Georgian Theologian: Russian Orthodox Church Trying to Discredit Bishops Who Support Ukraine
A prominent theologian from Georgia has said that Russia is trying to discredit Bishops who support Ukraine and the newly independent Ukrainian Orthodox Church
Photo Ukrinform – UATV
Georgian theologian Giorgi Tiginashvili made this assertion in a letter to Metropolitan of the Russian Orthodox Church Hilarion Alfeyev, which was obtained by Ukrinform.
“You are using the authority of the Catholicos-Patriarch [referring to the patriarch of Georgia] to neutralize and marginalize others, to discredit those who support the autocephaly of the Ukrainian church, to create insidious stigma, according to which those who support fraternal Ukraine may be accused of a confrontation with the Catholicos-Patriarch, which is an extremely insidious and brazen attempt!” the Georgian theologian wrote in a letter to Alfeyev.
In December 2018, the coordinator of the Information Resistance group, Dmytro Tymchuk, said that the Russian Orthodox Church, as part of measures to prevent the recognition of autocephaly of the Ukrainian church by other Orthodox churches, was “seriously bargaining” with the supreme clergy of the Georgian Orthodox Church (GOC).
According to Tymchuk, the head of the department of external church relations of the Russian Orthodox Church, Metropolitan Hilarion Alfeyev visited Georgia on December 10 and transferred to the Georgian Orthodox Church a fraction of the relics of Venerable-Confessor Tamara Mardzhanova, which the GOC has been asking for many years. After the “gift” was presented and a joint liturgy was held, according to Tymchuk, Metropolitan Hilarion also submitted documents to GOC representatives expressing the persistent position of the Russian Orthodox Church on the issue of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, that is not recognizing its autocephaly.
Tymchuk also said that Patriarch of All Georgia Elias II noted that the Georgian side would carefully study the documents submitted by Moscow and Constantinople and would make a final decision on this issue during a regular session of the Holy Synod.
On December 27, a meeting of the Holy Synod of the GOC was held to discuss the recognition of the autocephaly of the Ukrainian church, but the Holy Synod then refrained from taking a specific decision until a resolution by the Ecumenical Patriarch was made public. It was also reported that the Georgian Orthodox Church is likely to support autocephaly of the Ukrainian church, but the final decision has not yet been made.
On January 5, Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew signed a Tomos of autocephaly of the Orthodox Church of Ukraine. On January 6, the Patriarchal Church of St. George in Istanbul hosted a Tomos handover ceremony and a divine liturgy that was concelebrated by Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew and Head of the Orthodox Church of Ukraine, Metropolitan of Kyiv and All Ukraine Epiphanius. Subsequently, the Tomos was signed by all members of the Synod of the Ecumenical Patriarchate.
The ceremony of enthronement of Head of the Orthodox Church of Ukraine, Metropolitan of Kyiv and All Ukraine Epiphanius took place at Saint Sophia Cathedral in Kyiv on February 3, and it completed all the procedures that affirm the autocephaly of the Orthodox Church of Ukraine.