(Eurasianet) An angry archpriest, his clerical headgear disheveled, stormed out of the holy see of the Georgian Orthodox Church and declared that the church leader, Patriarch Ilia II, was a “sodomite” and “pederast.” The archpriest, Bishop Petre of Chkondidi, then waded through a crowd of journalists and drove off in a huff, leaving a national scandal in his wake.
Fellow archpriests soon emerged from the October 31 meeting of the Holy Synod, an executive council of the church, and reported that they had to physically restrain Petre as he tried to attack the frail, 86-year-old patriarch. [...]
The struggle could have far-reaching consequences for Georgian politics, both domestic and foreign. “It is obvious that political forces have their preferred candidates [for the next patriarch],” said Kornely Kakachia, the director of the Georgian Institute of Politics, a Tbilisi think tank. “It is evident from the different takes television channels have on this,” he said. [...]
“No matter who wins, an about-face in foreign policy is unlikely, but if the pro-Russia camp prevails in the church, the process of cozying up to Moscow will intensify,” Kakachia said. [...]
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