Religious conflict in Abkhazia? It is possible
Any nation has its heroes and its wolves in sheep's clothing. And those and others are easy to recognize by deeds and actions. Some people exalt their people and their country. Others bring them trouble and suffering. And sometimes not only them. It is precisely such a conflict that can lead to national betrayal and a catastrophe of the Abkhaz people, and, what is the most terrible thing happening on religious grounds, is now stifling in Abkhazia.
In the middle of December, the former head of the FSB, now Secretary of the Security Council of the Russian Federation Nikolay Patrushev visited this republic. He also visited the Novy Afon monastery - the heart of Orthodoxy on the Black Sea. And visited not by chance. New Athos now they want to make an outpost of the international war against Abkhazia and ... Russia. In the image and likeness of the religious war that began in the Russian republics of the North Caucasus between Wahhabis and supporters of traditional Islam.
Alas, this conflict has already gone so far that reconciliation is hardly possible. It is attended by Georgia, the Vatican, Constantinople and many others, who prefer to act as backstage puppeteers for the time being.
My colleague, military observer Alexey Vaschenko told me about this conflict, which is not yet very well known to the general public.
Alexey Vashchenko is a resident of Abkhazia since 1965, a professional soldier, graduated from two military academies in Moscow, a veteran of the war 1992 –93, a journalist, has worked in the Russian parliament for more than 20 years. Like many other residents of Abkhazia, he is closely following the church conflict in Abazia. From the war he was acquainted with O. Vissarion, Dorotheus Dbar, Andrei Ampar, Father David. A close acquaintance with these people helped him to look more deeply into the problems of this protracted conflict. . Unfortunately, there is still no understanding of the serious consequences of this conflict for the fate of Abkhazia, how it will affect the Caucasus and Russia. If a conflict on religious grounds begins in Abkhazia, it will be a real and final catastrophe for many years worse than the 1992-1993 war. We see how the religious conflict in the Caucasus between Wahhabis and supporters of traditional Islam has been going on for many years.
- “The Holy Metropolis of Abkhazia” is widely heard today by almost everyone. The leaders of this structure are Dorofey Dbar, Andrey Ampar and David Sarsania. As far as I know, you know them for a very long time, from the beginning of the nineties.
Yes, in the spring of 1993, O. Vissarion sent D. Dbar and A. Ampar to the Supreme Soviet of the RSFSR with a request to assist in receiving documents and entering the seminary at the Trinity-Sergeyeva Lavra.
The situation was difficult, O. Vissarion decided to start preparing for the future from among the Abkhaz priests and the guys really wanted to enter the seminary of the Trinity - Sergius Lavra. But according to the laws of the Soviet time, which were still in force, their documents had to go the following way: first from Sukhum to Tbilisi, to the office of Ilia II, and only after the blessing of the Georgian Catholicos - in the Trinity - Sergius Lavra. In Soviet times, this was not feasible, but because of the war in Abkhazia, this was simply impossible. S.N. Baburin, from whom I was an assistant at that moment, through the assistance of the RSFSR Supreme Committee Committee that oversaw the church, achieved that the documents were accepted by Lavra directly bypassing Tbilisi, because the order could not be observed due to the war in Abkhazia.
- As far as we remember, Ossetians and Abkhazians repeatedly asked the Moscow Patriarchate to take them under their omophorion. But Moscow refused them, because it did not want to spoil relations with Ilia II. How did this time?
The request was granted, Dbar and Anbar were admitted to the examinations, they entered the seminary, the RSFSR Supreme Committee Committee as could have assisted during the exams. I constantly visited them throughout their studies in Sergiev Posad. When some evenings were held in the Moscow Abkhaz community, I constantly asked the seminary's administration to let Dbar and Anpara go to those evenings and they would not lose ties with compatriots in Moscow. Together with Dmitry and Andrey, the South Ossetian priest, Father Sawa, a seminary student, went to these evenings. Dbar and Anpara visited the seminary Taras Mironovich Shamba, the president of all Abkhazians of the world who met with the rector of the seminary. The head of the Moscow Abkhaz community O. Bebiya visited,. I participated in these meetings. When they graduated from the seminary I attended their graduation and congratulated them on graduating from the seminary. But they could not ordain them at the Lavra, the Georgian church warned that there would be a conflict with the Russian Orthodox Church! The fact that they learn the Georgian church has learned only on the 2 course, but it was too late, they could no longer deduct them. There was a serious conflict between Tbilisi and the leadership of Lavra and the Russian Orthodox Church, which could have ended very badly. The monastery and the leadership of the seminary managed to get out of the conflict. Upon graduation, it turned out that Dmitry Dbar graduated from the seminary, and later the academy defended his candidate's dissection, and Ampar - the icon-painting workshop. And the following year, Lavra adopted another Abkhaz student, by the name of Sarsania.
