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The News in Brief

Monday, November 24
Orthodox Church celebrates St. Giorgi's Day

The Georgian Orthodox Church marked St. Giorgi’s Day on November 23. Catholicos-Patriarch of All Georgia, His Holiness and Beatitude Ilia II, served the festal Liturgy at Sameba Cathedral.

St. Giorgi (George) is considered to be the Georgian nation's protector, and he is especially beloved in Georgia. He was a soldier of the Roman Empire and later became a Christian martyr. Giorgi was a member of the personal guard attached to Roman Emperor Diocletian (reigned 284–305). In 303, Diocletian issued an edict authorizing the systematic persecution of Christians across the Empire. George was ordered to take part in the persecution but instead confessed to being a Christian himself and criticised the imperial decision. An enraged Diocletian proceeded to order the torture of this apparent traitor and his execution. The Orthodox Church celebrates St. Giorgi's Day twice a year: on May 6, the day of his death and November 23, the day of his torture on a wheel. The latter is called the Georgian celebration, because it was taken to other churches from Georgia.
(The Messenger)

November 23 declared Day of Solidarity

November 23 has been declared the Day of Solidarity in Georgia. Its purpose is to support and assist people damaged by the Russian aggression.

The idea of a Day of Solidarity was proposed by prominent Georgians on November 20. Georgian writers, singers, composers and Government members will take part in a Week of Solidarity, which will see various activities taking place.
(The Messenger)

UK supports sovereignty and territorial integrity of Georgia

The United Kingdom supports the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Georgia, it was stated at a meeting between the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Georgia and the United Kingdom’s Special Representative for the South Caucasus, Sir Brian Fall, at the Georgian Foreign Ministry on Saturday, November 22, the Press and Information Department of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Georgia reports.

At the meeting the sides discussed the current situation in Georgia, the role of the EU and OSCE in the ongoing processes and the Geneva talks. British Ambassador to Georgia Denis Keefe and the Desk Officer for Georgia on Political-Military Issues at the UK’s Foreign and Commonwealth Office, Melanie Scarlett, also attended the meeting.
(Black Sea Press)

Scientists estimate ecological damage

Georgian scientists have estimated the damage inflicted to the ecology of Georgia as a result of the Russian military aggression in August this year.

According to the report “Ecological disaster caused by war in Georgia,” prepared by the scientists of the Georgian National Academy of Sciences, the Black Sea coastal strip, Gori and its surrounding territories and the Ateni and Borjomi Gorges, were the main casualties of the ecological aggression carried out alongside the military one.

On August 9, 2008, 5 military vessels of the Georgian Navy and 3 patrol cutters of the Georgian Coast Guard were sunk by Russian occupiers near Poti Port. As a result, 50 tonnes of oil products, diesel and oil itself split into the Black Sea. This oil layer spread northward and reached Kolkheti National Park. According to Tengiz Urushadze, Associate Member of the Georgian National Academy of Sciences, there is a danger that the coast and sea ecosystem could be destroyed by this oil slick. Now, there is no information about the location and the diffusion direction of the slick. The sunken ships are being pulled out of port waters, but this may cause the spilling of additional oil products, so work to clean the sea should start after this operation finishes.

The August developments have also caused a problem with drinking water supplies to the Gori population of about 60,000. On August 27, 2008, five tests for absolute chemical and bacteriological analysis were undertaken on water taken from the Gori water pipe network by staff of the National Disease Control Centre and the Gamma company. The research, undertaken according to International Standards Organisation methods, proved that micro-biological characteristics observed were contrary to those laid down in drinking water regulations. This confirms that primary treatment of the drinking water has not been done in the main facility due to the difficult situation. The nearest water cleaning facilities are situated in the Variani and Karaleti villages.
(Black Sea Press)