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Wednesday, July 13
During Georgia visit, Pope Francis plans ttrip to Mtskheta & Mass at stadium

Pope Francis will visit the Svetitskhoveli Cathedral in Mtskheta and celebrate Mass at a stadium in Tbilisi during his visit to Georgia between September 30-October 1, the Holy Sea press office said on Monday.

On the first day of his visit, the Pope will meet President Giorgi Margvelashvili in the presidential palace in Tbilisi and then the head of the Georgian Orthodox Church, Patriarch Ilia II, on September 30.

On the same day, Pope Frances is also scheduled to meet the Assyrian-Chaldean community at the Catholic Chaldean Church.

On October, 1 he will celebrate Mass at the Mikheil Meskhi Stadium in Tbilisi, which has a capacity of over 25,000.

He will also visit the Roman Catholic cathedral in Tbilisi and then meet charity workers at the Assistance Centre of the Camillian Order.

Pope Francis will then travel to Mtskheta, one of Georgia’s oldest towns, to visit the 11th century Svetitskhoveli Cathedral.

Pope Francis, who visited Armenia last month, will leave Tbilisi and head to Azerbaijan on the morning of October 2.

It will be the second time a pope has visited Georgia; Pope John Paul II visited Georgia in November 1999, and he celebrated Mass at the Sports Palace in Tbilisi.

In September, 2014 then-Secretary for Relations with States of the Holy See Archbishop Dominique Mamberti visited Tbilisi – the first visit of the Vatican’s foreign ministers to travel to Georgia in eleven years.

Before that, the Holy See’s Secretary for Relations with States - the post of which at the time was held by Jean-Louis Tauran - visited Tbilisi in September 2003, to sign an interstate agreement giving the Catholic Church in Georgia legal status. But in a last-minute discussion, yielding to pressure from the Georgian Orthodox Church, the Georgian authorities reversed their deciison and refused to sign the agreement. In 2011, despite protests from the Georgian Orthodox Church, the Georgian authorities adopted a law allowing religious minority groups to be registered as legal entities under public law, which, among others, was also used by several branches of the Roman Catholic Church in Georgia. Adoption of the legislation was welcomed by the Vatican. (

Ukraine’s police chief claims her native Georgia plans to revoke citizenship

A former Georgian government official who started a new career as head of Ukraine’s police force claims the government of her native country is threatening to revoke her citizenship.

Khatia Dekanoidze was education minister during the tenure President Mikheil Saakashvili, but after the United National Movement Party lost the election in 2012, she left her country along with many other of her party and found a new position in Ukraine’s new government after the 2014 Kiev revolution.

The United National Movement and the current ruling Georgian Dream coalition are fierce enemies and frequently trade accusations of engaging in political games.

Dekanoidze told Ukrainian online newspaper that the proceedings to revoke her Georgian citizenship have been launched. She currently holds dual Georgian-Ukrainian citizenship.

“A few days ago, I found out that proceedings have been launched to revoke my citizenship. I received the appropriate notice. According to Georgian legislation, a person who is engaged in politics abroad cannot be a citizen of Georgia. Let’s see what the arguments will be, but so far a decision hasn’t been made,” she told the Ukrainian outlet.

But Ukraine’s law on citizenship is less strict and allows Dekanoidze in theory to stay in her current position for two years with dual citizenship, writes.

Dekanoidze was appointed chief of Ukraine’s National Police in November, 2015. She was Georgia’s education minister from July to October in 2012. Earlier, she worked at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

President Giorgi Margvelashvili revoked ex-President Mikheil Saakashvili’s citizenship in December 2015 after Saakashvili, who is now governor of Odessa in Ukraine, became a citizen of Ukraine. Georgian legislation allows someone who has lost their citizenship to send a new application for dual citizenship. Such an application needs to be approved by the president.

When billionaire Bidzina Ivanishvili first went into politics at the end of 2011, Saakashvili revoked the businessman’s Georgian citizenship because of the law which prohibits dual citizenship — the same law which the current government is using against him. (DF watch)

Salome Zurabishvili, Beka Odisharia, Koba Narchemashvili, Solomon Pavliashvili on Georgian Dream's alleged electoral list

Georgian Dream is getting ready to present its election list. The new faces of the party will be announced in Saguramo tomorrow. According to the Chairman of Georgian Dream party, the election list will be finalised before July 18.

However, conflicting reports in the media have led to different versions of the list being made public. According one of them, Salome Zurabishvili, a former Foreign Minister, is in the list, and she may be the majoritarian candidate of the Mtatsminda district. Beka Odisharia may become another face of the party.

"I cannot confirm anything. Currently I am the Director General of my own company and Honorary Consul of Latvia," Beka Odisharia stated.

It is also reported that Georgian Dream offered Koba Narchemashvili, a former Interior Minister, to be in the election list. (Rustavi 2)