Loading ...
Sorry, an error occurred while loading the content.

Russian and Georgian Orthodox leaders seek understanding amid conflict

Expand Messages
  • Bill Samsonoff
    http://www.ekklesia.co.uk/node/7632 Russian and Georgian Orthodox leaders seek understanding amid conflict By Ecumenical News International 2 Sep 2008 A
    Message 1 of 1 , Sep 2, 2008
    • 0 Attachment

      Russian and Georgian Orthodox leaders seek understanding amid conflict
      By Ecumenical News International
      2 Sep 2008

      A Russian Orthodox Church missionary has defended Georgian Orthodox
      Patriarch Ilia II against charges that he is a Georgian nationalist,
      whilst other leading Russian clerics have warned against the war
      between their country and Georgia turning into an ethnic vendetta -
      writes Sophia Kishkovksky.

      Deacon Andrei Kurayev, famous for his books, website and missionary
      trips around Russia and Ukraine, said that efforts in some Russian
      media to portray Patriarch Ilia as an anti-Russian fascist were based
      on wrong translations of statements he made in the early 1990s, when
      Georgia was embroiled in civil war.

      Patriarch Ilia is reported to have said that anyone who kills a
      Georgian will be subject to abomination but in fact, Kurayev told the
      Interfax news religion service on 19 August, he said that, "Any
      Georgian who kills another person shames his nation."

      Kurayev added that both Patriarch Ilia and Russian Orthodox Church
      Patriarch Aleksei II were doing all they could so that the war did
      not become "a people's war, a holy war, as is sung in the famous song
      about the Great Patriotic War", as Russians call the Second World War.

      As well as Kurayev, other clergy and hierarchs of the Russian
      Orthodox Church have warned against a cycle of ethnic hatred and
      revenge taking hold as a result of the current violence in South
      Ossetia, a pro-Russian enclave in Georgia. Kurayev called the looting
      of Georgian homes by Ossetians "shameful, and there can be no
      justification for this".

      The Rev Vsevolod Chaplin, deputy chairperson of external relations
      for the Moscow Patriarchate of the Russian Orthodox Church, told
      Soyuz, an Orthodox Church television channel, "Only a madman today
      can declare all Georgians the enemy, and inflame anti-Georgian
      sentiment in the country."

      At the same time, both Chaplin and the Rev Dmitry Smirnov, who is in
      charge of the Moscow Patriarchate's military relations department,
      said that Georgia should also be grateful to Russia for its help over
      the centuries.

      "I think the time has come to remind the government of Georgia and
      its people of what Russia has done for this country," Smirnov was
      quoted as saying in the 20 August edition of Argumenty i Fakty, a
      weekly national newspaper. "At one time, Georgia asked to become part
      of Russia so as not to be destroyed and enslaved by Turkey."

      Patriarchia.ru, an official Web site of the Moscow Patriarchate,
      reports that Patriarch Aleksei has blessed the use of a new prayer
      "for peace in the Caucasus".

      Separately, at a vigil service on the eve of the Feast of the
      Transfiguration, celebrated by the Russian Orthodox Church on 19
      August, Archbishop Feofan of Stavropol and Vladikavkaz, both Russian
      regions near the war zone in South Ossetia, counselled believers to
      control themselves.

      "Now, as difficult as it may be for us, under no circumstances must
      we give way to our emotions," he said. "We must not address our anger
      against Georgians, who often live among us. For this is the power of
      our Christianity: not to be like those who raised arms against
      peaceful citizens."
    Your message has been successfully submitted and would be delivered to recipients shortly.