Vatican Calls on Georgian Government to Return Catholic Church Property in Georgia

Cardinal Pietro Parolin, the Vatican Secretary of State, has written to the Georgian government asking for the return of Catholic Church property to Catholics in Georgia.

A letter written in January this year, but only now made public, is addressed to the Georgian Prime Minister. The six churches in question (in Gori, Kutaisi, Batumi, Udi, Ivliti, and Buzmareti)  were confiscated from the Catholics and handed over to the Orthodox parishes and are currently occupied by Orthodox parishes.

The letter says that the Orthodox parishes, who are currently using these churches, claim that the government gave them these religious buildings when Georgia became independent again. As a result, they believe this issue is important for the state to address.

Cardinal Parolin mentions that in the past, the decision not to give back churches was justified in some cases when the Orthodox community didn’t have any religious buildings. However, the author of the letter points out that in recent years, the Orthodox bishops have built many churches all over the country, often with the help of the government.

The Cardinal also highlights several “friendly acts of the Catholic Church towards Georgia,” such as the support shown to the Georgian Orthodox community in Rome. In light of this, the Vatican seeks reciprocity, which is first and foremost exemplified by the restitution of the Church of the Immaculate Conception in Kutaisi, which historically houses the largest Roman Catholic community.

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


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