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Attempt to create Abkhaz "metropolia" will cause deadlock - Russian Orthodox Church

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  • Bill Samsonoff
    http://www.interfax-religion.com/?act=news&div=8459 17 May 2011, 17:26 Attempt to create Abkhaz metropolia will cause deadlock - Russian Orthodox Church
    Message 1 of 1 , May 17, 2011
      http://www.interfax-religion.com/?act=news&div=8459

      17 May 2011, 17:26
      Attempt to create Abkhaz "metropolia" will cause deadlock - Russian
      Orthodox Church

      Moscow, May 17, Interfax - The creation of a new "metropolia" in
      Abkhazia announced late last week will only make it more difficult to
      resolve the Abkhaz church issue, the Moscow Patriarchate has said.

      "The church canon laws do not involve the making of decisions to create
      new metropolitanates, let alone autocephalous churches, at
      "clerical-laic" congresses. And the nomination by the "laic congress" of
      bishop candidates is explicitly prohibited by the canon law," Archpriest
      Nikolay Balashov, deputy head of the Synodal Department of External
      Church Relations, told Interfax-Religion on Tuesday.

      On May 15 the cleric-laic congress at the New Athos Monastery in
      Abkhazia announced the creation of a "metropolia" with a center at New
      Athos, which should gradually transform into an independent Abkhaz Church.

      The event attendees issued a letter to the primates and synods of
      manorial Orthodox churches, asking to set up an Orthodox commission led
      by a representative of the Patriarch of Constantinople to define the
      canonical status of the Abkhaz Church.

      "We understand the desire of the Abkhaz people to regulate the situation
      of the Orthodox religion in this country. However, bringing hot
      political issues into the life of the church, the division among
      believers - all this only postpones the possibility of a legitimate
      resolution of the Abkhaz Church issue," a Russian Orthodox Church
      representative said.

      A member of the Abkhaz clergy, Fr. Vissarion Aplia, earlier urged the
      clergy and laity not to attend this congress. The Abkhaz Church can
      stand firmly on its feet with help from the Russian Orthodox Church, he
      said.

      The congress is non-canonical, and its resolutions have no legal force
      for Orthodox believers, he said.

      Abkhaz Prime Minister Sergey Shamba has expressed concern, while the
      Georgian Patriarchate urged the congress and all Orthodox believers
      living in Abkhazia "to raise above the processes inspired by outside
      forces and to restore the canonical unity with the Georgian Orthodox
      Church."
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