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The News in Brief

Tuesday, March 7
Leaders of Georgia’s Orthodox Church gather to discuss poisoning plot

When top clerics within the Georgian Orthodox Church gather for a Holy Synod on March 9, there will be several difficult problems on their agenda, most notably a priest accused of planning to murder someone in the Patriarch’s inner circle.

The Synod is the highest authority in the Georgian Orthodox Church. Its meetings are held behind closed doors and few, if any, details from the meetings are normally made public.

But the murder charges against archpriest Giorgi Mamaladze are likely to feature prominently on the agenda when the highest echelons of the Patriarchy get together for a meeting which might also include a discussion about whether to sanction a priest who has spoken about alleged corruption within the Church.

Meupe Petre Tsaava, the Metropolitan of Chkondidi eparchy in Martvili municipality in western Georgia, has appeared on TV, claiming to expose a number of instances of corruption and other forms of wrongdoing inside the Patriarchy.

Tsaava further accused the patriarch’s personal secretary, Shorena Tetruashvili, of effectively pulling the strings in the Church and of having an informal authority that gives her influence over some of the clerics. According to some sources, Tetruashvili was the presumed target of archpriest Mamaladze’s alleged poisoning attempt.

Publicly airing criticism like Metropolitan Petre Tsaava has done represents a break with the traditions of the Georgian Church and no other higher cleric has either endorsed or confirmed his statements.

The Holy Synod consists of the Patriarch, metropolitans, archbishops and bishops; 47 clerics altogether.
(DF watch)

Detained cleric says he was accused of an attempt to poison Patriarch when detained

As detained Georgian clerical Giorgi Mamaladze has said in his testimony, First Deputy Prosecutor Mamuka Vasadze told him he was detained for an attempt to poison Georgia’s Patriarch.

A small fragment of his testimony has been published by the Kviris Palitra newspaper. As the detainee says, the people who arrested him did not wear police uniform.

“I was arrested at 06:00 AM. The driver took me to the airport… I passed registration and sitting in the foyer, I was waiting for boarding. When it was announced, I went outside and get on a bus that would take me to the plane. There were several people, I naturally thought they were passengers. Then I sat but they arrested me… none of them wore police uniform,” his testimony says.

According to Mamaladze, he was told by a stranger that he was detained for an attempt to poison Georgia’s Patriarch; afterwards the First Deputy Prosecutor repeated the same to him.

Wizz Air offers discounts to celebrate EU visa waiver for Georgia

Hungarian budget airline Wizz Air is celebrating the European Union (EU) visa waiver for Georgia by announcing a ‘Weekend Seat Sale’ with a 20 percent discount on all flights to and from Georgia.

All customers that book today will be able to take advantage of the discount.

Passengers planning their holiday or a weekend getaway to any of the 11 destinations available from Georgia can book their tickets on from EUR 9.99.

"Wizz Air, always committed to Georgia and looking to bring even more affordable travel opportunities for its passengers, considers the European Parliament’s approval of visa-free travel an important milestone in the country’s development”, the carrier wrote on its website.

The discount applies to any of the 11 destinations in eight countries across Europe, including Budapest, Warsaw, Milan, Vilnius, Thessaloniki and Berlin.

The regulation lifting EU visa-requirements for Georgians was signed in Brussels on March 1. The deal is expected to come into force by the end of this month.