Meeting of the Ecumenical Patriarch with the Council of the Holy Metropolis of Abkhazia. Centre: Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople, third from the right – Archimandrite Dorotheus (Dbar), Chairman of the Holy Metropolis. Abkhazia, January 9, 2011. Photo by Angela Kuchuberiya for the "Caucasian Knot"

11 January 2012, 21:40

Ecumenical Patriarchate to consider status of Abkhazian Orthodox Church at Synod's sitting

The Ecumenical Patriarchate will make every effort to resolve the canonical church situation in Abkhazia. This was announced on January 9 by Bartholomew, Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople, at the meeting, attended by representatives of the Council of the Republic's Holy Metropolis.

"Church of Constantinople as the mother-church will do everything possible to help small Abkhazian church people resolve the church problems, existing in the republic," promised Bartholomew.

Representatives of the Holy Metropolis presented to the Patriarch the problems of Abkhazian church issue.

"The church issue of the Abkhazian people cannot be resolved through bilateral dialogue with the Georgian Orthodox Church because of the recent war and the complex political relations, and it cannot be solved in any other bilateral negotiations without the participation of the Ecumenical Patriarchate," said Archimandrite Dorotheus (Dbar), Chairman of the Council of the Holy Metropolis, at the meeting.

Bartholomew also stated that the Ecumenical Patriarchate had received all the documents relating to church issue in Abkhazia and to the decisions adopted at the Church and People's Assembly. The Patriarch has added that the meeting's appeal will be considered in the nearest future by the Holy Synod, the official website of the Holy Metropolis of Abkhazia reports.

The delegation presented to the Patriarch an icon depicting Abkhazian Saint Eustache Apsilsky and other mementos, including traditional Abkhazian headwear akhtarpa.

The "Caucasian Knot" has reported that the Holy Metropolis was established at the Church and People's Assembly held on May 15, 2011, at Anakopia-New Athos. The new church institution will be gradually converted into the independent Abkhazian Orthodox Church (AOC). Archimandrite Dorotheus (Dbar) became the Chairman of the Council and the candidate for bishop of the Holy Metropolis.

The crisis in the Abkhazian Church was caused by the appointment of Abbot Ephrem (Vinogradov) as the rector of the New Athos monastery. On April 4, more than 200 persons gathered at the monastery of Saint Apostle Simon the Kananaios; they expressed their disrupt to Priest Vissarion (Aplia), at whose request the Moscow Patriarchate sent the new rector to the monastery. At that time, it was proposed to convene the Church and People's Assembly.

Author: Anzhela Kuchuberia; Source: CK correspondent

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