanonical actions” on those territories which are currently under “Georgian Church’s jurisdiction.”

The address notes that “in the course of the last few months, parishioners have been hearing rumors about possible dethronement of the head of the Georgian Church and the beginning of persecution of Christians.” Such rumors are spread by “a radical group of the parishioners, their spiritual leaders, several independent political groups” as well as some media sources, states the letter.

Authors of the document suggest “to introduce systematic approach to organize GOC affairs”. According to them, it is of utmost importance to address the Holy Synod with a number of questions concerning affairs of the church court, monasteries, monks, church counsels and religious schools, establishment of special rehabilitation commissions for religious individual who had been repressed in the tsar’s Russia and during the Soviet times.

 Members of higher orders of the clergy also consider that establishing a Holy Synod’s secretariat along with various commissions for the purpose of coordinating the work of the Church’s structures would definitely benefit the situation.

The hierarchs ask the Patriarch “to evaluate recent tragic events in Abkhazia and Tskhinvalsky region and the involvement of Moscow's patriarchy in them.” They would also like to learn the overall “lawfulness and expediency of the Georgian Orthodox Church joining CIS Inter-religious council.”

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