Georgian Church condemns political statements from clergy, calls for peace and unity

Tbilisi, March 9, 2023

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Both state institutions and society need to be careful and work hard to maintain peace and unity if the country hopes to progress, says the Georgian Orthodox Church in a statement published yesterday against the background of the unrest in Tbilisi.

The Patriarchate also distances itself from the radical political statements that circulate from individual clerics.

Thousands of people took to the streets in protest in Tbilisi this week after the “On Transparency of Foreign Influence” draft law passed in its first reading in Parliament. The law would require any organization, such as media outlets, that receives more than 20% of its funding from abroad to register as a foreign agent.

While other nations, such as the United States, have their own foreign agents laws, many in Georgia are protesting what they characterize a “Russian” law. The protests have turned violent and dozens have been arrested. President Salome Zourabichvili has promised to veto the law.

The EU, which Georgian authorities hope to join, called the passing of the bill “a very bad development for Georgia and its people.”

Amidst this tense atmosphere in Georgian society, the Patriarchate states:

We want to respond to the developments in Parliament. Our country is going through the most difficult path of becoming a strong state, for which we need to be extremely careful both on the part of state institutions and society.

The Church, as the greatest unifier and protector of our nation and country, fervently prays for peace and unanimity.

We believe that due to the difficult situation in our neighborhood, maintaining a peaceful course and the country’s independence is the only starting point for the country’s progress. We consider polarizing radical statements as an attempt to disturb the peace, whichever side they come from, especially from clergy.

The sermons and speeches of individual clergymen are circulated on social networks, in which they touch on political topics, whether it be excessive “sympathy” for the northern neighbor or radical criticism of the state.

We unequivocally state that such attitudes are alien to the official vision of the Church and, in general, the Christian spirit, which has been repeatedly observed and voiced in the official positions of the Patriarchate and in the personal statements of the Catholicos-Patriarch of Georgia about the path of European integration.

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Pfmd3/19/2023 11:49 pm
Dave: The “humanity” that you refer to, is that the same humanity the Ukraine government (with US/NATO WEAPONS) utilized to bomb civilian settlements in the Donbass for fourteen years and continue to bomb the same civilian locations during the present fight for liberty? Is that the same humanity the Ukrainian government is utilizing to arrest Orthodox priests and hierarchs and for the torture and murder of Ukrainians that speak Russian or practice their Orthodox religion? Is that the same humanity Ukrainian officials use to duct-tape to telephone polls anyone that speaks Russian in Ukraine? Is the same humanity that the Anglos utilized to bomb Serbia in 1990 without any provocation other than for being an Orthodox country? You are a hypocrite as are the other phony Orthodox believers on this site. When you find yourself and your proponents on the side of the “winners”/“oppressors” you speak of the nonsense of humanity and prayer. When you find yourself on the “losers” side you scream “bloody murder” and advocate for war and defeat of Russia and its Orthodox people by any means including defeat by Nazis.
David3/10/2023 3:00 am
The Georgian Patriarchate has chosen the Gospel path. We know that both Washington and Moscow are fooling around in Georgia. Trust in Divine Providence, humility and remembering the humanity of one's neighbor is the only way. Most Holy Mother of God, protect Georgia.
Michaël3/9/2023 10:03 pm
It's brave of them to be this neutral. It's also problematic that being neutral will be seen as supporting a potential coup.
Michaël 3/9/2023 3:36 pm
I hope they understand that there will never be an Orthodox Georgia in the EU.
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