- As I understand it, this man was David Sarsania, the future ally of Dbar and Ampara in the "Holy Metropolis"?
Yes it is. The Abkhaz community was constantly in contact with the future father David at that time. I monitored the situation in the Georgian compound, in order to understand better the Georgian lobby. In the Russian Federation, he came to the attention too. We began to notice that he actively visited the Georgian compound on the Belorusskaya metro station. Of course, it was his own business, but it alerted us. Abkhaz Sarsania killed quite a few close relatives during the war and it struck us, O. Vissarion also took him to study, but we didn’t want and couldn’t force and influence him. in those years, good relations were established with the Georgian Church. However, we were then not to him. At that time we were busy with a more complex issue: the ordination of Dbar and Ampar. Father Vissarion Applia, spiritual authority of the then Abkhazia. Later they were ordained in Maikop, Dbar and Ampar were already ordained before ordination by the Maikop bishop already in Abkhazia, to help father Vissarion. In the meantime, the end of his father’s studies, David Sarsania, came up. The Abkhaz community learned that its fears about him were not in vain.
-What do you mean?
After graduating from the Trinity - Sergius Seminary, Abkhaz David Sarsania came under the jurisdiction of the Georgian Patriarchate, almost immediately received a parish, went to study in Western Europe. Later he asked to return to Abkhazia, but Father Vissarion was strongly opposed. Abkhaz - Georgian priest, after the war ... This was unexpected for us to say the least. Somewhat later, articles of Father David began to appear in the central newspapers of Russia, in which he insulted the Abkhaz church in every possible way and personally Father Vissarion Applia. In the eyes of Sarsania, Vissarion’s father’s wine was one — he formed the Abkhazian church independent of Tbilisi, using the rule of the Cathedral of Chalcedon in the 5th century. Many of us do not know about the merits of O. Vissarion during the war years about the separation of the Abkhaz church from Georgia. The essence of what Father Vissarion did: according to the canon, if within three months there were absolutely no orders from Tbilisi, even letters, about the church life in Abkhazia, then after three months Abkhazia is considered to be automatically withdrawn from the jurisdiction of Catholicos Ilia II. During the war, it was so. Father Vissarion publicly stated from the ambo and in the press: Ilia II left his Abkhaz flock in difficult military time for her, therefore Abkhazia has the right to use the ancient church rule and break all relations with the Georgian Catholicos and the Georgian Church, because it became independent due to fault the very same Georgian church. The Abkhaz diocese did just that.
- How did Elijah II react to the statement of Vissarion’s father?
After Father Vissarion declared that the Abkhaz diocese no longer obeys the Catholicos of Georgia, incomprehensible people began to come to him with a kind of "letter from Ilia II." Father Vissarion refused to communicate with them and take any papers in hand. They pressed Vissarion's father, threatened him, but he did not give up. Georgian churchmen called Vissarion's father a traitor, since he is a priest of the Georgian army, and must completely obey the will of Tbilisi and the Georgian authorities. Abkhaz Vissarion Appia was really forced to take the veil at one time. in Tbilisi. In Soviet times it was impossible to act otherwise, the Abkhaz or Ossetians could become a priest or a monk only in Georgia. What Dbar and Ampar are currently accusing him of. But according to this logic, Achba, Bagapsh, Ankvab and others can be reproached for those who worked in Tbilisi. It turns out that the feat of isolating the Abkhaz church from the Georgian belongs to the priest of the Georgian church. This feat is akin to a military feat. I believe that in many ways Abkhazia owes its independence, including the church one, to Father Vissarion.
- Tell us about the merits of Vissarion’s father.
