Georgian Church refutes false information coming from Ukrainian parliamentary chairman
October 8, 2018. The Patriarchate of Georgia has released a statement refuting the information spreading through the Ukrainian media about its supposed support for the granting of autocephaly to the Orthodox Church in Ukraine.
“Such information began to spread after the meeting of Catholicos-Patriarch Ilia II of Georgia with the Chairman of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine Andrei Paruby last week in Tbilisi. The information that the Georgian Church has recognized the autocephaly of the Ukrainian Church does not correspond to reality,” emphasizes patriarcate’s statement.
It notes that Paruby spoke to Pat. Ilia of the desire of some Ukrainians to receive autocephaly for their Orthodox Church, to which the Georgian primate responded by speaking of the difficulty of attaining this dream at present and advised being extremely careful “so as to prevent a civil confrontation.”
“As for the position of the Georgian Church on the issue of the autocephaly of the Ukrainian Church, it remains unchanged: Until the Patriarchates of Constantinople and Moscow fix their final official positions on the basis of canonical Church norms, the Georgian Patriarchate refrains from commentary,” the Georgian Church’s statement reads.
As Interfax-Religion reports, the Patriarch expressed the same sentiment to Paruby during their meeting, which the Speaker then reported as the Patriarch’s support. According to the statement on the Georgian Church’s site from after the meeting with Paruby, His Holiness spoke of the “need to refrain from premature assessments” on the issue.
However, Paruby told journalists, supposedly quoting Pat. Ilia: “We expect that this difficult problem in Ukraine will be solved positively. The Georgian Orthodox Church has also passed a very difficult way to obtain autocephaly.”
Speaking with journalists after the Speaker’s statements, the head of the Department of External Church Relations of the Georgian Patriarchate, Metropolitan Gerasim (Sharashenidze) of Zugdidi and Tsaishsky, refrained from commenting on the issue of autocephaly but only spoke of the Georgian Church’s prayers for peace and unity in Ukraine.
Paruby’s meeting and false information comes just days after the Georgian Holy Synod made a statement to the same effect as today’s statement: that it does not want make any hasty evaluations until the two sides have formulated their official and non-appealable positions on the basis of the norms of canon law.
Note that the Synod did call for any decision to be worked out between Moscow and Constantinople, not unilaterally.