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Monday, 24 October 2016


Andrey Kurayev: “Abkhazia has not yet come back from the war”

25.10.2010  |  19:07

9226.jpegSince recently, people in the streets of Sukhum started noticing a person whose face seems familiar due to a talk-show broadcasted by Russian TV channels. Father Andrey Kurayev now lives in two houses, in Moscow and Abkhazia. He is carrying outreach activities in the republic and enjoys the delights of life and the pristine nature of the newly-recognized country. Father Andrey told about the Abkhaz' attitude to his mission in his interview to GeorgiaTimes correspondent. He plays the role of an enlightener in Abkhazia. He thinks it to be his duty to help the revival of Orthodoxy in the ancient Christian land.


"One should encourage the revival of culture and self-conscience. It is very important that the Abkhaz people remembered their old Christian roots. The Abkhaz bishop even took part in the work of the first ecumenical council in IV century. Later on, it was all almost forgotten. It is in our power to revive Christianity. That's why I'm here", - Andrey Kurayev believes.

We could not but ask father Andrey about the future of the Abkhaz Orthodox Church. It separated itself from the Georgian church but no one recognized the fact, including the Russian Orthodox Church. Kurayev as a church minister of the Russian Orthodox Church was rather diplomatic while answering this question": "I believe the issue will be put on the agenda of the meetings of Orthodox Churches and All-Orthodox council to be held in the nearest years".

Having recognized Abkhazia, Russian temporal power should not be afraid of diplomatic scandals. The church carries out the practice of avoiding political encounters, in this case, with Georgian Orthodox Church. And now Kurayev, having come with an orthodox mission, is working at the Abkhaz University. He does not want to put "Georgian brothers" into a difficult position. "Formally, according to the church law, this is the territory of the Georgian patriarchate. As for Georgia, they cannot give their open consent for my presence here. That's why, so as not to put our Georgian brothers into a difficult position we do not turn to them with this request", - father Andrey says. It turned out possible to avoid political problems by coming to Abkhazia in the context of university activities. According to the agreements between Moscow State University and Abkhaz State University, Kurayev lectures at the Abkhaz University. "We've got perfect relationship with the students. There is a normal educational process going on. It is more important, I believe it possible for the teachers to overcome certain fears. I think, with time, they will get rid of their fear that I came to push somebody aside, to occupy some professor's seat and make religious propaganda within the walls of the university. My lectures are common lectures that are read within the walls of a university. In two or three months, this sensationalism will be gone; my job will be a common job. So far, the lecturers at the university with whom I communicate have showed themselves as truly professional and adequate colleagues", - teacher Kurayev shared his impression of his stay in Sukhum.

Father Andrey lives in a small house in the outskirts of Sukhum not far from the Cathedral church. A typical Sukhum street is lined with fashionable houses "a la Switzerland" located next to ruins. Kurayev has not got a fashionable flat; still, the roof over his head does not leak. Father Andrey is embraced by the atmosphere of the Abkhaz capital and is suffering from utility problems that are inconceivable for a Muscovite but are common for a resident of Sukhum. А. Kurayev: "There are household inconveniences, primarily because the central heating system has been destroyed in Sukhum. Even now, when there is a many-hour rain in the street, it's quite cold in the house and the winter is coming. Too many problems with public utilities. I did not come alone, there is a family with a baby and it's getting hard for them".

Kurayev refers to the atmosphere he has found himself in as to the "strained" one. He thinks the people have not got out of the war completely; "For good reason, the Abkhaz people are still too mobilized. There is no demobilization, as if the society has not returned from war yet. A harsh reaction to the things that seem to be a trifle. So far, the people cannot help watching the current situation through the prism of the military-operational situation".

Father Andrey does not want to be considered a citizen of Abkhazia. He is now living and working under a rotation system. He spends a week in Moscow and the next one in Abkhazia. So far, he feels quite satisfied. He thinks his mission in Abkhazia to be an important one and, which is the main thing, a possible one.

Anton Krivenuk

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