2019-01-09 18:55:00

If Georgia recognizes Ukraine's autocephaly, Russia to recognize Abkhaz Church's independence - Burjanadze

Tbilisi, January 9, Interfax - If the Georgian Orthodox Church recognizes the autocephaly of the Orthodox Church of Ukraine, the Russian Orthodox Church will recognize the Abkhaz Church's independence, Nino Burjanadze, the leader of the Georgian opposition party Democratic Movement and former parliamentary speaker, said on Wednesday.

"As regards the recognition by the Constantinople Patriarchate of Ukraine's autocephaly, the Georgian Patriarchate has assumed quite a cautious position, which is connected not only to the Church, but also to Georgia's future," Burjanadze said at a news briefing.

She criticized Georgian policymakers who have demanded that the Georgian Church immediately recognize the Orthodox Church of Ukraine's autocephaly.

"I would like to ask these gentlemen directly what is more important to us: Georgia's interests or general words on justice. The integrity of our country or the interests of the Ukrainian people? I respect all peoples, including the Ukrainian people, but for me, Georgia's interests stand above all else," she said.

The recognition of the Abkhaz Church's independence by the Russian Orthodox Church would have negative effects with respect to the restoration of Georgia's integrity, she said.

"I am sure that the Georgian Patriarchate will continue to act cautiously with regard to the recognition of the [Orthodox] Church of Ukraine's autocephaly, which, according to statements by a lot of experts in religion and theologians, is not that certain, contrary to the propaganda. We need to be focused on our own interests, not American or Western interests," she said.

The Holy Synod of the Georgian Church decided at its last session in 2018 to postpone the consideration of the Orthodox Church of Ukraine's autocephaly.