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The Church Where the Abkhazian and Georgian Warriors Are Mentioned Together

December 16, 2010
Salome Achba

In the yard of Sameba Cathedral, the church will be built blessed by Georgian Patriarch dedicated to Abkhaz and Georgian warriors killed in the war. The idea belongs to IDP Congress and Georgian Warriors Union. The planning of the church is being completed. The construction will start in January and end in a year.

The church will be built by financial support of the Patriarchate Fund “Mze Shina da Mze Gareta. (The sun inside and outside)” The co-founder of the fund is the officer of the 23rd brigade, a veteran, Georgian businessman currently living in Russia Mindia Gulua. The honorable President of Mze Shina da Mze Gareta is Georgian Patriarch and the cathedral is being built by his blessings.

According to the statement of the head of the IDP congress, the former Minister of Abkhazia MIA, Davit Gulua, the church will immortalize the memories of the warriors passed away in the war and serve the idea of bringing together Georgian and Abkhazian people: “It is important that the church is built not only on behalf of Georgian warriors, but Abkhazians as well. Obviously, it is exaggerated that the fact will bring positive changes in Georgian-Abkhazian relations, but we are assured that it will play positive role. Abkhazians also heard about this idea and they will also join the construction of the temple and assist us,” – states Davit Gulua, the head of the IDP Congress.

As the IDP Congress states the Abkhazians living abroad and in other regions of Georgia, IDPs and the family members of warriors killed in the war will join the construction.

The deputy head of the IDP Congress Mamuka Achba thinks that this church will be the symbol of unity between Georgians and Abkhazians. “I think this will be a step forward for bringing together two nations. It is very significant that the initiators of the construction are warriors and the war veterans. Abkhazian and Georgian warriors and the family members of those killed in the war need to reconcile in the first place.”

The conflict scientist Paata Zakareishvili thinks that the construction of the church will not bring any changes in Georgian-Abkhazian relationship. As Paata Zakareishvili states to, the only thing that can regulate Georgian-Abkhazian relations is the right politics and reasonable steps of Georgian government. “It is very good that this kind of church is being built and it is possible to pray for the souls of dead. However, I think it will not bring any change in Georgian-Abkhazian relationship. The church is for praying. If this church is being built for restoring Georgian-Abkhazian relationship, I do not consider it reasonable. Only the reasonable actions of government will bring outcome in regulating Georgian-Abkhazian relationships, as for the rest, including – church construction, it is additional activity which does not require special function.”

Mamuka Areshidze, expert in Caucasus issues: “Construction of this church might not impact the normalization process of Georgian-Abkhaz relations, but I think it will really play a positive role in it. We should not forget that although Georgian clergymen cannot enter Abkhazia and carry out religious services there, Abkhazia is still within the Georgian Eparchy. Similar thing was done in Spain after the civil war. The history shows that it had played its positive role.”

IDP writer from Abkhazia Guram Odisharia evaluates the construction of the church positively. “It is a very good initiative. It would have been good, if they had started it long before. This war was a huge tragedy for Georgian and Abkhaz peoples. Both parties have victims. The church in the yard of the St. Trinity Cathedral will be an alarm bell, warning and reminder for everybody not to unleash the war between Georgian and Abkhaz people again. We had been constructing churches together for so many centuries. We prayed together. This church, which will constructed in the name of Georgian and Abkhaz warriors, will have a positive impact on the Georgian-Abkhaz relations. The family members of the soldiers killed in the war, warriors, veterans, IDPs, young people and society in general will have the temple where we will pray together for the souls of the killed in the war.”

Besides construction of the church, the IDP Congress plans to construct polyclinics for IDPs where IDPs, family members of the killed in the war and veterans will receive free medical treatment. The construction and equipment of the polyclinic will be funded by the Foundation “Mze Shina Da Mze Gareta” (Sun Inside and Outside).

Co-founder of the Fund businessman Mindia Gulua will fund the polyclinic.