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Archbishop Jacob accuses government officials of attempting to get rid of Catholicos-Patriarch Ilia II

By Nika Gamtsemlidze
Monday, October 28
Archbishop of the Georgian Catholicos-Patriarch Ilia II, Jacob, accused Georgia's Prime Minister Giorgi Gakharia, former Prime Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili and Interior Minister Vakhtang Gomelauri for attempting to make the patriarch resign.

According to him, Gakharia, Gomelauri and Kvirikashvili were telling Jacob to get on their side and help them to make patriarch leave his position. Archbishop Jacob said that the senior officials of the government were holding meetings with other church representatives.

Jacob talked about the meeting between him and government officials with the TV Pirveli, answering the question if the killing of the patriarch was discussed, the archbishop said that "the best option was to kill him... but I wouldn't let them. Neither Dimitri [Shiolashvili], Peter [Tsaava], nor others, nor Mr. Bidzina [Ivanishvili] ... I can come out and say everything they were doing.”

PM Gakharia said that the statements of the archbishop are nonsense, noting that Jacob has been against him for a long time now, “this is someone who said that if I became Prime Minister he would make me leave my position. If you want a serious comment from me, Patriarch, for the last 40 years, has been a symbol of our past, present, and future.”

“I have mentioned many times that the Church is the connecting force for our country. I don’t know why Jacob makes such statements, he should be the one talking about it,” noted Gakharia.

According to the PM, people should do their job and what is expected from them, and “everyone should stay away from politics.”

Gigi Ugulava, a member of the European Georgia, says they want to invite Jacob to parliament. Also, Ugulava says the prosecutor's office should launch an investigation on archbishop’s statements.

"If Archbishop Jacob wishes, we would like to invite him to Parliament and say whatever he deems necessary in a parliamentary format to shed light on the story covered with fog," Ugulava said.

Justice Minister Tea Tsulukiani refuses to take part in a debate that "casts a shadow over the church and hurts the patriarch," The First Channel released the Minister's statement.

"I will use the word nonsense, it hurts me to hear such a thing from the archbishop. Such statements cast a shadow over the church," noted Tsulukiani.

Georgian Dream lawmaker Akaki Zoidze says Jacob’s statements "do not deserve much attention".

Patriarchate of the Georgian Orthodox Church has not responded to the bishop's statements so far. Also, Ilia II did not attend the Sunday Worship. According to his doctor, Tsisana Shartava, he is not feeling well.

"A few days ago, the Patriarch had a high fever due to the seasonal flu. His health is in a good condition now, but as the doctors insisted he must stay at home,” noted Shartava.

Archbishop Jacob has accused Gakharia of his connections with other officials several times, even before his appointment as the Prime Minister. Jacob has called Gakharia “the man of Russia” and also criticized him for his initiated marijuana cultivation project, saying he should be ashamed of speaking about the legalization of medical cannabis.