TO HIS ALL-HOLINESS BARTHOLOMEW ARCHBISHOP OF CONSTANTINOPLE – NEW ROME AND ECUMENICAL PATRIARCHYour All-Holiness,
At the scheduled session on 5 July 2016, the Council of the Holy Metropolis of Abkhazia considered all the documents adopted by the Holy and Great Council of the Orthodox Church, held in June 2016 on the island of Crete (Greece). The Council of the Holy Metropolis of Abkhazia unanimously adopts all of the above documents and recommends these documents to the Orthodox Christians who make up the flock of the Holy Metropolis of Abkhazia as mandatory for fulfilment.
At the same time, the Council of the Holy Metropolis of Abkhazia considers that the document on autonomy and the manner of its proclamation are not applicable in respect of the Orthodox flock of the Republic of Abkhazia. Since the end of the 1992-1993 Georgian-Abkhazian war representatives of the Abkhazian Orthodox flock have been doing their utmost to revive the Autocephalous Orthodox Church in Abkhazia. The Council of the Holy Metropolis of Abkhazia emphasizes that the main obstacle for achieving unity among the Local Orthodox Churches, including the solution of the Abkhazian Church issue, has become one of ethnophyletism, i.e. preference for national rather than Pan-Orthodox interests. It is known that this ecclesiological heresy was condemned at the 1872 Council of Constantinople.
The whole Orthodox Pleroma has become convinced that one of the main problems affecting the Georgian Orthodox Church in its creation of obstacles both to the existence of a modern Local Georgian Church and for a solution to the Abkhazian Church problem is the heresy of ethnophyletism. The refusal of the Georgian Orthodox Church to participate in the Holy and Great Council, as well as its refusal to sign a document on the sacrament of Matrimony and the obstacles to it, clearly demonstrated the dominance of the heresy of ethnophyletism in the Georgian Church.
Unfortunately, nationalism in its worst manifestations continues to occupy a significant place among Georgian hierarchs. The Orthodox congregation of Abkhazia has been facing ecclesiastical nationalism from the side of the Georgian Orthodox Church for many decades. The Council of the Holy Metropolis of Abkhazia, together with the flock of Abkhazia, considers that the only possible way of preserving Orthodoxy in our country is withdrawal from the Georgian Orthodox Church and to have the status of the Abkhazian Orthodox congregation defined within the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church.
Your All-Holiness, In connection with the new circumstances, we once again request the establishment of an Inter-Church commission, chaired by the Ecumenical Patriarchate, with the aim of discussing the issue of reconsidering the canonical borders of the Georgian Orthodox Church and of defining the status of the Orthodox congregation of Abkhazia. We hope that, through the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Orthodox flock of Abkhazia will become, in the nearest future, a fully-fledged part of the One Catholic and Apostolic Church.
Περισσότερα για την Ορθόδοξη κοινότητα της Αμπχαζίας βλ.''Religion in Abkhazia'',