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Georgian Patriarchate Not Rushing Expressing Position Regarding Ukrainian Church

By Tea Mariamidze
Tuesday, October 2
The Patriarchate of the Georgian Orthodox Church still refuses to comment on the autocephaly of the Church of Ukraine. The Patriarchate said in a statement on September 30 that it is necessary to refrain from preliminary assessments in the given situation.

"We believe that at this stage it is necessary to refrain from preliminary assessments unless the official and final position based on canonical law norms are announced,” the statement of the Georgian Church reads.

The Patriarchate also issued a statement regarding the disagreement between Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople, Orthodoxy’s spiritual leader, and Moscow’s patriarch Kyril, calling on the clergy to refrain from insulting any side of the conflict.

“Of course, both of them feel their responsibility before millions of believers and beware of the unity of the Orthodox churches. We hope that they will try to find ways to solve problems peacefully, for which we pray,” the statement of Georgian Church reads.

The Ecumenical Patriarchate declared about his decision to start the process of granting autocephaly to the Orthodox Church in Ukraine on September 23, which caused outrage of Kremlin.

The Russian Orthodox Church’s Synodal Department for the Church’s relations with society and the mass media, Vladimir Legoida, stated that the decision of Bartholomew will trigger more seizures of Orthodox churches by the radicals.

“If the plan for autocephaly is implemented, one can speculate that with a high degree of probability more attempts at taking over church buildings will follow," Legoida said.

Divisions between rival Orthodox factions have sharpened in Ukraine since Russia’s annexation of Crimea in 2014 and the outbreak of a Kremlin-backed separatist insurgency in the eastern Donbass region.

To achieve an independent national church, Ukraine needs the formal backing of the Ecumenical Patriarch in Turkey, the global spiritual head of Orthodox Christians.

The Russian Orthodox Church has already protested by breaking off ties with Istanbul in September.

Although Georgia’s patriarchate does not hurry to express their opinion about the issue, Patriarch Filaret, head of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Kiev Patriarchate, counts on the support of the Georgian Church.