Georgian Church Slams Law on Religious Groups’ Legal Status
Civil Georgia, Tbilisi
A legislative amendment allowing religious minority groups to be
registered as legal entities of public law “contravenes interests of
both the Church and the country,” the Georgian Orthodox Church said in a
statement late on July 5.
“We believe, that this law will bring negative consequences in the
nearest future and the authorities will be responsible for this,” the
Parliament passed the draft amendment to the civil code with its second
and third, final reading on July 5 amid calls from the Georgian Church
and opposition parties not to hurry with approval of the proposal in
order to give more time to public discussions. Another key argument of
the Georgian Church was that such law should be passed only in parallel
to granting to the Georgian Orthodox Church the same legal status in
Georgia’s other neighboring countries – the focus in this particular
case was done on Armenia.
In between the parliamentary votes on the issue on July 5, a senior
ruling party lawmaker Pavle Kublashvili held talks with senior clerics
from the Georgian Orthodox Church.
The Georgian Church said in the statement late n July 5, that talks were
held upon the initiative of the ruling party, which proposed amended
version of the draft. The draft, however, still contained a provision
allowing religious minority groups to be registered as legal entities of
public law, the Patriarchate said.
“The Patriarchate was still pushing for a proposal to suspend approval
of the legislative amendment, to hold public debates and to reach a
public consensus on the issue. Then [the Patriarchate] has offered a
compromise option taking into account international experience,” the
“It was not possible to reach an agreement, which is very regrettable,
because already passed law contravenes interests of both the Church and
the country,” the Patriarchate said.