Georgian Church Leader Says His Moscow Visit Was ‘Useful’


Patriarch of the Georgian Orthodox Church, Ilia II, said that his week-long visit to Moscow was “very important and useful for our country, our church.”

He was in Moscow from November 18 to November 24 to participate in celebration of Russian Orthodox Church leader Kirill’s 65th birthday. He held talks with the Russian Patriarch and also met with Russian President, Dmitry Medvedev, together with other heads of delegations of the Orthodox Churches from several other countries, who were visiting Moscow for the Russian Patriarch’s 65th birthday celebration.

“We focused on the fate of refugees and talked about the issue of refugees; there is a hope that they will be able to return back to their homes,” Ilia II said after arrival from Moscow.

While the Georgian Patriarch was visiting Moscow, President Saakashvili has twice slammed the Russian Orthodox Church on two separate occasions, calling it “the Kremlin’s branch”, which had “declared a crusade for restoration of the Soviet Union.”

“You know that the Russian [Orthodox] Church has declared a crusade for restoration of the Soviet Union, that means, for putting an end to Georgia’s independence,” Saakashvili said on November 22, referring to remarks by head of the Russian Orthodox Church, Kirill, who said last week that the collapse of the Soviet Union was negative event.

Next day, on November 23, while unveiling a statue to former U.S. President Ronald Reagan, Saakashvili said: ““Russian Orthodox Church, which is directly the Kremlin’s branch, declared a crusade for restoration of the Soviet Union and called the former Soviet Union territory, including Georgia, ‘historic parts of Russia’ which should be returned back to Russia.”

“No matter how many crusades they will declare for restoration of the Soviet Union and no matter how many prayers or curses KGB-uniform elements in the north from us will say, freedom will definitely prevail and any attempt of restoration of the Soviet Union will lead to further destabilization of Russia and will lead this state – which deserves much better fate – to the verge of collapse,” he added.


Civil Georgia is a daily news online service devoted to delivering quality news and analysis about Georgia. Civil.Ge is run by The UN Association of Georgia, a Georgian non-governmental organization, in frames of ‘National Integration and Tolerance in Georgia’ Program financed by USAID. Civil Georgia is also supported by Friedrich Ebert Stiftung.

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