During the war he was in Gudauta, and he helped as much as he could. Traveled to the front where there were shelling. After the war, Father Vissarion did his best to break the blockade of Abkhazia. As a leader of the Church, he actively promoted Russian peacekeepers. He personally went to the Russian Foreign Ministry and the Ministry of Defense and others. He did everything to ease the life of Abkhazia in the war and post-war years and strengthen the friendship between Abkhazia and Russia. I believe that his merit in this field is still underestimated. Unfortunately, not all Abkhazians shared his hopes for Russia. He was told: “what are you doing? Moscow blocked us and betrayed us. Better let's establish contacts with Turkey, the EU, the United States. ”And Father Vissarion said:“ No. We will be friends with Russia, even though Russia does not block Russia, but the enemies of Russia ”. The Vatican, the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, and various schismatics, such as Philaret Denisenko, were pressured on the Abkhaz diocese regarding Father Vissarion. In 2008, the efforts of Vissarion’s father were crowned with success: Moscow recognized Abkhazia as an independent state. There were positive moments in the Abkhaz church: monks - hermits appeared, the number of pilgrims to the holy places of Abkhazia increased. Basically, these pilgrims are Russians. Cooperation with the Russian Orthodox Church began to reach a new level, which in the future could lead to international recognition of Abkhaz church independence.
- What did Dbar and Ampar do at this time?
In 2001, Dmitry Ampar was tonsured as a monk in Maikop and ordained a hieromonk with the name Dorofei. In the same year he went to Abkhazia. First, he briefly commissioned the Koman monastery, then he was transferred to Sukhum. The place of the ministry of Andrei Ampar was New Athos, where he could then become the prior. In Abkhazia, fathers began to have friction with Father Vissarion. You yourself know that in the Church there is the same strict subordination as in the army. Andrei and Dmitri began to arbitrarily and conflict with O. Vissarion and other monks. We started to publish our newspaper without the blessing of O. Vissarion, who headed the council of the Abkhaz church. Then the internal affairs of Abkhazia caused an international scandal. The fact is that the Russian Church has a long-standing conflict with the Vatican. The then Patriarch Alexy II, like the current Patriarch Kirill, for many years struggled with Roman expansion in the post-Soviet space. Supporters of Vissarion’s father sided with the Moscow Patriarch. For example, the Abkhaz clergy did not want to support the Ukrainian defrocked bishop Philaret Denisenko, who himself had ceased to become the independent Ukrainian patriarchs. Moreover, the structure of the father of Vissarion Applia defended the Orthodox churches of Ukraine and Belorussia from their seizure by Catholics, Uniates and splits like Philaret. Father Applia is known as an implacable fighter against sectarianism. As I have already said, they pressed upon Vissarion’s father all who felt like it, were forced upon him by alliances with Filaret and other schismatics. And then Dbar and Ampar? In 2005, Monsignor Gugerotti, papal nuncio, visited Abkhazia for the first time. Dbar and Ampar met with him on personal initiative, without asking for a blessing, although such questions are resolved at the level of the ROC, the priests, which they were. This is a gross violation of church subordination. Their deed was replicated and interpreted by the Vatican as follows: “the top leadership of the Russian Orthodox Church categorically does not accept our goodwill, and ordinary priests of this church understand and welcome us. The sign of this is the meeting of the papal nuncio with the Orthodox priests of the Russian Orthodox Church in Abkhazia. ” That is, honest Abkhaz fathers deliberately supported the political victory of the Roman curia, the opponents of the Russian Church! A scandal broke out that reached the very patriarch of Moscow. Then there were a number of frictions, as a result of which the Bishop of Maykopes led the fathers of Dbar and Ampara to the state and temporarily banned them in the ministry. Despite this ban, they continued to serve. In addition, they still had conflicts with a number of priests, in particular, with Ashuba, in which Dbar and Ampar reached even obscenities and threats.
- As we remember, then something more interesting happened to both fathers ...
Dorofei’s father went to Greece in 2006, and there he defended a rather good doctoral dissertation on stories Abkhaz church. In 2011. The Greeks from the entourage of Bartholomew of Constantinople dedicated the Russian hieromonk Dorotheus Dbar to Greek archimandrites. According to church rules, this is a serious violation, a monk of the Russian Orthodox Church is erected in archimandrites without permission of the patriarch in another church. This is about how a platoon commander in the Abkhaz army will join the army of Turkmenistan and Tajikistan and will immediately submit to the 3 ministers at their discretion.
