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Wednesday, 21 March 2018


Patriarch’s Easter address: problems of perception

2009-04-22 20:50

4/7/5/2475.jpegAfter a break for Easter the opposition began a new wave of protests. The hopes that the great holiday might decrease tension and bring the opponents to the negotiating table with the help of Patriarch Ilia II's words, have not been justified yet. In his Easter sermon Ilia II pointed at the ways to solve the country's current problems. On the first day of Easter Week Saakashvili presented his own interpretation of the Patriarch's directions expressed in Easter epistle.


Catholicos Patriarch of all Georgia Ilia II told about the responsibility of the authorities in his Easter sermon. "The authorities have the largest rights, and the highest responsibility", - GHN quotes the sermon. Apart from the main national targets the Patriarch appealed to "protect moral and national values as well as ensure territorial security" and settle relations with Russia. This is not the first time the Patriarch has called for that. It was he who initiated the public dialogue between Russia and Georgia after the August events.

It is appropriate to remind that following the August events Ilia II first went to Moscow on the last days of December 2008 in order to pay last tribute to Patriarch of Moscow and all Russia Alexy II. He had a private conversation with Dmitry Medvedev. This is how the dialogue between the two countries was resumed. Coming back to Tbilisi the head of Georgian Church emphasized: "I believe the Georgian authorities must continue their efforts towards normalization of relations with the Russian Federation and peaceful restoration of our country's territorial integrity". Already a week later the delegation of Georgian public figures came to Moscow to discuss accumulated problems with the representatives of Russia's Public Chamber.

The Patriarch is the only support for Georgian people in hard times. He called for "triumph of reason" when the Rose revolution broke out. He called for peace last August. He reconciled the authorities with the opposition after last November events. Most part of the Georgian society believes Ilia II is the only person who can save the country indicating the way out of the deadlock of civil confrontation. As dealing with political problems the Georgians also have to make ends meet in the sweat of their brow to sustain their families, Ilia II's Easter epistle suggested that the government allow a tax amnesty. (This idea was earlier proposed by the opposition - I.P.).

According to the Patriarch the world financial crisis has greatly affected the Georgian business and the population on the whole. That is why efficient intervention is necessary in order to avoid further job cuts. It is noteworthy that as the Patriarch confesses he had consultations on this subject with the leading economic experts. The opposition hopes the authorities will at least listen to the Patriarch. One of Industry Will Save Georgia party leaders Zurab Tkemaladze in his interview with Interpressnews agency expressed hope that the issues raised in the Patriarch's epistle would be examined by the government.

The Patriarch was specific about agricultural problems: "Today Kakheti peasants are offered big sums of money for cutting down vines that were nurtured like a child and sowing other cultures. Besides there is little interest in grape growing because of miserable sums offered for the harvest". According to Kommersant radio the Ministry of Agriculture immediately confirmed continuation of vine substitution program specifying that the initiative to replace "unprofitable vines" had been proposed by the peasants. The authorities are buying land with cut down vines for 2000 lari per hectare (!!!).

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