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Saakashvili turns to Catholic church2010-05-11 21:42
Georgian president and the Pope had an unplanned meeting discussing various issues: Benedict XVI spoke about the Catholic charity organization in Georgia while Saakashvili referred to Vatican's support of the country's territorial integrity. In the meantime Orthodox Georgians were literally fighting slanderers of Christianity. Are Georgian authorities seeking a new foundation relying no more on traditional Orthodoxy that was sacrificed to US sponsored freethinking?
Though shattered in view of a series of recent pedophilia scandals, the Catholic Church's influence on Western countries is still great. And many world leaders hope for a meeting with the pontiff in order to boost their own value it seems.
Apparently this was the reason why Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili paid a visit to Vatican on May 8. As media remark, the audience was unscheduled and pressed for by the Georgian leader himself.
As www.sedmitza.ru reports state-church relations in the ex-Soviet republic were brought up at the meeting including humanitarian activities carried out by Caritas, a charity Catholic service. After the war in 2008 the organization has been actively helping refugees from zones of conflict. It was the Pope who blessed the missionaries to this activity immediately after the war.
Georgian government views Benedict XVI's meeting with Mikheil Saakashvili in a political light. President's spokesperson Manana Mandzhagaladze reported that Saakashvili had called on the Catholic world to pursue political support for Georgia adding that the issue of human rights protection on "the occupied territories affected by ethnic cleansings" had also been discussed.
"President of Georgia thanked Benedict XVI for a series of statements in support of Georgia's territorial integrity. It is important that in 2008, a difficult time for Georgia, the Pope had made several statements to support Georgia", - Mandzhagaladze remarked.
The meeting continued for 35 minutes witnessed only by two interpreters. By tradition the sides exchanged presents. Saakashvili handed two Orthodox icons painted in Georgia to Benedict XVI and was presented with a souvenir pen in the form of Bernini column.
The pontiff seems to save writing stuff especially for the guests from countries of "color revolutions". At the end of last year he gave a jubilee pen fabricated to 500th anniversary of Saint Paul's Cathedral in Rome to Ukrainian PM Yulia Timoshenko.
Instead of a pen Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko was awarded with a medal - a souvenir one - during his visit to Vatican that was not approved in Russia as Belarus' new step toward rapprochement with the West.
Meanwhile relations between Russian Orthodox Church and Vatican are gradually warming up. Last December Russian President Dmitry Medvedev found it necessary to meet with the Pope. Comparing presents he was given a medal, a Russian copy of Pope's latest encyclopedia "Love in Truth" and lithography of Saint Paul's cathedral façade by Giovanni Lorenzo Bernini dated 1645.
Then Russian president signed a decree on establishment of diplomatic relations with Vatican ordering to transform the now-operating Russian representation in this state into an embassy. Since that time a meeting between the Pope and Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia has been actively discussed. However, as Thomas Bremer, professor of Ecumenical Institute with Munster University notes, churches want first settle down all issues and then only organize a summit meeting.