Even before the ban in the ministry, in 2006, Ampara was removed from the management of New Athos. Church authorities are tired of enduring his atrocities, later he repented. Father Vissarion, in agreement with the Russian Orthodox Church to strengthen ties between the Abkhaz and the Russian Orthodox Church, invited Hegumen Efrem (Vinogradov), one of the most revered Russian elders, to this service. Back in Soviet times, this man understood the true nature of the Georgian princes of the church, who only look peaceful and pious.
- As far as we remember, Elder Ephraim is not quite in trouble with Elijah. Or is there something else?
Father Ephraim labored on Valaam, but he was born and raised in the Georgian SSR, his ancestors - the Abkhaz. In Soviet times, due to the fact that he is half Russian, he had problems with the church authorities of Tbilisi. He did not want to ordain. In the end, they ordained him, saying: “leave Abkhazia and never come to the Georgian SSR”. And this is in Soviet times. Father Ephraim left for Balaam, where he became abbot. Many years later, the Valaamian elder Ephraim could head the Novo-Athos monastery. At first, he had no problems with either the abducted Abbot Ampar or his supporters. And in May, 2011, a gathering of people led by Dbar and Ampar took place at the Novo-Athos Monastery. At first they occupied Simeon Kananit in the cathedral, where they served a schismatic “liturgy”. After the liturgy, a so-called “church-folk assembly” was held in the cathedral.
Abkhazian Autocephalous Orthodox Church ". This collection was headed by our old friends, Dbar and Ampar David. Father Vissarion and the hierarchy of the Russian Church rightly called the whole company dissenters and enemies of the Russian Church. A propaganda war has begun, which continues to this day, and will continue later. From the point of view of a believer, this war is tantamount to a war between the Russian Orthodox Church of Russia and Abkhazia. Moreover, the main front of this war takes place in the holy Novo-Athos monastery.
- What is the meaning of the abode in this confrontation?
The Novo-Athos Monastery is the last monastery built by Russia before the First World War in the Russian Empire. in the Caucasus. It was built before the beginning of the First World War. The history of this monastery is interesting. In the middle and the end of the 19th century, Russian monks of Greek Athos began to be oppressed. They were forced to leave Holy Mountain. In Abkhazia, the construction of a new monastery, called New Athos, began. The first inhabitants of the monastery were monks, whom the monks sent for the construction of the monastery from Old Mount Athos. who could no longer live on the Holy Mountain because of oppression. The monastery was built throughout Russia. During the First World War, part of the monks went to the Russian - Turkish front. They were regimental priests, helped in the medical battalions, carried the wounded from the battlefield, for which they were later awarded with military awards. Novo-Athos Convent was conceived as an outpost of Orthodoxy on the whole Black Sea region, from the Balkans to the Caucasus. There lived monks from Romania, Bulgaria, Turkey, Serbia. Hegumen of the monastery could only be Russian. The statute of the monastery says that the prior of the monastery must be Russian and be affirmed at Old Athos, which no one in the whole history could violate one iota. The situation began to change after the collapse of the USSR and the beginning of the Georgian - Abkhaz war. After the war, the monk Pigar arrived from Old Athos, but was forced to leave the monastery and leave Abkhazia.
During a meeting in April last year, I was struck by the fact that the organizers inside and outside the main temple, and hung state flags on the walls of the monastery. I myself fought for the Abkhaz flag with weapons in the hands and respect this symbol. These flags should be on government buildings and institutions, in people's homes, but turning the monastery as it was done in 20-s into a club, party meetings ... and even monks, that’s too much. Can you present a meeting in Lavra of citizens with Russian flags at churches near the relics of saints? The exception is the funeral, when the coffin is covered with a flag. And the last thing that jarred me was that on the presidium there was a representative of the Georgian church representing Elijah 2. How did he get into Abkhazia with a Georgian passport, why did he end up there? in one word they were disconnected, everything that O. Vissarion was doing was by this alone turned out to be crossed out. Namely Dbar and Ampar invited him from Georgia, he got there not by chance, so we disconnect.
- Whom do you mean?
