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Georgian Church Asks Explanations over hosting de facto Leader in Serbia

By Tea Mariamidze
Tuesday, January 16
(TBILISI)--Georgia’s Orthodox Church sent an official letter to the Serbian patriarchate, asking for explanations over the recent visit of de facto President of Georgia’s breakaway South Ossetia.

“In the letter we wrote that so-called South Ossetia is not recognized by their country and that Ossetian church is also unrecognized. We asked the Serbian Patriarchate to explain to us why they received the delegation from the breakaway region of Georgia," said the archpriest Kakhaber Gogotishvili.

He said the Serbian Church has not responded yet. “We are still waiting for their reply,” the archpriest added.

Anatoly Bibilov, a self-proclaimed President of Georgia’s Russian-backed breakaway South Ossetia, met the Patriarch of Serbian Orthodox Church, Irinej at the Serbian Patriarchate on January 13.

De facto leader’s “administration” published photos of the meeting where Bibilov is warmly welcomed by Patriarch Irinej.

The reports say that Bibilov and Serbian Patriarch spoke about the Orthodox unity of the two “countries”.

At the end of the meeting the spiritual leader of Eastern Orthodox Serbs wished Anatoly Bibilov and all the people of occupied South Ossetia peace and prosperity, emphasizing the importance of Orthodox unity.

Anatloy Bibilov visited Republika Srpska on January 8-13. He arrived there from Belgrade and Novi Sad in Serbia. Prior to that he also visited Ukraine’s separatist Donetsk People’s Republic, where he brought gifts to Russia-backed militants.

In Republika Srpska, which is one of two constitutional and legal entities of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bibilov was welcomed by the nationalist leader, President Milorad Dodik.

After concluding his visit, the so called president noted that South Ossetia needs deeper ties with the states that have the same religion as the separatist region.

On January 15,Bibilov said official Tbilisi always has “sharp reaction” over the “high-rank visits of Ossetian officials abroad.”

“We are not paying attention to the reactions of Georgia, however, their critical approach means that we are on the right path,” Bibilov said.