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Georgian Patriarchate Says statements of Ukrainian Media on Autocephaly are False

By Gvantsa Gabekhadze
Tuesday, October 9
The Georgian Patriarchate says that the reports of the Ukrainian media as if the Georgian Church supported the autocephaly of the Ukrainian Church are not true.

A special statement made by the Patriarchate on Monday reads that both Russians and Ukrainians are spreading wrong information regarding the position of the Georgian church to the issue.

“The similar fact occurred after the visit of the Chairman of the Ukrainian Rada (Parliament) to the Georgian Patriarchate. Ukrainian media outlets reported as if the Georgian Church supported the autocephaly of the Ukrainian Church, which is not true.

“At the meeting, the guest said that they are seeking to obtain the autocephaly of the United Church of Ukraine,” Georgian church says.

The Patriarchate said that they refrain from making assessments until the Patriarchates of Constantinople and Moscow state their final decisions.

The Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople declared about his decision to start the process of granting autocephaly to the Orthodox Church in Ukraine on September 23, which caused Kremlin's outrage.

The Russian Orthodox Church’s Synodal Department for the Church’s relations with society and the mass media, Vladimir Legoida, stated that the decision of Bartholomew will trigger more seizures of Orthodox churches by the radicals.

“If the plan for autocephaly is implemented, one can speculate that with a high degree of probability more attempts at taking over church buildings will follow," Legoida said.

Divisions between rival Orthodox factions have sharpened in Ukraine since Russia’s annexation of Crimea in 2014 and the outbreak of a Kremlin-backed separatist insurgency in the eastern Donbass region.

To achieve an independent national church, Ukraine needs the formal backing of the Ecumenical Patriarch in Turkey, the spiritual leader of Orthodox Christians.

The Russian Orthodox Church has already protested by breaking off ties with Istanbul in September.