24.05.2019

Regular meeting of HMA Council

On 24 May 2019, a regular meeting of the Council of the Holy Metropolis of Abkhazia was held in the New Athos Monastery.
In the meeting took part: Chairman of the Council of HMA, Archimandrite Dorotheos (Dbar), Deputy Chairman of the Council of HMA, Abbot of the Monastery of Saint Apostle Simon the Canaanite, Hierodeacon David (Sarsaniya), Ruslan Pandaria, Miron Chalmaz, Mark Trapsh, Alkhas Tkhagushev, Dionis Yalanchidi and a member of the Council of HMA with an advisory vote Akhra Argun.

In the end of the discussion, the Council of HMA adopted the following statement:

On 23 May 2019, the Holy Metropolis of Abkhazia, together with the brethren, flock and guests of the New Athos Monastery celebrated the feast of the Enlightener of Abkhazia – Saint Apostle Simon the Canaanite. In the cathedral church of St. Great Martyr Panteleimon held a solemn worship service, which was serviced by Archimandrite Dorotheos (Dbar). In the end of the Divine Liturgy and the litany (procession), all of the guests and pilgrims were invited to the festive meal.

The state holiday, the memorial day of the enlightener of Abkhazia, St. Apostle Simon the Canaanite was overshadowed by the provocative actions of the clergy of the Sukhum-Pitsunda Diocese of the Abkhazian Orthodox Church.

In particular, for the first time in the last 28 years, no worship was held in the church of St. Apostle Simon the Canaanite (one of the most important shrines of Abkhazia and the entire Christian world). Since 2011, the Holy Metropolis of Abkhazia, in order to avoid conflicts with the clergy of the Sukhum-Pitsunda Diocese of the Abkhazian Orthodox Church, began to hold worship services on the day of commemoration of St. Apostle Simon the Canaanite in the upper part of the monastery, in the cathedral church of St. Great Martyr Panteleimon. This year, the clergy of HMA also has not held Church services in the church of St. Apostle Simon the Canaanite.

The clergy of the Sukhum-Pitsunda Diocese of the Abkhazian Orthodox Church, leaving their parishes, monasteries and parishioners for two weeks without worshiping, served divine services on the porch of the cathedral church of St. Great Martyr Panteleimon. The Holy Metropolis of Abkhazia suggested a joint service and to share a meal on this festive day but the suggestion was ignored by the clergy of the Sukhum-Pitsunda Diocese of the Orthodox Church. In addition, the clergy of the Sukhum-Pitsunda Diocese of the Abkhazian Orthodox Church again stayed in the territory of the New Athos monastery at the end of the holiday.

In connection with the current situation, the Council of the Holy Metropolis of Abkhazia decided:

1. The life and activity of the Holy Metropolis of Abkhazia and its clergy is determined only by the decisions of the First National Assembly of 15 May, 2011 and the Second National Assembly of May 15, 2016 and the will of members of the parish communities of churches and brethren of the monasteries of the Holy Metropolis of Abkhazia.
2. The Christian virtues of hospitality and patience shown by the leadership of the Holy Metropolis of Abkhazia and the hierarchy of the New Athos Monastery should not be interpreted as an invitation to permissiveness.
3. From 24 May 2019, the New Athos monastery should be opened for visiting by parishioners, pilgrims, guests and tourists.
4. The clergy of the Sukhum-Pitsunda Diocese of the Abkhazian Orthodox Church, as well as any other visitors of the New Athos monastery, is allowed to have the right of temporary residence in monastery’s chambers, with the blessing of the clergy of the monastery.
5. The stay of guests in the New Athos monastery is governed by the internal regulations and orders of the hierarchy of the monastery.
6. Restrict entry to the territory of the New Athos monastery for private guests.
7. Stop any new discussion of the Abkhaz church problem with representatives of the clergy of the Sukhum-Pitsunda Diocese of the Abkhazian Orthodox Church and call for returning to the jointly adopted proposal (8 March, 2019) to create a bilateral working commission for a phased resolution of the Abkhaz church problem.