Wednesday, 16 September 2009

Sukhum-Abkhazian Diocese renamed into Abkhazian Orthodox Church

SUKHUM, September 16 (Itar-Tass) - The Sukhum-Abkhazian Diocese has been renamed into the Abkhazian Orthodox Church with the Sukhum and Pitsunda Patriarchates, the Church Head Priest Vissarion Apliaa said on Abkhazian television on Wednesday.

According to him, the decision to rename the diocese was made on Wednesday at a meeting with the participation of all Abkhazian clergy with the aim of restoration of the Abkhazian Orthodox Church that had its own local ecumenical validity, but lost it in 1795.

“Today we have the understanding that the history of Christianity in Abkhazia has its roots in deep antiquity,” said Apliaa. According to him, “Seventeen years ago Georgia committed not only a military and political, but also spiritual aggression against Abkhazia.” “Abkhazia in no way can be an integral part of Georgia, and the Sukhum-Abkhazian Diocese that was within the Georgian Catholicosate ceased to exist,” the Abkhazian Orthodox Church Head stated.

He said he intended to turn to Patriarch of Moscow and All-Russia Kirill for help and support of the decision made at the meeting of the Abkhazian clergy. The Abkhazian Church intends to send the same appeal to the Georgian Church, local churches of Constantinople, Jerusalem and all Orthodox churches that “by their determination will restore the historical truth that the long-suffering people of Abkhazia deserve.”

“We take our actions correctly without violating Orthodox canons and rules. Under canonical rules Georgia has no authority in the territory of Abkhazia,” Father Vissarion noted. “We want to restore the historical justice, and nobody will be able to take from us the truth given by God,” he added.

Apliaa promised that the “Abkhazian Orthodox Church will pray for the unity of those who live in our country so that peace be restored in Abkhazia.”

The Abkhazian Orthodox Church also addressed the country’s President Sergei Bagapsh, parliament, government and all the power players with a request to support the decision of the Church, because this “has huge historical significance” and hopes for their support.

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