21 January 2013, 17:27
Georgian tsars' remains can only be transferred to Georgia with public support - Patriarch Kirill
Moscow, January 21, Interfax - Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia believe a decision to rebury the remains of Georgian tsars Vakhtang VI and Teimuraz II in Georgia should be made after broad public debate.
"I am happy with his the first meeting of the joint commission on the possibility of reburying Georgian tsars Vakhtang VI and Teimuraz II, who are buried in the Astrakhan Assumption Cathedral, went," the Patriarch said during a meeting with Catholicos-Patriarch Ilia II of All Georgia Ilia in Moscow on Monday.
The Russian Orthodox Church "has understanding for Georgia's wish to transfer the remains to Tbilisi, but the decision, of course, depends on many factors," he said.
Patriarch Kirill said the task of the commission is to collect all necessary information, resolve difficult issues, and put this issue up for public debate in Russia.
"I believe such actions may hurt our bilateral relations without public support. We are convinced that the commission should do this job well and we are ready to promote its effective work and we will pray for prompt completion of its work," he said.
Ilia II, in turn, thanked Patriarch Kirill for the recognition of the Moscow Patriarchate "of the unity of the Georgian Orthodox Church in Abkhazia and Tskhinvali," adding that the reason for the problems in Russian-Georgian relations lies in the issue of Abkhazia and South Ossetia.
"I believe we should be close friends and we should have mutual understanding in all issues, including the issue of Abkhazia and Tskhinvali […] Russia needs a united Georgia, and Georgia needs a strong Russia. We need each other, and therefore this issue has to be resolved sooner or later, and the sooner it will happen the better it will be not only for Russia and Georgia, but also for Abkhazia and Ossetia," Ilia II said.