Georgian Church Dismayed as Russian Patriarch Salutes New Tskhinvali Leader
The Patriarchate of the Georgian Orthodox Church (GOC) has expressed dismay over Patriarch Kirill (Vladimir Gundyayev) of Moscow congratulating Alan Gagloev on the victory in the South Ossetian leadership race.
The Georgian Orthodox Patriarchate’s statement, dated May 16, said Patriarch Kirill’s congratulatory message “raises misunderstandings” as the Russian Church recognizes the jurisdiction of the GOC on the territory of the region.
Further as, the Patriarchate asserted, “the Church of Georgia, the Georgian state, and the international community also acknowledge the internationally recognized borders of Georgia, and consider the administrations operating in the occupied territories as occupation regime[s].”
“It is unfortunate that today when every attempt to strengthen relations between Orthodox Churches proves crucial, such steps are taken that negatively affect the current state of affairs and complicate the situation.”
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Russian Patriarch’s Letter to Gagloev
“Possessing a significant administrative experience and strategic vision of the priority tasks of state-building and security of the country, you have worked for many years for the benefit of your compatriots,” the Russian Patriarch addressed Gagloev on May 13.
The Head of the Russian Orthodox Church said “thousands of people pin hopes for positive changes in the social and economic sphere of South Ossetia, for the dynamic development and prosperity of the region on your election as the head of the Republic.”
In the note, Patriarch Kirill of Moscow also expressed confidence that “good interaction of the religious communities with the authorities and all well-intentioned forces can make an important contribution to the establishment of eternal moral ideals, saving the people and preservation of national culture.”
41-year-old Alan Gagloev, head of the opposition Nykhas party, defeated incumbent “president” Anatoly Bibilov in the runoff on May 8.
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