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Continuing attacks on the Patriarch

By Messenger Staff
Monday, December 14
Certain developments give us grounds to assume that the attacks on the Georgian Orthodox Church, and against Catholicos-Patriarch of all Georgia Ilia II personally, have taken on a permanent character. Some analysts suggest that a long term campaign of discrediting the Patriarch and Patriarchate is going on.

This campaign began with the mocking and dirty video clips of Ilia II disseminated anonymously on the internet and then spread by Tea Tutberidze. Who is Tea Tutberidze? She is a hero of the Rose Revolution, an inexperienced person enslaved by a severe dogma, one of the leaders of the Kmara (Enough) Movement and a member of the ideological hub of the Rose Revolution, the Liberty Institute. But that attack was not enough. A second was launched, in the form of a letter signed by 230 people asking Ilia II certain provocative questions.

Analysts suggest that Tutberidze, the Liberty Institute and other ideologists of the Rose administration are behind these acts. Some go further and say that since the Liberty Institute is the main ideological pillar of the Rose Revolution administration the letter is part of a plot to launch a continuous attack of the Patriarch and the Church. It is hard to predict what the result of these attacks will be but they could be pretty serious, and not exactly what those behind these attacks would expect.

Tutberidze and her team asked the Patriarch 27 questions and the Government 14. They suggested that the Church should answer them in order to free the country from its Soviet heritage once and for all. They also said that the questions they were asking the administration were very important from the point of view of the democratic development of the country and establishing the rule of law. This statement confirms that the signatories of the letter believe there is serious conflict between the Georgian State and the Georgian Orthodox Church.

The Patriarchate is not going to answer any of the questions, whereas the questions asked of the leadership will most probably be answered by the President personally, at least this is what has been said by his press spokesperson. The answers the President gives will be very interesting, and might reveal some very important answers to many other questions as well, because so far the President had distanced himself from attacks on the Patriarch.

The questions asked of the Patriarch raise extra questions. They look as if they are not simple questions, but ones drafted by a serious analytical centre. Some analysts suggest that Tutberidze and her friends are not sophisticated enough to have drafted them, as they contain information or misinformation available only to special services.

During the first attack on the Patriarch the Georgian public was shocked and could not react adequately. The second attack consolidated the people around the Patriarch and his supporters. There is a clear popular protest against the initiators of these actions but no clear cut action plan as to how to conduct this protest. This however may change, as they may serve as the catalyst for protests against the administration based on moral and religion rather than political factors, which may have more chance of success than demonstrations led by an opposition the public has lost faith in.

The anti-Patriarch campaign began just after he indirectly criticised Saakashvili for not avoiding war with Russia. Maybe this is a coincidence but it is how it is. Maybe some think tanks in the Government want to discredit the Patriarch to protect the authorities from popular discontent. However in the reality such conduct creates more hostility to the authorities than the Patriarch. So there is a possibility that the deep Orthodox faith of the population may rouse it to protect the Church against secularism and thus undermine the Western values to which our state is committed.