Wednesday, May 23, 2007, #095 (1362)
President and patriarch "resolve misunderstanding"
By David Matsaberidze
According to Tbilisi Mayor Gigi Ugulava, the
"misunderstanding" resulting in the demolition of
the half-built church in Adjara has been resolved
after a meeting between President Saakashvili and
the Catholicos Patriarch of All Georgia Ilia II
on Monday evening. Ugulava also attended the meeting.
But details have yet to be offered about what
caused the misunderstanding and opposition
lawmakers are growing angrier by the day.
"After the meeting between the president and the
patriarch, the ruling party told us that the
incident was over and the problem was solved
it is inadmissible to leave the public without
any information about what really happened and
who ordered and executed this order to demolish
the church," New Rights MP Pikria Chikhradze said quotes Civil Georgia.
Ruling party lawmakers were reluctant to discuss
the issue during the parliament session on
Tuesday. The opposition demanded that the prime
minister come to parliament and brief them over
the issue. Senior ruling party MP Giga Bokeria
lashed out at the opposition accusing them of political grandstanding.
"When you are bankrupt politically and have no
chances of success, you try to show off as the
defender of the Church and holy places in order
to gain public support. You will not succeed and
you will face lots of problems and failures in
the future," Rustavi 2 reports Bokeria as saying.
Bokeria's comments came as are response to
opposition MP Gocha Jojua's comments earlier who
had assessed the attack on the church as
"vandalism" and a "fight against the Church".
Rustavi 2 reports that Jojua said the president
should be held responsible for the abuse of the
Orthodox religion and appealed to international
organizations to notice that the ruling party's popularity was on the decline.
Democratic Front MP Zviad Dzidziguri joined the
attack saying, "Authorities call the incident an
'unfortunate misunderstanding' but in reality it
is an abuse of religious relics. The Adjaran case
is not an exception, but rather the continuing of
a trend in our country. They took away the cross
in Kobuleti, Khashuri and Khobi. In addition,
Samegrelo governor objects to the construction of
a Cathedral in Poti and interferes in the activities of the church."
Dzidziguri declared, "We are demanding severe
punishment of those people, related to the case,
not only those, who ordered the destruction of
the church, but those who actually carried out the orders."
The Adjaran branch of the Republican Party called
for the resignation of the head of the Adjara
Autonomous Republic Levan Varshalomidze, the
Chairman of the Supreme Council of the Adjara
Autonomous Republic Mikheil Makharadze, Batumi
Mayor Irakli Tavartkiladze and the head of the
district of Khelvachauri Badri Shavlidze blaming
them for ordering the demolition.