It was none other than Father David Sarsania. By that time, a former pupil of the Moscow seminary had become an important priest of the Georgian Church, and had learned through Elijah II in Europe. Imagine: the Georgian ecclesiastical hierarch - the representative of Ilia II at the meeting of Abkhaz believers under the leadership of part-time priests of the Russian Orthodox Church. The venue of the meeting is the Novo-Athos Monastery, whose affiliation is highly controversial, through which one can gain international recognition through the ROC. Franz Kafka is just resting ... The question arises: how did Father David, after what he said in print, about Abkhazia and the Abkhaz church, did he get to Abkhazia? And how did Saakashvili let him into “the territory occupied by Russia” and then did not judge him for being Abkhazia? Another question: did the Abkhaz border guards check him for the presence of a Georgian passport? After the Georgians left Sukhum in the 1992 year, they didn’t go there, and after the August war of the 2008 year - even more so. Staying in the territory occupied by Russia under Georgian law is a crime, and a person with a Georgian passport in Abkhazia is persona non grata. In general, Sarsania was at a meeting of schismatics, after which Elijah II said: at the gathering of Abkhaz believers there was a representative of the Georgian Church. Then both fathers went to Constantinople.
- And how did the Ecumenical Patriarch receive them?
Bartholomew took them quite warm and good. It is not by chance that the Russian Church has long-standing tensions with the Ecumenical Patriarch. The personality of Patriarch Bartholomew is very interesting. At one time, he, an ethnic Greek, served in the special units of the Turkish army, a Turkish officer in retirement. ORTHODOX PROTECTED DOCTOR'S DISSERTATION IN VATICAN. Repeatedly in the press there were reports that His Holiness the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew is closely connected with the international Masonic circles, and works along this line against Russia and the Russian Church. The Ecumenical Patriarchate is seriously involved in the anti-Russian direction at the international level. The fact that such a person accepted as dear guests is already an indication that Dbar and Ampar fell into the orbit of Western intelligence services.
For the first time, their warm meeting in Abkhazia with the nuncio Gugerotti testified to this, who did not come to Abkhazia for prayers and not for swimming in the sea. Vatican intelligence is rightfully considered one of the strongest in the world, it has close ties with the CIA and NATO, it suffices to recall how the Vatican destroyed the eastern bloc and the USSR. Bartholomew the Freemason, a Greek by nationality, served as an officer in the Turkish army. Orthodox, defended his doctoral thesis in the Catholic Vatican, the Ecumenical Patriarchate is simultaneously in the orbit of Turkish intelligence MIIT and the CIA, and along the line of these intelligence works against Russia. It is equally interesting that the Georgian Church is in close contact with the Vatican and Constantinople, and thus participates in the work of the CIA, the Turkish MIIT, and similar structures. Owing to the split, she firmly entered Abkhazia and prepared clashes on religious grounds for them. So after the visit to Constantinople (Istanbul) of Georgian Patriarch Elias II - he was in Turkey in connection with the 20 anniversary jubilee of the enthronement of Bartholomew I. Returning home, Ilia II said that Bartholomew I really wants to convene a meeting of Orthodox churches, or the Great All-Orthodox Council . “The Ecumenical Patriarch suggested that all churches that are not part of a particular Church should belong to the Ecumenical Patriarch,” he said. After some time (probably a coincidence) in New Athos a meeting is held with the presence of the representative of Elijah II David Sarsania at a meeting in Abkhazia, his “friendship” with Dbar and Ampar was demonstrated in full. A warm meeting between Dbar and Ampar with Bartholomew, a longtime foe of the Russian Church, was not entirely accurate in the media. The Georgian Patriarchate, in connection with the spread of 9’s January visit to the Abkhaz delegation to Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I, issued a statement stating that this meeting was an informal and Abkhaz delegation, after many requests for an audience, like any willing Christian, was given the opportunity to meet with Bartholomew I.
The statement notes that this explanation was received from the Chief Secretary of the Patriarch of Constantinople, Archimandrite Bartholomew (Samaris) in response to a request from the Georgian side.
"Archimandrite Bartholomew categorically denied that the delegation arrived at the invitation of the patriarch, and said that it would be wrong to call this visit an official or official meeting. He also stated that at the Synod of Constantinople it was clearly stated that Abkhazia is an integral part of Georgia and the Abkhaz Church is included under the jurisdiction of the Georgian Church. " The circle is closed.
