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29.03.2019

Letter from the Church Council of the Sukhum-Pitsunda Diocese of the Abkhazian Orthodox Church

At the meeting of the Council of HMA on 8 March, 2019, the following Resolution was adopted: “… in order to achieve peace and harmony among the Orthodox Christian congregation of Abkhazia, in fulfillment of the commandment of our Lord Jesus Christ, on the eve of the Great Lent, on the eve of Quinquagesima Sunday <…>

1. The Council of HMA proposes to make a joint statement with representatives of the Sukhum-Pitsunda Diocese of the Orthodox Church that both church institutions in Abkhazia (HMA and the Orthodox Church) consider their sole purpose to re-create the autocephalous Local Orthodox Church in Abkhazia.
2. The Council of HMA wants to create a Joint Commission consisting of representatives of the Holy Metropolis of Abkhazia and the Sukhum-Pitsunda Diocese of the Abkhazian Orthodox Church to work out measures to get out of this situation.
3. The clergy of HMA Council is ready to serve with the clergy of the Sukhum-Pitsunda Diocese of the Abkhazian Orthodox Church, including in the churches of the New Athos monastery, however, we consider it absolutely impossible to held separate worship in the New Athos monastery due to the unacceptability of this way of church life by the flock of the Holy Metropolis of Abkhazia.
4. If the clergy of the Sukhum-Pitsunda Diocese of the Orthodox Church refuses in joint service with the clergy of the Holy Metropolis of Abkhazia due to the bans imposed on Archimandrite Dorotheos (Dbar) by the Russian Orthodox Church in 2011, the Council of HMA appeals to representatives of Sukhum-Pitsunda Diocese of the Orthodox Church to apply with the petition to the hierarch of the Russian Orthodox Church to lift the ban from Archimandrite Dorotheos (Dbar)”.

This resolution was adopted unanimously. In the end of the meeting of HMA Council in the New Athos Monastery, HMA Council met with the authorized representatives of the Church Council of the Sukhum-Pitsunda Diocese of the Abkhazian Orthodox Church consisting of priest Dalmat Gopia, Sergey Shamba and Daur Kogonia.

On behalf of the Sukhum-Pitsunda Diocese of the Orthodox Church, Sergey Shamba, a member of the Church Council of the Orthodox Church expressed agreement to create a joint Commission, and undertook to tell about this proposal to the Chairman of the Church Council of the Abkhazian Orthodox Church, Priest Vissarion Apliaa.

However, on 22 March, 2019, representatives of the Sukhum-Pitsunda Diocese of the Abkhazian Orthodox Church, hieromonk Basilisk (Leiba) and priest Dalmat Gopia handed a document to the chairman of the Council of HMA, Archimandrite Dorotheos (Dbar), which once again destroys the attempts of the Council of HMA to resolve misunderstanding and restore fraternal Christian relations among the Orthodox clergy of Abkhazia.