29 Oct 2019 21:48

Georgian Patriarchate denies preparations for Catholicos-Patriarch Ilia II's resignation

TBILISI. Oct 29 (Interfax) - The Patriarchate of the Georgian Apostolic Autocephalous Orthodox Church has denied allegations that Catholicos-Patriarch Ilia II of Georgia is planning to announce his resignation.

"The reports circulated by some media outlets alleging that the patriarch has been taken to some secluded place where he is preparing a statement on resigning the patriarchal throne are absolutely mendacious," Deacon Mikael Botkoveli told journalists on Tuesday.

He urged journalists not to disseminate reports not confirmed by the Patriarchate.

The Holy Synod of the Georgian church will convene on October 31 at the Catholicos-Patriarch's behest to discuss the most pressing issues concerning the church, he said.

Georgian media have lately cited various politicians and experts as discussing recent scandalous statements by Metropolitan Jacob claiming that former Prime Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili, current Prime Minister Giorgi Gakharia and Interior Minister Vakhtang Gomelauri had tried to persuade him to join a plot to depose Ilia II and delegate the patriarchal throne to his deputy, Metropolitan Shio.

Metropolitan Jacob was also quoted as saying that some top-level hierarchs of the Georgian church are corrupt and linked to criminal organizations.

Following these statements, the Patriarchate announced that Catholicos-Patriarch Ilia II signed an ordinance on accepting Metropolitan Jacob's resignation as chorbishop (an aide to the Catholicos-Patriarch) and chairman of the church's financial and economic board.