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Russia Sends Priest to Georgia to Serve Russian-Speaking Parish

By Tea Mariamidze
Thursday, May 17
Russian Orthodox Church will send their representative to Georgia in order to serve the Russian-language parish in the capital.

The information was released on the website of the Russian Patriarchate. According to the information, the decision of the Russian Orthodox Church synod had been agreed with the Georgian Church.

Vladimir Aleksandrov, the archpriest from Moscow will serve the Russian-speaking parish in the church of St. John the Baptist in Tbilisi and if necessary he will present the position of the Russian Orthodox Church in certain cases.

The Patriarchate of Georgia explains that the decision of the Russian church was agreed with the Georgian church, adding they also sent a priest from Georgia to Moscow – priest Kakhaber Gogotishvili, who has been serving for Georgian parish in Moscow for two months already.

“If we sent our representative, naturally they also have such a legitimate right,” Michael Botkoveli, the Secretary of Georgia’s Catholicos-Patriarch stated, adding this is a long-lasting tradition and it is not necessary to “dramatize” the issue.

He explained that the exchange of priests is not in interest of Russia or Georgia but in interest of the parish in the two countries.

Some Georgian theologians believe that the main aim of the arrival of a Russian priest in Georgia is to strengthen the influence of Russian Church in the country.

“We cannot look at such steps positively. I think that in this case, the Russian Church once again reinforces its positions in order to create alternative opportunities for various missions or interests in relation to Georgia," said theologian Lado Narsia.

However, some theologians say there are not many Russian-speaking priests in Georgia and the decision of the Russian Church aims at solving this problem.

“This priest will only serve the Russian-speaking parish. There is nothing strange in this,” Levan Abashidze, Georgian theologian said.