Armenia’s Diocese wants to sue Georgian government

Analysis

During a recent visit to Georgia, the Armenian president met with the head of the Diocese of Armenian Apostolic Church in Georgia, Bishop Vazgen Mirzakhanyan. The spiritual leader of the Armenian community of Georgia told Serge Sargsyan that the acutest problem is the affiliation of the church at Agmashenebeli street, 38 in Tbilisi. This is the very center of the capital - the area of the former Plekhanov Avenue.

By the decision of Giorgi Kvirikashvili’s parliament, the cathedral was handed over to the Georgian Orthodox Church (GOC), but Mirzakhanyan believes that the Georgian authorities "did not study the historical origin of the church and its cultural and religious signs." Otherwise, they would not accept the decision that the Armenian diocese considers unfair. Mirzakhanyan informed the Armenian President that if the situation with the Tandoyants Surb Astvatsatsin church is not resolved in favor of the Armenian side, the diocese will appeal to the Georgian court. "We do not want Mother See of Holy Echmiadzin and the official Yerevan to deal with the problems connected with the preservation of the Armenian cultural heritage in Georgia. This situation can lead to the inter-state and inter-church problems. Therefore, the issue should be dealt by the Armenian community of Georgia itself, " the head of the Georgian Diocese of the Armenian Apostolic Church said.

Apparently, a lawsuit against the government will be filed early next year, right after the New Year holidays. At the same time, Mirzakhanian made it clear that if the court does not satisfy the suit of the Armenian diocese and does not return the church to the ‘legal owner’, the Armenian community of Georgia ‘will appeal to the international structures to resolve the issue.’ What is involved here, apparently, an appeal to the  European courts and international organizations.

Now, there are building and reconstruction works in the church at Agmashenebeli Avenue. They are conducted by the Tbilisi construction company commissioned by the Georgian Patriarchate. Immediately after the completion of the work, the church service can resume.

The secretary of the Catholicos-Patriarch of All Georgia, Ilia II, Father David Botkoveli, told Vestnik Kavkaza, that the patriarchy takes in strike the plans of the Armenian diocese to challenge the church's belonging in the courts. "They have the right to file a suit, it's up to them, but we have all the evidence of the Georgian origin of this church on our hands,” Botkoveli said, expressing confidence that if the Armenian diocese "really plans to file a suit,” the Patriarchate of the Georgian Orthodox Church will win. "This court will be a great disgrace for them,"  the personal secretary of the head of the Georgian Orthodox Church concluded.