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Clash between churches2010-01-26 14:24
Christians of South Ossetia call on Russian President Dmitry Medvedev to protect them from "spiritual extermination". As the believers of the republic say Archbishop Hilarion of Volokolamsk, chairman of the Department for external church relations made a disrespectful statement about Alanian eparchy referring to it as a "schismatic group". The point is that the Russian Orthodox Church recognizes canonic integrity of the Georgian Orthodox Church considering Abkhazia and South Ossetia parts of its territory in ecclesiastical terms. Will Moscow listen to Tskhinval?
The address of Orthodox believers of South Ossetia refers to a statement by Archbishop Hilarion of Volokolamsk made in October in Church and the World program on Vesti channel. Then the ROC representative remarked that a "schismatic group" had been formed in South Ossetia which has no contacts with the Orthodox Church. "We hope to set up a dialogue with this group believing to be able to persuade them to stop dissident activity. People need canonic priests, not impostors", - he highlighted.
It is believed in Tskhinval that South Ossetian church has never been part of either Moscow Patriarchy or Georgian Church denying any schism. "Alanian eparchy is not going to be subordinate to the Georgian Church as Moscow Patriarchate advocates" - the address to Dmitry Medvedev runs.
It is puzzling why the address of South Ossetian believers to the president of Russia was made only now, not in October. Probably, it was due to visible improvement in Russian-Georgian church relations.
We know that recently Russia and Georgia exchanged priests ministering for diasporas in both states. Under decree by Holy Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church archimandrite Roman Lukin was sent to Tbilisi. He was blessed by Catholicos Patriarch of All Georgia Ilia II to officiate in the cathedral of Saint John the Divine in Tbilisi. Simultaneously archimandrite Vakhtang came to Moscow under the blessing of Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia to minister in the church of Great Martyr George the Victorious in Bolshaya Gruzinskaya Street.
According to Patriarch Kirill, the exchange of priests between Georgia and Russia can somehow make up for the lack of diplomatic relations between two countries. "Recently we exchanged church ambassadors in the absence of state ones", - Kirill said. - Somebody has to present the position of Russian Church, i.e. of a large part of our people, to the brotherly Georgian nation in Tbilisi". He added that the nature of Church allows it to be an unbiased side in resolution of conflict situations.