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Armenian Apostolic Church is accusing Georgia2008-11-24 13:03
On Sunday Georgia is celebrating the fifth anniversary of the Rose Revolution. This day coincides with a religious feast highly revered in the country - Giorgoba (Saint George's (Georgia's patron) day). It is still more sorrowful that before the holiday the Armenian and Georgian churches stepped into another stage of confrontation.
High Council of Armenian Apostolic Church (AAC) addressed a note of protest to the Georgian Orthodox Church. The matter is that a few days ago in an Armenian church "Saint Norashen" in Tbilisi the tombs of the city's patrons Mikhail and Lidia Tamamshevs were rifled.
By order of the Georgian priest Tariel Sikinchalashvili a bulldozer entered the church yard and dragged the gravestones from Tamamshevs' tombs to another place. The altar, wall painting and frescos were damaged too. The representatives of the Armenian diaspora caused the gravestones to be returned to the initial place but the scandal could not be avoided.
"There is no law on freedom of worship in Georgia that is why the Georgian eparchy of the Armenian Apostolic Church has no legal status and consequently we do not own those Armenian temples and churches that operate in the territory of Georgia", - the AAC press secretary stated.
The officials joined in the settlement of the incident. Georgia's ambassador was summoned to Armenia's foreign ministry. "The Georgian government promised to keep the "Saint Norashen" church issue under control and prevent any offences, - prime minister Tigran Sarkisyan commented on the dialogue results. He emphasized that the entrenchments on the Armenian Church do not align with the high level of relationships of the two states. The saying "what is Caesar's to Caesar-and what is God's to God" looks really true.
The occurred aggravation of the situation around the temple above is already the third. It is not that easy to dissipate the tension. The thing is that according to the Georgian patriarchy's conviction the disputable building is an ancient Georgian church of Annunciation. The same also refers to the churches in Javakhetya, a Georgian district populated mostly with the ethnic Armenians.
"The problem of ownership of Armenian temples in Georgia has been there since 1994. Some time ago the AAC owned around thirty cult buildings. Today Georgian eparchy of the AAC is in possession of only two. The question of "Norashen" temple ownership remains unsolved too", - priest Vagram Melikyan, the press secretary of Holy Echmiadzin commented on the situation.
It is difficult to say who is right and who is wrong here. It seems the compromise between the Armenian and Georgian confessions disputing over their properties is unreal. Besides this conflict brings to mind the most painful issue in today's Georgia - the nationality question.
For five years since the Rose revolution the young democrats have managed to divorce Abkhazia and South Ossetia "in a killing way" and bring the contradictions with the northern neighbor to war. There is a feeling that Abraham Lincoln's expression "I destroy my enemies when I make them my friends" is put into practice by the young reformers in the opposite way. The situation with Abkhazia and South Ossetia is forcedly solved by the international community. Meanwhile the claims to the authorities from the Armenian and Azerbaijanian diasporas are becoming more frequent. The experts make a warning that this may cause a real disaster to the Georgian leaders.