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How Georgian church sees Georgian-Russian relations

By Messenger Staff
Wednesday, July 13
On July 26 the Catholicos-Patriarch of All Georgia Ilia II will meet Russian Patriarch Kiril. The meeting will take place in Kiev and some analysts think that meeting of the leaders of two brotherly religions could be very important. Meanwhile, many are of the opinion that the Georgian political leadership is a little uneasy about the meeting of the leaders of two orthodox countries’ churches against the background of ongoing political confrontation between the two countries.

In his interview to the Echo Moskvy journalist Alexey Venediktov, Ilia II mentioned that maybe there would not be immediate results achieved in the relations of the two countries but the Head of the Georgian church affirmed Georgia’s position in the relations between the two nations.

The Georgian Patriarch expressed his concern that for 200 years Russia could not evaluate properly the respect and love which Georgian people had towards Russia, its culture and its history. But he mentioned that since the 2008 August war the relations between two countries have gone in to deadlock. “We cannot stay enemies, this is not natural for Russia and Georgia as well,” He said.

Ilia II highly appreciated the position of the Russian church concerning the jurisdiction of the Georgian church over Abkhazia and Tskhinvali regions. He also expressed his confidence that two churches could contribute a lot by bringing the two nations together.

Ilia II considered it wrong that the Russian leadership refuses to meet the Georgian president. "One should meet anybody if it might lead to reconciliation and understanding" he mentioned. He also considered that Russia should facilitate direct dialogue between Abkhaz and Georgian people.

Returning Abkhazia and Tskhinvali region back to Georgia, this is the main message sent to Russia by Catholicos-Patriarch of Georgia.

Analysts think that it is unlikely that the Russian church can seriously influence Moscow politics, on the contrary the Russian political establishment influences the Russian church.