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Letter from the President of Abkhazia R. Khadzhimba and Priest Vissarion Apliaa to Patriarch Kirill

On 4 June 2019, the President of the Republic of Abkhazia R. D. Khadzhimba and the Chairman of the Church Council of the AOC Priest Vissarion Apliaa sent a letter to Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia:

 

Your Holiness! We appeal to you in connection with the difficult situation in the life of the clergy and Orthodox flock in the Republic of Abkhazia.

After the Patriotic War of the people of Abkhazia of 1992-1993 to the present time, the church life in our country has faced with serious difficulties and they are not dependent on the clergy or Orthodox flock of Abkhazia, as well as the leadership of the Republic of Abkhazia. We know that the revival of the church institution is a long and difficult process. However, there are urgent issues that can be resolved with the participation of Your Holiness.

The Church-People’s Assembly held on 15 May 2011 in the New Athos Monastery, organized by a group of clerics, monks and some part of the Orthodox flock of the Republic of Abkhazia, led to the creation of the Holy Metropolis of Abkhazia, which was subsequently registered by the Ministry of Justice of the Republic of Abkhazia as a Christian religious organization. The Church Council and the clergy of the Abkhazian Orthodox Church, considering the formation of a new church structure on the territory of Abkhazia illegal, on May 2011 appealed to Archbishop of Maykop and Adygea, His Eminence Tikhon. In a letter they asked His Eminence Tikhon to pay attention to this incident, in connection with the fact that hieromonks Dorotheos (Dbar) and Andrey (Ampar) were clerics of the Maikop and Adygea Diocese of the Russian Orthodox Church. The prohibition imposed by the Archbishop of Maykop and Adygea, His Eminence Tikhon, on the above-mentioned Abkhaz clerics by the Decrees of May 26, 2011, No. 068 and No. 069, and subsequent extension of the prohibition in the clergy service, in 2012, 2015 and 2018 were ignored by Hieromonk Dorotheos (Dorotheos) and Andrey (Ampar).

It should be noted that in May 2015, Hieromonk Andrey (Ampar) left the priesthood. Taking into account this fact and the last Decrees of Archbishop of Maykop and Adygea, His Eminence Tikhon, dated back to 12 June 2018, No. 048 and No. 049, says about ecclesiastical trial of hieromonks Dorotheos (Dbar) and Andrey (Ampar). We appeal to you, Your Holiness, for your help in overcoming the separation between the Orthodox clergy and the flock of Abkhazia.

In the name of Christ’s peace between all the Abkhaz clergy and the entire Orthodox flock of Abkhazia, and for Orthodoxy in our country, we ask you, Your Holiness, to give appropriate recommendations to the Archbishop of Maykop and Adygea, His Eminence Tikhon, to remove the bans imposed on hieromonks Dorotheos (Dorotheos) and Andrey (Ampar). As well as allow the Abkhaz clergy and the entire Orthodox flock of Abkhazia to make every effort in order to resolve the church problems in Abkhazia. If the bans imposed on the above-mentioned clerics are removed, the first step towards overcoming the separation of the clergy and the Orthodox flock of Abkhazia will be a joint divine service in the cathedral church of the holy great martyr and healer Panteleimon of the New Athos monastery.

With best regards and blessings to Your Holiness,

President of the Republic of Abkhazia
Khadzhimba R. D.

Chairman of the Church Council of the Sukhum-Abkhaz Diocese of the AOC
Priest Vissarion (Apliaa)

Sukhum,
4 June, 2019