Catholicos Warned Obama About Georgia’s Abuse of Minorities

Catholicos Karekin II and Patriarch Ilia II in Tbilisi in June

His Holiness Karekin II, Catholicos of All Armenians, in December 2009, wrote a letter to President Barack Obama alerting him to the continued abuses of religious and ethnic minorities in Georgia, a cable released Friday by the whistleblower site WikiLeaks revealed.

In his letter, the Catholicos brought the “unacceptable situation” of religious minorities in Georgia to Obama’s attention, noting that the situation has worsened since the collapse of the Soviet Union.
“As head of the Armenian Church, our unfortunate experience over the past two decades leads us to conclude that nothing in the religious sphere within Georgia has changed for the better since the collapse of the Soviet Union. On the contrary, religious life in the Republic of Georgia today “except within the Georgian Orthodox Church” is more restricted, repressed and intolerant for ethnic and religious minorities.

“After numerous years of effort and countless unsuccessful attempts to work with the Georgian government and the Georgian Orthodox Church to regulate the Armenian Church diocese and communities in Georgia, we are forced to formally bring to your attention the unresolved issues regarding:
1. The lack of legal status for religious minorities in Georgia; and
2. The Georgian government’s refusal to return church buildings and church properties. We require your decisive assistance to compel the Georgian authorities to live up to their international obligations, among which are the fostering of an environment where all Christian churches, as well as religious organizations of other faiths, can operate normally and have their human rights respected and protected,” said the Catholicos’ letter.

“The most recent example of the Georgian government’s indifference and wanton neglect resulted in the collapse two weeks ago of the historic St. Gevork of Mughni Armenian Church (built in 1356) in Tbilisi, Georgia; which is the second church we have lost in this manner.  This has caused great indignation among our people and Church,” delineated the Catholicos.

The Catholicos concluded the letter by expressing hope that the US government “will implement the necessary steps to positively affect this unacceptable situation.”


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  1. Pongo said:

    The American backed President Saakashvili decided to solve the situation of ethnical minorities on Aug. 2008, but he lost some teeth with Russian Bear.
    Would you imagine if one day our Prime Minister, Berlusconi, in Italy, would decide to bomb the French in Valle D’Aosta and the Germans in Alto Adige???
    They’ve have the right of self-defence, as the Abkhazian did in Georgia, Ossetians, and Armenians of Artasakh.

  2. The Truth said:

    Most of ethnically Georgian intellectuals, politicians and church leaders in Georgia are ‎acting either like chauvinists or Turkish neo-Nazis (incl. Turkish-Azerbaijani ultra nationalist -) ‎would act! Beside this Georgia and Georgians use to ignore the centuries old contribution ‎other ethnic minorities/folks – as an example, the fact that a big part of old city in Tbilisi ‎being Armenian or build by Armenian nobles …. !! ‎

  3. border said:

    I think Saakashvili had visited our country and got a gold medal (for what) from our president.Is this a joke or what? Instead of complaining about the problems, our president is praising him.I don’t know what to think.Did he know that our Catolicos wrote a letter to the Georgian president? What kind of communication do they have? Maybe they talk about other issues, you know what I mean.

  4. Norin Radd said:

    Armenians have contributed to Georgian society and culture more than the Georgians themselves. We built their capitol and help shape their alphabet which was derived from our own. However, we do not have oil money to buy their souls like the Azeris have.

  5. Norin Radd said:

    Armenians should focus on the plight of Javakh’s Armenian population along with our religious rights. Georgians love to say “just go back to Armenia” which in a sense is right, we Hyes tend to have a really bad habit of nation building on foreign soil then being put in a position to leave it all behind and move on, its time to stop such wastful behavior and focus on our homeland.

    Independant intelligence agencies like the MOSSAD, Shin Bet, and Aman need to be set up like the Israelis did rather than doing EVERYTHING in collusion with the Russians. Cooperation is great, so is keeping loyalty to regional allies, but we have to have our own mechanisms in place, otherwise progress will be difficult.

  6. ArdeVast Atheian said:

    Every time I read something like this I am truly amazed by the behavior of these primitive Georgians. It reminds me of how uncivilized they are and how unworthy they have become of ruling the minorities chafing under their rule.
    I say it’s time all of these indentured people severed their ties from their monster overlord. Time to get Ajaria and Zhavakhk out of their rule, like Ossetia and Abkhazia did.