Patriarchs of Georgia and Russia, JAMnews

Patriarchs of Georgia and Russia

Catholicos Patriarch of Georgia Ilia II congratulated Patriarch Kirill of Russia on his birthday, provoking criticism in Georgian society.

The text of the congratulations was published on the official website of the Russian Patriarchate.

“To His Holiness Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Rus”

Your Holiness! With the love of Christ I congratulate you on your birthday! In these difficult times, I wish you health and God’s goodness. I also wish that justice and peace between Russia and Ukraine will be restored as soon as possible through your and joint efforts.

May the Lord protect you and your flock! With the love of Christ.”

Many in Georgian society have denounced this letter. Social Justice Center head Tamta Mikeladze asks: “How can peace be restored through the efforts of Cyril II, the Russian ideological propagandist of the war in Ukraine?”

“Is it right to address a morally guilty patriarch with bows and congratulations? What religious justification can there be for loyalty to a terror preacher? Are parishioners concerned about this issue and are they asking these questions to their parishes, dioceses?” writes Mikeladze.

Theologian Beka Mindiashvili says the phrase implies support for a Russian victory “since Kirill Gundyaev is the main ideologue of terrorism and the main ‘instigator’ of the massacre of Ukrainians and Georgians”.

“It is immoral, anti-state and simply treasonous what the Georgian Patriarch is doing. This congratulation is an extreme insult to the heroes who died for Georgia and Ukraine. It is also blasphemy and denial of the crucified Christ,” writes Beka Mindiashvili.

On November 22, the Security Service of Ukraine conducted “counterintelligence activities” in Kiev’s largest monastery, the Kiev Pechora Monastery, “against the subversive activities of Russian special services in Ukraine.”

The security service of Ukraine names three goals of counterintelligence:

  • Preventing the Lavra from being used as the center of the “Russian world”.
  • To check whether buildings of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church are used by sabotage and reconnaissance groups, foreign citizens, for storing weapons, etc.
  • Ensuring the safety of the population from provocations and terrorist attacks.
Security forces of Ukraine near the Kiev Pechersk Lavra. SBU photo

On November 13, it was reported that they were praying for Rus’ in Kiev’s Pechora Monastery. On November 15, the SBU launched an investigation into the spread of Russian propaganda in the Lavra.

After the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the Patriarch of Moscow and All Rus declared that “those who die in military service will be cleansed of their sins”. He also stated that “Russia has never attacked anyone.”

Russia launched a full-scale attack on Ukraine on the morning of February 24, simultaneously bombing several major cities, including Kyiv.

Putin’s declaration of war on Ukraine was preceded by the recognition and subsequent annexation of the self-proclaimed republics of Donetsk and Luhansk. The leaders of these breakaway territories appealed to the Kremlin to “help repel Ukrainian aggression.”

The world’s leading countries have imposed large-scale sanctions on Russia.

Nine months after the war, on November 24, Ukraine had already managed to liberate 52.5% of the territories occupied by Russia after February 24, including Kherson, which Russia declared its own territory through a “referendum” there explained.