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Abkhazia: Historic documents tell it all

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  • Bill Samsonoff
    http://eng.expertclub.ge/portal/cnid__10983/alias__Expertclub/lang__en/tabid__2546/default.aspx Historic documents tell it all 07/02/2012 17:50 Disturbing news
    Message 1 of 1 , Feb 7, 2012
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      Historic documents tell it all
      07/02/2012 17:50

      Disturbing news is coming from Abkhazia. With instigation of the Moscow
      Patriarchate and through blindness of the separatist authorities of
      Abkhazia vandals of the XXI century are purposely destroying all
      Georgian trace on monuments of cultural heritage.

      As a result of so-called restoration works in the Ilori St. George
      Church of the XI century authenticity of the monument has been
      completely erased and features characteristic of the traditional
      Georgian church architecture disappeared. A Russian-style, so-called
      onion-like dome was erected on top of the church, Georgian lapidary
      inscriptions on the eastern wall of the church were whitewashed and
      domes were painted in red.

      The fresco of the first king of the unified Georgian state Bagrat III
      Bagrationi and Georgian inscriptions were erased in the Bedia Church in
      the Ochamchire district that was built by his where he and his mother
      Queen Gurandukht are buried.

      The Georgian side appealed to the UNESCO World Heritage Centre to help
      save other Georgian monuments and churches from the fate of the churches
      of Ilori and Bedia.

      The state strictly protects historical cultural monuments and in
      Abkhazia there have never been and are not now any Georgian cultural
      heritage monuments – unambiguously and categorically states chief
      historian of the protection of the historical and cultural heritage of
      the separatist Abkhazia Anzor Agumaa.

      Against this background, on February 3rd with the clear order of the
      Russian Patriarchate the separatist authorities of Abkhazia urgently
      organized so-called people gathering at the central square of Sukhumi in
      the freezing temperatures where its participants unanimously declared
      about restoration of the independence of the “Abkhazian Orthodox Church”
      and its separation from the Georgian Orthodox Church space. Every
      participant of the event was to sign a document about the secession.
      Although many of them, including members of the government and the
      parliament that were organizers of the event, have till now been
      declaring themselves Muslims and even pagans and have never even stepped
      inside a Christian church.

      According to parliamentarian Batal Kobakhia and historian Oleg Bgazhba
      “nothing extraordinary is happening, the Abkhazian church is just
      returning to the family of the Orthodox churches”.

      The material that was prepared regarding this issue by journalist Levon
      Galustian says: “main participants of the gathering were ministers,
      members of the parliament, university teachers, students, successful
      businessmen and bankers” and then “words of gratitude were often heard
      from the tribune toward Father Vissarion Apliaa for his great service in
      the matter of building the Abkhazian Orthodoxy. Many times were also
      mentioned about contribution of the Russian Orthodox Church. In the time
      of the difficult years of the war and afterwards as well it has not
      stopped giving its spiritual care for Abkhazian believers. One of the
      clauses of the appeal that was approved at the gathering was also
      dedicated to the role of the Moscow Patriarchate”.

      Lately, with regards to anti-government rallies that started in Moscow
      and other cities of Russia Russian Patriarch Kirill publicly stated that
      Orthodox Christians were to go only to churches to pray and not to
      streets to rally. Now probably His Holiness will feel a little awkward
      when he hears that at the Sukhumi gathering he was mentioned and thanked
      alongside well-known “spiritual father” of so-called thieves-in-law
      Vissarion Apliaa who instead of praying in the church was running around
      with a gun in hand together with other criminals to expel hundreds of
      thousands of Orthodox Christians from their homes and to destroy them.

      It is not a secret at all that processes that have evolved with such
      speed in Abkhazia are aimed at yet another attempt to separate Abkhazia
      from Georgia, to create another barrier on the road of return of
      Abkhazians and Circassians of Muslim faith from Syria and other
      countries to their historical homelands and to set Abkhazians against
      the Adyge peoples.

