"Russian Church blackmails Georgian Patriarchate" - Claims Ukraine's Rada member
25 June, 2019
"Russian Church blackmails Georgian Patriarchate" - Claims Ukraine's Rada member
Victor Yelenskyj was the head of the Ukrainian delegation at that fateful Interparliamentary Ortho­dox Assembly in Tbilisi that sparked the protests still ongoing to this day. GEORGIA TODAY asked the Kiev-bound Yelenskyj for his insight and perspective on what actually happened when the Orthodox Communist debonair Gavrilov put his Kremlin-approved behind where it didn’t belong.

“I had a very lengthy document prepared on Inter-Orthodox Solidarity, but unfortunately, or fortunately, we never got that far,” Yelenskyj tells us. “My Georgian colleagues were
justifiably displeased at seeing the head of Russian delegation and if what I was told is true – that he participated in the war in Abkhazia, then I fully understand their position. As we exited the hotel, I saw a large crowd of people expressing their outrage at this and I too expressed my solidarity, as I have no doubts as to who the aggressor is in the Russia-Georgia conflict. The Russian media obviously reported that I was there to incite people to protest the Russian presence, but I don’t think Georgian society needs my help objecting to what they see as offensive and hypocritical. Later on, for safety reasons, I was taken to the Ukrainian Embassy.”

He tells us there is, in his opinion, no need for “Russian domination or a Kremlin agenda” at the Assembly. “Georgians, Romanians, Ukrainians, Serbians: there are plenty of Orthodox communities that do not need this agenda imposed on them. It’s only aim is for Russian politicians to masquerade as benevolent Christians, which they obviously are not,” he says.

Yet that doesn’t stop the more anti-Western minded societies in both our countries from claiming that despite all the Kremlin machinations, Russians are “brothers in the same faith”.

Russia is country that has invaded at least three Orthodox countries: Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine. What kind of an orthodox solidarity are we talking about here? Which biblical teachings tell you to invade, kill and bomb people you consider “your brothers”? It’s a hypocrisy the Kremlin is very fond of. And it’s a wide known fact that the Moscow Patriarchate is just another weapon in the Kremlin arsenal. What kind of Church gives its blessing to nuclear weapons? Look at the Ukrainian Church’s autocephaly: Putin convened the Security Council to combat it; Russian hackers tried to hack the website of the Patriarchate in Constantinople. These don’t seem to me as acts of brothers in the same faith, but rather those of an enemy who uses religion as a weapon. I think every sensible person in Georgia and Ukraine realizes that.

Regarding the Ukrainian autocephaly, the very same anti-Western narrative followers point the finger at Ukraine and say “look, they’ve got their Tomos and now they are at each other’s throats.” How much truth is in that?

There is no split and no we are not at each other’s throats. What is happening is that a high-ranking figure inside the Church has a different opinion on certain issues. That is acceptable. There is a high-ranking archbishop in the Moscow Patriarchate that put Patriarch Kiril to anathema and said he will burn in hell, but do you hear about that in Russian media? No, because it’s not in the Kremlin’s interest. The truth is, the Orthodox Church of Ukraine is developing and expanding steadily, which is obviously something The Kremlin and the Moscow Patriarchate have come to detest. The process of recognition of our autocephaly is also showing considerable momentum, which again is a thorn in the Kremlin’s side.

The Georgian Orthodox Church is in no hurry to follow suit. What’s the Ukrainian perspective on that?

That’s one head of a two-pronged assault that the Kremlin is waging against the UOC. On one front, they’re trying to undermine the authority of the Constantinople Patriarchate; on the other they are resorting to pressure and outright blackmail on fellow Orthodox churches just to try and obstruct the process of recognition. It’s a badly kept secret that they are threatening recognition of the independence of churches in separatist Abkhazia and South Ossetia if the Georgian Church recognizes our autocephaly. But in the end, the Georgian Church will support us, because Georgia and Georgians know the true face of Russia and the Russian Church.

The article was prepared as part of the fellowship funded by the Institute of War and Peace Reporting (IWPR) within the Project “Giving Voice, Driving Change - from the Borderland to the Steppes.” The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of the Institute for War and Peace Reporting.

Photo courtesy: da.mfa.gov.ua

Author: Vazha Tavberidze

Related stories:




