Tbilisi, May 16, Interfax - Georgian Patriarchate urged to prevent a schism between the Orthodox Abkhazians.
"It appears that the cause of this congress is an internal standoff. We ask the congress participants and all Orthodox believers living in Abkhazia to raise above the processes inspired by outside forces (which are the cause of the existing standoffs) and to restore with love and peace the canonical unity between us," the Patriarchate said in a statement on Sunday.
"We have always been open to meetings and talks with the Abkhaz clergy and laity," the Patriarchate said.
The ecclesiastical congress, which took place at the New Athos Monastery in Abkhazia on Sunday, adopted an appeal to the Primates and Holy Synods of all Orthodox Churches, asking to set up an inter-Orthodox commission led by a representative of the Ecumenical Patriarch, to discuss the canonical status of the "Abkhaz Church".
The congress created an archdiocese with an arch-see in New Athos.
"The arch-see will gradually transform into an independent Abkhaz Church," said Archimandrite Dorofey (Dbar), chairman of the ecclesiastical congress.