By Efi Efthimiou
The recognition of the Autocephalous Church of Ukraine by the Patriarchate of Georgia is closer than ever.
The reason is none other than the Russian invasion of Ukraine, which seems to have struck a chord with the Hierarchs of the Georgian Church.
It is no coincidence that Patriarch Ilias of Georgia, on the morning of February 24, was the first Primate of the Orthodox Church to call for the cessation of hostilities in Ukraine, “otherwise they will develop into a world tragedy”.
Several Bishops and Metropolitans of the Georgian Church followed, condemning the invasion of the Ukrainian territory by the Russian army, recalling that “20% of our country is occupied by Russia”.
According to well-informed sources of orthodoxtimes.com, the issue can be raised by Patriarch Ilias at the next meeting of the Holy Synod, when it will be held (most probably in May).
The same sources say, that the proposal is expected to be overwhelmingly accepted by the Synodal Hierarchs, as most of them have even supported the recognition of the Church of Ukraine, under Metropolitan Epifaniy, among them 13 permanent members of the Synod with the right to vote.
Faced with such a visible eventuality, the reaction of the Russian Church was a given. The same sources inform orthodoxtimes.com that after the last statements of the Metropolitans and Bishops of the Georgian Church, the Moscow Patriarchate rushed anxiously to contact Tbilisi and warn to stop the moves for the recognition of the Ukrainian Autocephaly.
Moreover, according to a report by wenews.ge, 13 Hierarchs of the Georgian Church have spoken so far in favor of the recognition of the Church of Ukraine of Metropolitan Epifaniy, after the granting of the Tomos, in early 2019.
These are Metropolitan Ananias (Jafaridze), Metropolitan Bakhtang (Achlvedjiani), Metropolitan Zosime (Shioshvili), Metropolitan Iobi (Akiashvili), Metropolitan Joseph (Kikvadze), Metropolitan Grigol (Berbichashvili), Metropolitan Anton (Bulukhia), Archbishop Zenon (Iarajuli), Archbishop Iakov (Yakobashvili), Bishop Melchisedek (Hachije), Bishop Dosite (Bogveradze), Bishop Georgios (Tzamtenjiani), Metropolitan Saba (Intskirveli).