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Patriarch of Antioch Hosts Abkhaz Leader in Damascus

Patriarch John X of the Antioch Orthodox Church, one of the four ancient Greek Orthodox churches, hosted Kremlin-backed Abkhaz leader Aslan Bzhania at his residence in Damascus on May 18.

According to the Antioch Patriarchate, Bzhania and Abkhaz delegation also visited Mariamite Cathedral in Damascus where he lit candles for “peace and prosperity in the two countries.” The statement delivered by the Antioch Patriarchate mentioned Bzhania as the “president of the Republic of Abkhazia.”

While Assad’s Syria recognized the Russian-occupied region’s independence in 2018, the Antioch Patriarchate along with other Eastern Orthodox Churches regards Abkhazia as a canonical territory of the Georgian Orthodox Church under the name of Tskhum-Apkhazeti or Sokhumi-Abkhazia Eparchy.

Archpriest Andria Jagmaidze, Head of the Public Relations Department of the Georgian Orthodox Church, assessed Bzhania’s meeting with Patriarch John X as a “negative event,” but stressed that communicating with the Antioch Patriarchate is necessary first, before reacting.

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This post is also available in: ქართული (Georgian) Русский (Russian)

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