Media Partly to Blame for Attack on Nunnery, says Archpriest Jagmaidze

Archpriest Andria Jagmaidze, Head of the Public Relations Department of the Georgian Orthodox Church, authored a Facebook post on 26 November, partially blaming the media – chief among them opposition Mtavari Arkhi TV, TV Pirveli, and Formula TV – for the attack on the Tskhramukha Nunnery in Khashuri Municipality which left a 70-year-old elderly nun in critical condition.

Media outlets first released reports on the morning of 26 November that unknown individuals had broken into the Tskhramukha nunnery with the aim of robbing it. The Ministry of Internal Affairs (MIA) later arrested two individuals – L.T., born in 1995, and V.G., born in 1983 – in connection with the incident. The pair stand accused of aggravated robbery and rape by more than one person under Articles 179 (2) and 137 (3), respectively, of the Criminal Code of Georgia. If they are found guilty, they face up to 13 years in prison.

Archpriest Jagmaidze asserted that the media outlets, theologians’, and experts’ “hidden and organized anti-Church campaign,” based on the belief “that the salvation of our country, its economic rise, and political victories, can happen only through the complete reorganization of the Orthodox Church or by dissolving it entirely, has had a heavy impact on parts of the population.”

Pointing to past incidents between media and the Church, Archpriest Jagmaidze questioned what a “thug” might think when he sees “that it is permissible to constantly accuse the Church of carrying out the policies of the occupying country, […] to call the clergy ‘bandits’ in the Svetitskhovloba yard, […] for a Mtavari Arkhi TV journalist to disrupt services in the Martvili Cathedral, to declare the Patriarch an enemy of the country, what is left of what can be allowed in the mind of a thug who does not fear God?! – What happened today in the Khashuri Nunnery.”

The Archpriest further claimed that “attempts to decline the Christian Church are also connected with the destruction of family traditions, which is manifested by the frequency of family conflicts.” In that context, he pointed to the heinous crime which took place in Terjola the day before, where a man murdered his wife and injured several others, including himself, when he lit her on fire after dousing her in gasoline.

Archpriest Jagmaidze also contended that everyone must understand one thing, “if we sow evil in society, its fruits will surely reach us and, unfortunately, with the most severe consequences.”

Public Defender Responds

Responding to the Archpriest’s post, Public Defender Nino Lomjaria underscored that while the whole country was “shocked” by what happened at the Tskhramukha monastery, “blaming the causes of this crime on representatives of the media is extremely dangerous and wrong.”

“Tomorrow, a citizen provoked by this statement may physically attack, assault, a journalist, which we have already seen many times,” she stressed. “It is impermissible, [and] dangerous to speculate on such topics and create an image of the enemy out of innocent people.”

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


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