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Opposition offers parliament to adopt resolution on Ukrainian Church

By Tea Mariamidze
Monday, March 11
Opposition party European Georgia has submitted a draft resolution to the parliament, which envisages recognition of the independence of the Ukrainian Church.

The draft was initiated by the European Georgia member Elene Khoshtaria and it reads that the aim of the project is to support the Ukrainian government in obtaining autonomy of the Church, which means strengthening the sovereignty of Ukraine “by exempting from the Russian Church - the instrument of Russian aggression and imperial policy.”

“The Parliament of Georgia welcomes the establishment of autocephaly of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church and believes that this historic event is the victory of the freedom of faith and belief and a great step towards strengthening the sovereignty of the country, congratulates the Ukrainian people with the most important achievement of centuries of struggle," the draft resolution reads.

Ukraine’s Church gained independence from Russia when World Patriarch Bartholomew signed the Tomos on autocephaly of the Ukrainian Church on January 5.

The Ukrainian Church had been under Moscow’s jurisdiction since 1686, when, under pressure from Russia, it abandoned allegiance to Constantinople, the historical seat of the Eastern Orthodox Church, now known as Istanbul.

The Tomos declares that the Metropolitan of Kiev and all Ukraine, representing the Holy Synod of Ukrainian bishops, should turn to the Patriarchate of Constantinople for all decisions in future.

A group of Georgian citizens, part of the opposition parties and some clerics called on the Patriarchate of Georgia to recognize the independence of the Ukrainian Church from Moscow and to congratulate the friend-state on its important achievement.

In mid-February, Ukraine’s Foreign Minister, Pavlo Klimkin, stated that Georgia's recognition of the Ukrainian Church autocephaly is just "a matter of time."

“We believe we will gradually gain recognition from all Orthodox Churches...I am 100% convinced that we will get recognition and of course the Georgian Church is among them,” he said.

The Georgian government has not made any official statement regarding the Ukrainian Church autocephaly yet. In mid-January, Georgian Foreign Minister David Zalkaliani said Georgia is happy and welcomes any step that promotes Ukraine's independence, territorial integrity and sovereignty.

Zalkaliani said the spread information that the government has not expressed its position regarding the issue and remains silent is not true.

“We welcome any steps that promote Ukraine's independence, territorial integrity and sovereignty. Why would not we be happy with this fact? I do not think it's a restraint. Ukraine is our strategic partner and we cooperate in many strategic formats,” he said.

However, Zalkaliani added that the issue should be decided within the frames of the Georgian Orthodox Church.

Part of the Georgian opposition parties has repeatedly criticized the government for not making an official statement regarding the issue.