Orthodox Patriarch calls for reconciliation of Russia and Georgia

August 1, 2011

Moscow, July 29 (ENINews)--Patriarch Ilia II of the Georgian Orthodox
Church has called on his Russian Orthodox counterpart to reconcile Russia and
Georgia, which have remained at odds since a short, bloody war in August
2008.

"Your Holiness, those political relations that have taken shape between
Russia and Georgia are completely unacceptable," he said to Patriarch Kirill
I, after co-celebrating the liturgy with the Russian Orthodox leader. "We
are close Orthodox peoples, and these relations were created by the envy of
our foes."

The service to mark the Day of the Baptism of Rus, the event in 988 that
brought Orthodoxy to Kievan Rusa and then Russia, was meant in particular as
a show of unity among the Russian, Ukrainian and Belarusian Orthodox
churches under the jurisdiction of the Moscow Patriarchate. Ukraine has
experienced tensions between rival Orthodox churches since the collapse of the
Soviet Union.

Nonetheless, Russian and Georgian church leaders have maintained a close
relationship and the Russian church staked out an independent stand from the
Kremlin in speaking out against the 2008 war between the two countries.

Ilia's comments underscore the problems that mark relations between Russia
and Georgia. "We must do everything possible to restore friendship and
fraternity among our nations and states," said Ilia, according to the Interfax
news agency. "You must go down in the history of Russia and Georgia as a
peacekeeper, as a man who created peace between the two peoples."