Ilia II might meet Russian Patriarch in Baku
By Mzia Kupunia
Thursday, November 5Georgian Patriarch Ilia II left for Baku on November 4 to attend the 60th birthday of Allashukur Pasha-Zade, Caucasus Muslim Council Head and spiritual leader of Azerbaijan. Russian Patriarch Kyril, Pope Benedict XVI and other spiritual leaders are also expected to attend the celebrations on November 6.
Contradictory reports have been spread concerning a possible meeting between the Georgian and Russian Patriarchs, which would be their first, in Baku. On October 26 the Georgian Patriarchate’s Press Service reported that Ilia II and Kyril of Russia would meet in Baku before the official ceremonies began. The information agency Pirveli also reported on November 3, citing the Georgian Patriarch’s Press Secretary Father Mikael Botkoveli, that the two Patriarchs would meet in the Azerbaijani capital. Later on that day however the Patriarchate said that this meeting would “most probably” not be held “due to the lack of time.”
Meanwhile the Russian Patriarchate’s Press Centre has posted on its website that the meeting of the Patriarchs of Russia and Georgia was still likely to be held in Baku. “The Russian Patriarch will visit Baku on November 6 to participate in the celebrations. The same day he will meet the President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev. A meeting with Ilia II of Georgia is also on the agenda,” the posting says.
According to the Georgian Patriarchate’s Press Service Ilia II is only planning to meet the President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev and Allashukur Pasha-Zade during the visit. He will also attend the conference of world Christian and Muslim leaders on November 6. The sides will discuss the necessity of peaceful coexistence in the Caucasus, Father Mikael Botkoveli said.
The Georgian Patriarchate delegation will return to Georgia on November 8.