Your Excellency President of Russia,
We address to you, the President and Commander-in-Chief of Russia, in these days of sorrow not only for my country. As it is widely known, Russian air forces have been bombing Georgian cities and villages, orthodox Christians have been killing each other! There are children, women, oldsters, and reporters among died and injured… Recently, there has been bombed the Residence of Metropolitan Isaiah of Nikozi and Tskhinvali Diocese. The Residence was situated in village Nikozi, just 50m far from Cathedral Church. Metropolitan and his novices were able to rescue miraculously. Dwelling houses and civil buildings are being attacked as well.
It is obvious that Russian troops are not just destroying Georgian military premises as it has been reported by Russian journalists.
Russian media widely spreads information as though Georgians are occupants doing genocide. To put it mildly, this is a pure lie.
We express our deepest sorrow regarding death of thousand people on both Georgian and Ossetian sides, and the situation in general.
Georgian Orthodox Church has always supported a peaceful solution of the problem. We have declared many times before, and are repeating it now. It must be noted that Tskhinvali Region, the whole South Ossetia, is initial Georgian land. Most of Ossetian population resided the area in XVII century. And, the Autonomous Republic of South Ossetia was formed by communists during 20’s of last century. Thus, the effort of restoring the territorial integrity of Georgia must not be considered as aggression or ethnic conflict.
This is the same as if Russia has unexpected problems in Novgorod or Smolensk for instance, and Russia will begin protecting its territorial integrity. All the more, your country has had similar experience in Chechnya.
Mr President, we do rely on your discretion. This war has no winners.
There had been great many difficult periods in Russian-Georgian relations, but they never reached to such open military actions. This is a trial for Georgia, for Russian-Georgian relations, for Russia itself. Such a reality must categorically not be let to strike root.
We all shall remember that tensions and danger of conflicts blowing up will exist until restoration of territorial integrity of Georgia. The only way out is peaceful negotiations in order to restore justice. There is no peace without justice. We believe that we will overcome hostility and restore brotherhood relations with the help of God.
Let God bless our nations and gift peace and prosperity!
With deepest respect,
Catholicos Patriarch of All Georgia Ilia II