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Georgia’s autocephalic power2010-03-25 17:57
Today the Georgian Orthodox Church marks the 93d anniversary of independence following succession from the Russian Orthodox Church (the church was assigned to the ROC in 1811 by Russia's secular authorities) after 1917 Revolution. Over the recent years the Georgian church and its irreplaceable Catholicos Patriarch Ilia II have had great spiritual and political influence on the country.
The Georgian Orthodox Church marks the day of autocephaly restoration. On the occasion Catholicos Patriarch of All Georgia Ilia II is reading a prayer in Sioni Patriarchal Cathedral.
93 years ago, on March 12 in the old style and 25 March by new calendar the Georgian Orthodox Church declared independence from the Russian Orthodox Church. As said in Georgia, the church was immediately recognized by all Orthodox patriarchates without written confirmations. Since it's impossible to check verbal legends, the version of Russian historians looks more truthful.
According to this version the Georgian church acquired worldwide recognition only after 1943 when the new All Russian patriarch Sergey accepted arguments in favor of the Georgian autocephaly and called two neighboring Churches "sisters". Patriarch of Constantinople confirmed GOC's independence only in 1989. So formally the Georgian autocephaly is younger.
However before subjection to the ROC the Georgian church had been independent for centuries. Historians are not unanimous about the dates here. Feodor Valsamon, a celebrated Greek canonist informs that the Iverian Church was independent "on the days of Master Peter, the Holy Patriarch of Feopol" then "subject to Patriarch of Antiochia".
Abovementioned Peter can be either Petre II of V cent. DC or Peter III who lived in 1052-1056. Greek clergy write about recognition in VI century, Belgian clergy mention VIII century. Some scholars like Anatoly Fomenko and Gleb Nosovsky could easily call it an example of "propagation" of two historical periods that in fact are one short stretch in their "New Chronology".
Georgia, naturally, prefers an earlier version about establishment of the autocephaly in V century. Former Catholicos Patriarch David V wrote that the event took place with Tsar Vaktang Gorgasala, the founder of Tbilisi.