The fate of the Khujabi monastery, the provocation in Adigeni and Echmiadzin's sudden "reconciliation" with Pashinyan...

13.03.24 16:00

On 12 March, the Ambassador of the Republic of Armenia to Georgia, Ashot Smbatyan, met in Tbilisi with Metropolitan Shio (Mujiri), Sublate of the Catholicos-Patriarch of Georgia. The meeting noted the "rich spiritual-cultural ties and civilizational commonalities that unite the Armenian and Georgian peoples". The preservation and development of the 'centuries-old cooperation' between Echmiadzin (the Armenian Apostolic Church) and the Georgian Orthodox Church was emphasized. However, it was not reported that the "centuries-old" anathema curse of Catholicos Abram against the Georgian Orthodox Church has not yet been officially and publicly lifted by Echmiadzin.


On the same day, the chairman of the Georgian State Agency for Religious Affairs, Zaza Vashakmadze, met with the Armenian ambassador, Ashot Smbatyan. The meeting discussed the possibility of signing a memorandum between the State Agency for Religious Affairs of Georgia and the relevant bodies of the Republic of Armenia within the framework of "strategic cooperation" between Georgia and Armenia. Zaza Vashakmadze and Ashot Smbatyan also discussed the issue of the registration of the Georgian Orthodox Church of Georgia on the territory of the Republic of Armenia, where, it should be recalled, there are dozens of Georgian temples and monasteries to which the Armenian authorities have so far simply refused access to the priests of the Georgian Orthodox Church. 


It can even be assumed that during the meetings of the Armenian ambassador with Metropolitan Shio (Mujiri) and Zaza Vashakmadze, the issue of Armenian claims to Georgian Orthodox churches was raised in one way or another. "Kavkazplus has already written about the fact that Echmiadzin and Armenian Catholics together claim 465 Georgian churches on the territory of Georgia. There is no doubt that sooner or later Armenia and Echmiadzin will repeat their "campaign" and insist on these claims against Georgia.


The Armenians took over Georgian churches where Georgia did not have time or could not oppose these seizures, demands and claims due to disunity. Moreover, in addition to dozens of Georgian churches and monasteries in the north and even in the central regions of the Republic of Armenia, which were simply appropriated by Echmiadzin and passed off by Armenian falsifiers as "Armenian-Chalcedonian", Armenia also appropriated the Khujabi Monastery on Georgian territory, cynically moving the border 400 meters north into the interior of Georgia.


Today, the demarcation of the Georgian-Armenian border is becoming relevant. The question of the return of the Khujabi monastery to Georgia and the Georgian Orthodox Church must be raised. There is no doubt that Armenia will try to keep this monastery under its control, even though it is rapidly being destroyed under this "control". The aim is that there should be no precedent for the return of any Orthodox holy site to Georgian control.


Of course, Georgia and the Georgian Orthodox Church today must be principled on the issue of the return of the Khujabi Monastery. There can be no question of 'handing over' this Orthodox holy site to Armenia.


All the more so as it appears that the Armenian security services, the Armenian fifth column and Echmiadzin intend to intensify their "joint work" on and against Georgia. The recent provocation in the municipality of Adigeni, when provocateurs managed to incite some residents against their fellow Muslim villagers who were merely going to pray in the house of a member of the local Georgian Muslim community, is not at all accidental.


The "Armenian ears" are just sticking out in this provocation. Armenian agents, fifth columnists, and provocateurs are allegedly frightening Georgians with the threat of 'Turkish and Muslim expansion' in the Samtskhe-Javakheti region. Additionally, 'Javakheti' Armenian separatists have already made forceful attempts to seize Georgian Orthodox holy sites, such as the Kumurdo Cathedral in the autumn of 2017.


Recent trends suggest that the Pashinian government and Echmiadzin have begun to coordinate actions on the external front, including with Georgia and the Georgian Orthodox Church.


According to the 'Black and White' TV channel's publication on March 7, 2024, relations between the Armenian government and the Armenian Apostolic Church are beginning to improve. It appears that Pashinyan is taking pragmatic steps towards this end. 


During his trip to Cairo, Pashinyan visited the local Armenian church of St. Gregory the Enlightener and took off his cap for a photo with the clergy.  In Yerevan, the mayor's office has banned the daily anti-church rallies held in the city centre by the anti-clerical movement 'Vardanank' since February 24, 2024.


Suppose Echmiadzin is currently more aggressive, intransigent, and revanchist than the Pashinyan government 'on the Azerbaijani-Karabakh direction'. In that case, there appears to be complete unanimity between them 'on the Georgian direction', directed against the Georgian Orthodox Church.  Echmiadzin and Armenian authorities will likely coordinate actions regarding Georgian churches in Georgia and prevent the return of Georgian holy places, such as the Khujabi monastery, to the Georgian Orthodox Church.



Alexandre Chkheidze

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