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Is it Patriarch’s time?2009-09-08 22:08
Last week, the Georgian Patriarchy found itself in the center of two scandals. A number of Georgian media that are close to the government informed that Patriarch's authority may be used for "whitening" the Russian interests, for Ilia II blessed activity of the Georgian-Russian public committee for conflict settlement in the Caucasus. After that, the media reported that the Patriarch has allegedly ordered the murderers of Sandro Girgvliani, who had been freed on parole, to reside in a monastery for one year. Well-known oppositionist Nino Burjanadze called upon the public to protect the Church against Saakashvili.
Recently, the Georgian opposition eased up a little: no meetings, no protest actions. However, any peace in Georgia traditionally denotes an approaching storm. Besides, the authorities seem to be deliberately twisting their opponents' tail. Due to the president's amnesty the four people convicted for the murder of Sandro Girgvliani, a bank employee, were released. The high-ranking officers, Alania, Bibiluridze, Gachava and Aptsiauri, have been freed on parole.
The opposition, both parliamentary and non-parliamentary, was indignant and threatened to hold more protest actions. According to GHN, the parliamentary opposition representative Gia Tsagareishvili underlined that "so far, neither of offenders convicted according to Article 117 of the Criminal Code, under which those persons fell, was ever pardoned or freed on parole, for this article deals with felony crimes". The delegate also pointed out that if there are any more people who are pardoned under this article he will apologize.
The delegate also touched upon the fact that those convicted for Girgvliani's murder will undergo the probation period in some monastery. He said that this fact reveals the authorities' special care about these people. The Georgian media already reported that Patriarch of All Georgia Ilia the Second gave the released murderers a permission to live in a monastery within a year. Naturally, the oppositionists are not going to speak against the Patriarch's will; perhaps, this was the authorities' plan.
However, the previous evening, the Georgian Patriarchy refuted the report of the Georgian media that Patriarch Ilia the Second ordered the early freed high-ranking murderers of bank employee Sandro Girgvliani to spend a year in a monastery. "It is publicly known that recently, some newspapers and Internet publications have been promoting a purposeful anti-church informational campaign. Yesterday, wrong information was disseminated in connection with sending the people convicted for Girgvliani's murder to a monastery with the Patriarch's blessing. This disinformation aroused the public's concern. We feel obliged to state that Catholicos-Patriarch has got nothing to do with their early parole and he has never sent them to any monastery", - reported Press Secretary of Patriarchy Father David Sharashenidze, as the Georgian newspapers informed today.
According to VZGLYAD, in the evening of September 7, an urgent meeting between Ilia the Second and Nino Burjanadze was held. After the meeting, the oppositional activist stated that the authorities are purposefully discrediting the most respected person in Georgia, the Patriarch. On Tuesday, on the air of Maestro TV company she said that President Mikhail Saakashvili "is in horror of Patriarch Ilia II and the influence of the Georgian Orthodox Church, so he agrees to discrediting". "The authorities are conducting criminal policy against the Church, so the Church should be defended", - the former Speaker stated.