      Actions of the separatist authorities of Abkhazia who are obedient and
      silent followers of the Moscow instructions could not have been any
      different. But how shameless must be those historians that brazenly
      maintain that there are no Georgian historical monuments on the
      territory of Abkhazia and Abkhazian Orthodox Christians have nothing in
      common with Georgians. And that when they well know that after
      Christianity came into Georgia all Orthodox Christian churches in
      Abkhazia were built by Georgians and Abkhazians and church service in
      these churches, even at the time of the big influence of the Byzantine
      influence, were conducted in Georgian language using chrism consecrated
      in the main Georgian cathedral Svetitskhoveli in Mtskheta. They can
      destroy monuments, erase inscriptions, but they cannot wipe out true
      history told by foreign and local chroniclers.

      We do not consider it to be to much to remind those historians at least
      data on those primates of the church that on the course of centuries
      were at the helm of congregation of Abkhazia i.e. western Georgia.
      Catholicos-Patriarch of Abkhazia (western Georgia) such as Simon,
      Nikoloz, Daniel, Arseni and Joakim led the church before XIV century.
      Their work was continued by the following Patriarchs:

      Stephan – Catholicos patriarch of Abkhazia (western Georgia) 1490-1516

      Malakia I (Abashidze) – 1519-1540. He had a residence in Bichvinta.

      Evdemon I (Chkhetidze) – 1557-1578. Catholicos Patriarch of Abkhazia
      (western Georgia). He was buried in the St. George Church in Gelati.

      Eftvime (Ekvtime) I (Sakvarelidze) – 1578-1616. Catholicos-Patriarch of
      Abkhazia (western Georgia).

      Malakia II (Gurieli) – 1616-1639. Catholicos-Patriarch of Abkhazia. By
      his order “Selection of Bitchvinta manuscripts” was compiled, as well as
      Great book of Peasants of the Land of the Abkhazian Catholicos. Malakia
      II ordered to the icon of the St. Andrew that was rested in an adorned
      coffin and placed in the Bichvinta church.

      Maxime I (Machutadze) – 1639-1657. Died in Jerusalem in 1957 and was
      buried in the Monastery of the Cross there.

      Svimon (Chkhetidze) - 1660-1666. Catholicos-Patriarch of Abkhazia.

      Evdemon II (Sakvarelidze) -1666-1669. Catholicos-Patriarch of Abkhazia.

      Ekvtime II (Sakvarelidze) - 1669-1973. Catholicos-Patriarch of Abkhazia.

      Davit (Nemsadze) - 1673-1696. Davit stopped Abkhazian prince Kvapu
      Shervashidze from selling serfs as slaves.

      Grigol II (Lortkipanidze) - 1696-1742. He prompted king of Imereti and
      princes of Odishi and Guria and others to present lands and serfs to the
      Bitchvinta monastery. He actively fought against the spread of Islam and
      selling of serfs.

      Besarion (Eristavi) - 1769-1776. Catholicos-Patriarch of Abkhazia.

      Ioseb (Bagrationi) - 1769-1776. Catholicos-Patriarch of Abkhazia. He is
      buried in Gelati Monastery.

      Maxime II (Abashize) - 1776-1795. The last Catholicos patriarch of
      Abkhazia ( western Georgia). In 1768 the King of Imereti Solomon I sent
      him as an ambassador to the Russian imperial court to ask for help
      against the ottomans. He died in Kiev in 1795 and was buried in the Kiev
      Pechersk Lavra.

      Dositeos (Tsereteli) - 1795-1814.

      After a period of Moscow-sent Russian exarches this list was continued
      with Catholicos-Patriarchs of All Georgia after restoration of autocephaly:

      Kirion II (Sadzaglishvili) – 1917-1917

      Leonide (Okropiridze) – 1919-1921

      Ambrosi (Khelaya) – 1921-1927

      Christephore III (Tsitskishvili) – 1927-1932

      Kalistrate (Tsintsadze) – 1932-1952

      Melkisedek III (Pkhaladze) – 1952-1960

      Efrem II (Sidamonidze) – 1960-1972

      David VI (Devdariani) – 1972-1977

      From 1977 works of these respected church people was continued by the
      metropolitan of Abkhazia (1967-1977), today’s patriarch, His Holiness
      and Beatitude Ilia II who always blesses the Orthodox congregation of
      Abkhazia with special warmth and love.

      Artificial separation of Abkhazian people from Georgians, attempt of
      their alienation from the Adyge peoples and compatriots living abroad
      will remain just an attempt and it is doomed for a failure.
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