Russian Patriarch Kirill and Anatoly Bibilov, July 25, 2017. Photo: presidentruo.org
The Russian Orthodox Church Patriarch Kirill hosted the new South Ossetian leader Anatoly Bibilov on July 25 in Moscow.
According the Russian Patriarchate, the two discussed “religious situation in South Ossetia, relations between the Russian and the Ossetian peoples, and other issues of mutual interest.”
It also said that Patriarch Kirill congratulated the region’s new leader on his victory in the April presidential polls.
Bibilov’s office reported in its press release of the meeting that the two spoke on the ongoing construction of the Russian Orthodox cathedral in Tskhinvali, as well as the possibility of sending the region’s residents in the Russian religious seminaries.
In an interview after the meeting, Bibilov said he intended to intensify relations with the Russian Orthodox Church, adding that “the Orthodox Christianity is the primary religion of the republic [South Ossetia], and we will surely be strengthening it.”
An official representative of the Georgian Orthodox Church Father Kakhaber Gogotishvili told Civil.ge that the Russian Patriarch has so far been recognizing that Tskhinvali Region/South Ossetia is under the jurisdiction of the Georgian Orthodox Church.
“This is what we have heard until now, but I am not familiar with what they said after the meeting,” he noted, adding that “if the Russian Orthodox Church intends to conduct an activity in the territory under the jurisdiction of the Georgian Orthodox Church, it has to address and obtain persmission from the Georgian Patriarchate.”