Georgia and the Georgian church in this combination are the bridgehead of the West in the war against Russia and Abkhazia, which Saakashvili constantly talks about.
Personally, I witnessed many provocations of the Georgian Church in Abkhazia. Once, Georgian believers led by Jandieri (I have a two-hour record with this gentleman about this provocation in the archive) wanted to go through the whole of Abkhazia with a march, another time Ilia II declared himself Bishop of Sukhumi and Pitsunda. I would like to remind Elijah how in the times of Gamsakhurdia he kept weapons in churches, tried to baptize Georgian land in Abkhazia and Russia right up to Novorossiysk, as Georgian monks accused him of Sodom sin, as in Soviet times under his leadership were carried out, or rather, the murals were destroyed churches of Abkhazia and New Afon ... The Georgian church inflicted on the Abkhaz and Russian Orthodoxy such damage, which I am even afraid to assess. How the Georgian Church will lead in Abkhazia and how much harm Russia will still have in the future with the Vatican and Constantinople is difficult to imagine. The worst in Abkhazia can be expected right now.
- What do you mean?
I say that Dbar and Ampar in front of the representative of the Bishop of Maikop broke the decrees on their prohibition in the ministry, and declared their final break with the Russian Church. At the same time, I want to reproach the Russian Orthodox Church itself. The Russian church perfectly saw all the blasphemy that the honest fathers of Dbar and Ampar in Abkhazia committed, knew in detail about their meeting with the nuncio of Gugerotti, was shocked by their visit to Bartholomew and ... did nothing. It was necessary immediately, after the very first serious misdemeanor, to summon Dbar and Ampara and understand the church court, but the Patriarchate, unfortunately, missed this moment. It would be more convenient to solve all the problems even when they were still in the bosom of the Russian Orthodox Church. These fathers, after their weaning from the ROC, with the help of the New Friends, will do more work.
- About that?
In the modern history of Abkhazia there is a lot of this, which I personally knew, but never voiced. The Novo-Athos Monastery, and the tomb of the Apostle Simeon Cananit, located there, is the sacred property of the Orthodox around the world. Desecration or loss of this wealth will cost Orthodoxy huge disasters. I want to remind you that the buildings of the monastery were burned at the end of the 19 century in the Russian-Turkish war and the Turks cost dearly, they were defeated, closed in the year 1928. The monks went to the Pskhu region, but they were arrested (there were a few who remained alive, who were at the logging site) and brought them back. Part of the monks were shot in Novorossiysk, another part was put on two or three barges and drowned in the sea near the monastery. Those monks, whom the Bolsheviks drowned in the sea, still rest there. Divers say their ashes remain uncorrupted. After this tragedy, Abkhazia was annexed to Georgia and for decades Abkhazia experienced oppression. I remember another event. In 1993, Georgians bombarded the monastery with artillery. After that, the Georgians lost the war. Third. Shortly after the April meeting on the New Athos, May 29, 2011, Sergey Vasilyevich Bagapsh dies. It was worth Dbar and Amparu going to Constantinople, there is an attempt on the life of Alexander Ankvab in February. Now, after Dbar and Ampar have broken off the monastery’s orders by the Bishop of Maikop, another terrible misfortune can happen in Abkhazia. Unfortunately, part of the population of Abkhazia does not understand this situation at all and does not know anything about the canons of the Church and the nuances of the conflict. There is also a financial aspect. The monastery built during the Russian Empire with Russian money is a tasty morsel. The question of the economic entity is still open. Even Georgians admit that they have a very indirect relation to New Athos. A monastery, even in such a state in which it is now, gives up to one million dollars of net profit per year at the expense of believers and tourists. Dbar and Ampar don't talk about it.
But the main thing is to prevent confrontation as it was in 2004, but already on religious grounds, as it happens in the North Caucasus between Wahhabis and supporters of traditional Islam or Yugoslavia. Now the special services of Saakashvili and the West have such an opportunity. The Abkhaz authorities will cope with this task.
The background of all the events taking place today in Abkhazia around Orthodoxy and the shrines of faith events is obvious. But there were no adequate measures either. Waiting for when everything explodes?
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