The messenger logo

Georgia’s Patriarchate slams Russian Catholicos-Patriarch Kirill

By Tea Mariamidze
Monday, September 23
Georgian Patriarchate criticizes Russian Catholicos-Patriarch Kirill for sending a congratulatory message to de facto President of Russian-occupied Abkhazia, Raul Khajimba on his victory in the recent ‘presidential elections.´

The statement released by the Georgian Church reads that although no text of congratulations has been posted on the official website of Moscow’s Patriarchate, they decided to express their opinion since the Russian Patriarchate has not denied sending the congratulatory note either.

“Abkhazia should be perceived within Georgia's borders. Neither the Russian Church denies this and recognizes the jurisdiction of the Georgian Church in this area. However, actions of His Holiness Kirill are incomprehensible to us and are perceived as encouragement of separatism, which is a hindrance to peaceful relations between Georgians and Abkhazians,” the statement reads.

Georgian Patriarchate expressed hope that the Russian Church will respect Georgia's territorial integrity and, based on Christian traditions, will help normalize relations between Georgia and Russia, Georgians and Abkhazians, Georgians and Ossetians.

In his official address to Khajimba, the Russian Patriarch reminded the new ‘president-elect’ of breakaway Abkhazia the expectations of the population of Abkhazia for improved living conditions, as well as positive changes in the social and economic spheres.

Moreover, Patriarch Kirill expressed hope that Khajimba will pay much attention to the preservation of Christian traditions and enhancement of consolidation and agreement among the public.

The so-called presidential elections of Abkhazia were held on September 8 and saw Raul Khajimba obtaining 47.38% of votes in the second round.

To note, President of Russia Vladimir Putin also sent a congratulatory letter to Khajimba, hoping his activities as ’president’ will continue to contribute strengthening „Russian-Abkhaz relations based on the principles of alliance and strategic partnership.”

„Russia will continue to render friendly assistance to Abkhazia in the full resolution of the tasks of socio-economic development and national security,” Putin’s address reads.

A self-declared president of Georgia’s breakaway Abkhazia, Raul Khajimba was ’elected’ in September 2014. Before that, he was serving as the de facto Prime Minister in 2003-2004 and after that in 2005-2019 as the so-called Vice President of the occupied region.

Two months after his ’presidency’ in 2014 he signed a controversial treaty with Russian president deepening ties between Abkhazia and Russia. Provisions of the agreement included placing the Abkhazian military under the direct control of Russia's armed forces and committing Abkhazia toward aligning its trade laws with the Eurasian Economic Union. The so-called treaty was widely condemned by the West and Georgia.