Announcement of the Patriarchate of Georgia (09.03.2021)

Events in Martvili (the Chkondidi Diocese) on 03.08.2021 were not fully covered by the media, which misinformed some of our citizens. For those who have not seen the footage, or saw only the partial versions of it, we want to clarify:

1. On February 11, 2021 the highest authority of the Church of Georgia, the Holy Synod, appointed Stephan (Kalaijishvili), the Metropolitan of Tsageri and Lentekhi, as the new leader of Chkondidi Diocese.

2. According to the governing regulations the Orthodox Church of Georgia, all clergymen from the dioceses are required to obey the decisions of the Holy Synod, otherwise they are subject to punishment.

3. Despite His Eminence Stephan’s (Kalaijishvili) verbal and written admonition, two deacons demonstratively refused to take part in liturgical services with the hierarch, which is a gross violation of the Canon Law of the Church. Therefore, the appropriate ecclesiastical penalty was imposed upon the two deacons.

4. As a sign of protest, the two deacons, a few clerics associated with them and some laymen, led their supporters to the episcopal residence. By using brute physical force, they tried to break into the diocesan meeting, hosted by His Eminence Stephan, which was convened in connection with the ongoing processes.

5. Despite the warnings, some people, encouraged by these clerics, as well as journalists stormed the episcopal residence, which caused the rail of the balcony to collapse, and five people were injured (we express our sorrow over this fact).

We declare that the above mentioned incident was a planned provocation against the Chkondidi Diocese and the Church of Georgia, in general. Yesterday's footage of the incident showed that their behavior was not appropriate for believers at all. It also showed that people who plan these processes have no scruples about achieving their designs by using every possible means. It has been a while, since aggression, deception and slander has become a norm for them. They do not fear, or believe in God and do not even hesitate to use force.

We call upon everybody to maintain peace, for aggravating the situation is in the interest of the opposite party, especially when they do not even hide it.

We believe that our citizens and specially those residing in the Chkondidi Diocese will exhibit the wisdom and judgement characteristic to them and with God’s help we will maintain peace, and all unconstitutional actions against the Church will be prevented.