27 September 2010, 17:41
Georgian spiritual leader criticizes Russian Patriarch for S. Ossetia message
Tbilisi, September 27, Interfax - The spiritual leader of the Georgian Orthodox Church has sent a letter to Russian Patriarch Kirill expressing concern over a message sent by the Russian Patriarch to the South Ossetian leader.
"Reports were circulated claiming that you have sent greetings to the head of the self-proclaimed republic of South Ossetia on the occasion of the 20th anniversary of its independence, which caused an extremely negative reaction among our believers and in the whole of the Georgian republic," Georgian Catholicos-Patriarch Ilia II said in his letter.
"This move is regrettable and absolutely not clear, as it signals support for and recognition of the forcibly imposed separatist regime, and of the illegally proclaimed 'independence' on this ancient Georgian land, which the whole world has acknowledged," Ilia II said.
"Our people remember your personal support and the support of the Russian Orthodox Church for the recognition of the canonical borders of Georgia and the Georgian Church. Therefore, the above-mentioned step was absolutely unexpected for us," he said in the letter. "We presume the Church must not be under the influence of politicians and political processes. We hope that in the future you will remain on the side of justice, which will facilitate the establishment of good neighborly relations between our states."
South Ossetia's State Committee for Information, Communication and Mass Media reported on its website on September 19 that Father Sergy, at a ceremonial meeting at the South Ossetian government's conference hall, ahead of the celebrations of the 20th anniversary of South Ossetia's independence, conveyed the Russian patriarch's greetings to the president and people of South Ossetia.
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