Georgian believers do not have the opportunity to exercise their faith and cultural rights in the language of their choice, from their church clergymen, in traditional cult buildings, the Democracy Research Institute (DRI) says.
Orthodox Christians living in Russia-occupied Abkhazia and South Ossetia are considered by the Patriarchate of the Georgian Orthodox Church to be subject to its canonical jurisdiction. The above is not formally denied by any Orthodox Churches, however in both political and ecclesiastical circles, the ruling elites of the occupied territories do not imagine their future with either Georgian State or the associated Orthodox Church”, reads the report of DRI.
The report also reads that as a result of such attitudes and Russian influence, the Georgian Orthodox Church has no its clergymen in Tskhinvali/South Ossetia and Abkhazia, cannot manage the property of relics owned by it before the conflict, and cannot provide adequate support to the parishioners that identify themselves with the Georgian Orthodox Church.
In the occupied territories, Georgian believers do not have the opportunity to exercise their faith and cultural rights in the language of their choice, from their church clergymen, in traditional cult buildings”, reads the report.
Apart from Georgian church, there is also an Ossetian church in Akhalgori, which is subordinated to the Diocese of Alanya and where worship is conducted in Ossetian as well. Metropolitan Isaiah is unable to return to Akhalgori. He was not in Akhalgori at the time of the closure of the Mosabruni crossing point, and like everyone else, he has been unable to return to the district.
As for Gali district of Russia-occupied Abkhazia, there are no ethnic Georgian priests. Father Pimen (Roman Kardava) used to serve there in the past, but in 2008, the Abkhaz side banned him from being engaged in religious activity and expelled him from Gali.
Read the full report here.