05 September 2008, 13:51
The Sukhumi-Abkhazian diocese seeks to join the Russian Church
Sukhumi, September 5, Interfax - The Abkhazian Church wants to be
self-governed Church under the Moscow Patriarchate, administrator of
the Sukhumi-Abkhazian Diocese Fr. Vissarion Aplia told journalists.
Orthodox believers of Abkhazia asked the Moscow Patriarchate for it
"more than once before, but the republic wasn't recognized and it was
the main obstacle for settling the question," he noted.
"We were in a very hard situation after Georgian-Abkhazian war of
1992-93 and it was the Russian Orthodox Church that extended help to
the Abkhazian Church, though we asked the whole Orthodox world for
help," the diocesan head said.
"Today when Russia recognized Abkhazia's independence, we intend to
ask for settling this question again," Fr. Vissarion further said.
The Russian Orthodox Church stated late in August that though Russia
had politically recognized Abkhazia and South Ossetia, it didn't mean
changes of canonical territories of the Moscow and Georgian Patriarchates.
"The political decision has been taken and we must respect it because
it is based on the unanimous opinion of MPs from both chambers of the
Russian parliament," deputy head of the Moscow Patriarchate
Department for External Church Relations Archpriest Vsevolod Chaplin
However, the priest further said, "Political decisions don't define
church jurisdictions and spheres of pastoral responsibility. These
questions should be settled canonically in course of dialogue between
the two (Russian and Georgian -IF) Churches."