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Patriarch was not target of attack

By Gvantsa Gabekhadze
Monday, February 20
After controversy and speculation, Georgia’s Chief Prosecutor’s Office now says that Patriarch Ilia II was not the target of an alleged murder by the currently-detained 31-year-old clergyman, Giorgi Mamaladze.

The Office’s comments in local newspaper Rezonansi came after they stated about an alleged murder of a “high-ranking spiritual figure” that was understood by many as a possible attack on Patriarch Ilia II.

Prime Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili and members of the government stressed that shortly after the Office’s earlier statements, the country had avoided a “huge disaster” through detaining Father Giorgi Mamaladze, who was allegedly seeking to acquire cyanide before leaving for Germany, where Ilia II underwent an operation on gallbladder.

There are now speculations that the person who was the alleged target of the attack was the Patriarch’s female secretary, Shorena Tetruashvili, a very controversial personality.

After the Prosecutor’s Office's most recent comments, the government and members of the parliamentary majority, as well as the Prime Minister, continued to claim that a tragedy had been avoided.

Meanwhile, the Office was criticized by the opposition for making misleading statements that affected the church’s reputation and caused inaccurate assessments.

The opposition started collecting of signatures to demand the resignation of Chief Prosecutor Irakli Shotadze.

The opposition also did not exclude the possibility of making statement in agreement with the ruling team in order to overshadow a range of economic and social problems.

Several days ago, Georgia’s Chief Prosecutor’s Office announced that they had detained archpriest Giorgi Mamaladze, the deputy head of the Patriarchate’s Property Management Service and director general of the Patriarchate’s medical centre, at Tbilisi International Airport, from where he intended to depart for Germany on February 10.

Chief Prosecutor Shotadze said that Mamaladze was attempting to acquire cyanide, and the man from whom he tried to receive the substance informed the police that the archpriest intended to kill a high ranking spiritual figure.

The Office did not say that the person whose murder was allegedly planned was necessarily the Patriarch.

Mamaladze’s lawyer and family claim the man is innocent.

Some members of the church claim that Mamaladze knew about various financial and property-related violations within the church, which is why he was “trapped by some people involved in illegalities.” They named Tetruashvili as a “key wrongdoer”.

On Saturday, Mamaladze was transferred to a hospital from prison. His doctors claim he is suffering from pneumonia.

Meanwhile, Obiektivi TV has released the Patriarch’s address from Germany.

“Unfortunately I had to go to Germany for surgery, which was conducted successfully. Results are good and doctors will also make comments on it. I have known Giorgi Mamaladze for a long time and I have not seen or heard anything bad from him,” Ilia II said.

There are several versions of Patriarch's comment about the issue and there are controversial comments about them, so Georgian population anticipates with great interests Patriarch's return and comments about this awkward and unpleasant story.