In a January 13 letter addressed to the Russian Patriarchate representatives, Foreign Relations Department Chair of the Georgian Orthodox Church, Metropolitan Gerasime Sharashenidze of Zugdidi and Tsaishi Eparchy, condemned a Russian Orthodox clergyman for holding Christmas service in occupied Tskhinvali.
Citing media reports, Metropolitan Sharashenidze, said clergyman of the Russian Church in Vladikavkaz and Alania, Sergi Kokoev, held a Christmas Service at the Tskhinvali Holy Trinity Cathedral on January 7.
Stressing that “Tskhinvali is the canonical territory of the Tskhinvali and Nikozi Diocese of the Georgian Orthodox Church,” the Metropolitan said the canonical law requires the clergy belonging to another Orthodox Church to request permission of the Georgian Orthodox Church before holding service on its canonical s territory.
Recalling that the Russian Orthodox Church “has always recognized and continues to recognize the jurisdiction of the Georgian Church in both Abkhazia and the Tskhinvali region,” Metropolitan Gerasime argued, that such “infringements” damage the relations between the two Churches.
“We hope, that you will investigate the above-mentioned issue, take strict measures against the clergy who have committed this non-canonical act, and that a similar incident will recur,” the letter concluded.