Print
Other Stories
Georgia’s PM, Ukraine’s President meet in Kiev
Prime Minister of Georgia Giorgi Gakharia, together with the heads of the GUAM countries, has met with President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky.
Parliament approved Supreme Court justices amid protests and clashes
Today the Parliament approved candidates for the Supreme Court in Georgia. Opposition parties claim that 20 candidates are politically biased.
Five Georgian soldiers injured in terrorist attack in Afghanistan
Five military servicemen of the Georgian contingent's rapid response unit were injured as a result of a terrorist attack at the Bagram Air Base in the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan.
Georgia chairs the Council of Europe: Why is it important for Eastern Europe?
The new PACE session beginning in January 2020 will be an arena of serious confrontation. The interests of Western and Eastern European countries are to confront.
Euronest Parliamentary Assembly calls on international community to use all available means to ensure release of illegally detained Georgian doctor
The Euronest Parliamentary Assembly has adopted a special statement regarding Vazha Gaprindashvili, the Georgian doctor who is in illegal detention in occupied Tskhinvali region.
Tbilisi hosts 8th ordinary session of Euronest Parliamentary Assembly
The 8th ordinary session of the Euronest Parliamentary Assembly - "Future Visions of the Eastern Partnership" has opened in Tbilisi.
Unrest in Mtskheta – Georgian dream activists attack opposition
During the opposition rally outside Mtskheta City Hall, supporters of the opposition and the Georgian Dream clashed with each other several times.
Surrounded Parliament and demonstrators – Police distracted protesters from picketing parliament in Tbilisi
Police had been blocking entrances to the parliament with metal structures since morning. Patrol Police Chief Vazha Siradze said the metal barricades have been installed due to security reasons.
Riot police used water cannons to disperse protesters in front of Parliament
The riot police used water cannons against the protesters gathered in front of the Parliament building in Tbilisi.
Parliament picket planned on November 26
Picketing is certainly not the best solution. Like what is happening in the streets is not good,
How to deal with Russia’s Hybrid Warfare?
How to deal with Russia’s Hybrid Warfare?
Riot police started to disperse protesters near the Georgian Parliament
Riot police appeared on Chitadze Street in the vicinity of the Government’s Administration building. They were brought by yellow buses there.
Georgian parliament picketed, demonstrations still going on
Building of the Georgian parliament is picketed, every entrance is blocked by the protesters and MPs cannot enter the building.
Disappointment over failure about constitutional amendment in the US, PACE
The Parliament has rejected the bill on constitutional amendments relating to the electoral system yesterday.
Georgian Parliament did not support transition to the proportional electoral system
The Parliament has rejected the bill on constitutional amendments relating to the electoral system in the first reading.
Interview with the US Charge d'Affairs Elizabeth Rood
Ministry of Defence of Georgia hosts the 13th annual Georgia Defence and Security Conference (GDSC) 2019 in Batumi, Hotel Hilton.
Adam Kinzinger speaks about bipartisan support to Georgia at GDSC
Republicans and Democrats disagree in many things but we are united when it has to do with Georgia,
Georgia Defence and Security Conference opened in Batumi
Georgia is hosting the 13th Georgia Defence and Security Conference (GDSC) in Batumi on Wednesday.
German ambassador to Georgia calls for Tskhinvali and Moscow to learn the lessons of the Berlin Wall
It would be good for those in charge in Tskhinvali and Moscow to learn the lessons of the Berlin Wall,
Bidzina Ivanishvili is ready to sell Panorama Tbilisi project
I am ready to hand over the project to interested businessmen at any stage,
US House of Representatives passes bipartisan Georgia Support Act
The United States House of Representatives has passed the bipartisan Georgia Support Act,
Georgian MFA concerned over “illegal process of borderization”
The Georgian Foreign Ministry expressed concern over the renewed illegal process of installing artificial barriers and barbed wire fences at the occupation line in the village of Atotsi, Kareli Municipality.
German President arrives in Tbilisi, welcomes dialogue between Georgian, Russian FMs
German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier welcomes resumption of dialogue between Georgia and Russia at the level of Foreign Ministers.
Rose Gottemoeller visits Georgia
This visit is an opportunity to deepen and strengthen our cooperation with Georgia even further.
Georgia needs to find peace to evolve, former Swiss ambassador says
One year before the elections the former Swiss ambassador Lukas Beglinger is sure that the country will soon face big changes.
PHOTO OF THE DAY
GEL Exchange Rate
Convertor
11.12.2019
12.12.2019
USD
1
USD
2.9089
2.8896
EUR
1
EUR
3.2210
3.2028
GBP
1
GBP
3.8319
3.8004
RUB
100
RUB
4.5697
4.5482
Other Stories
On 26 May, Jean-Claude Juncker, President of the European Commission, joined celebrations in the Georgian capital of Tbilisi
Violation of Georgia’s sovereignty and territorial integrity by Assad regime has been strictly criticized
Exactly one year ago, Georgia was granted visa-free travel with the European Union.
Georgia’s ex-president president Mikheil Saakashvili's supporters managed to free detained Mikheil Saakashvili in the center of Kiev.
The US Ambassador to Georgia Ian Kelly congratulates Georgia on Independence Day.
The regulations on the introduction of visa-free travel for citizens of Georgia have been officially signed in Brussels.
The entire Georgia is involved in Secret Santa game, which means that people are sending gifts to each other secretly
The Minister of Foreign Affairs of Georgia is taking part in NATO Ministerial underway in Brussels, Belgium.
A special squad has been mobilized at the 48th polling station in Marneuli, Kvemo Kartli region.
Two politicians in Georgia have come to blows during a live TV debate ahead of the country’s parliamentary elections, Euronews reports.
GEL Exchange
USD
1
USD
2.8896
EUR
1
EUR
3.2028
GBP
1
GBP
3.8004
RUB
100
RUB
4.5482
December 2019
Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat Sun
1
2 3 4 5 6 7 8
9 10 11 12 13 14 15
16 17 18 19 20 21 22
23 24 25 26 27 28 29
30 31