Who damaged the famous linden of Abkhazia?
Famous linden in Abkhazia
Vandals who damaged the legendary linden tree in Abkhazia have been arrested, brothers Heraclius and Daur Bagatelia. They have already confessed to the crime. It is assumed that the crime had a religious motive and happened “with the blessing” of a priest who came to Abkhazia from Donetsk. One of the Bagatelia brothers was taken into custody, the other was released on bail.
The legendary Caucasian linden in Abkhazia, which is 147 years old, was damaged by a chainsaw about two weeks ago. This linden is considered a spiritual symbol in the Abkhazian village of Lykhny. For many centuries, including during the Soviet period, all-Abkhazian people’s gatherings were held at this place, at which fateful decisions for the people were made. For Abkhazians, the Lykhnenskaya forest (Lykhnashta) where the tree is found is considered a sacred place.
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Initially, the investigation had several theories about what happened, including sabotage by foreign intelligence services. But at this point it seems most likely that the perpetrators acted out of religious motives in an attempt to combat pagan symbols.
As the chairman of the Council of the Holy Metropolis of Abkhazia, Archimandrite Dorotheos (Dbar), writes on Facebook, the vandalism occurred “with the “blessing and mentoring” of an Orthodox priest who came to Abkhazia from Donetsk. This priest was accepted into the ranks of the clergy of the Sukhum-Pitsunda Diocese of the Abkhazian Orthodox Church and appointed as a serving priest of the Adzyubzha Church.
“I have already said and written dozens of times: the traditional religious beliefs and rituals of the Abkhaz have nothing to do with paganism, because the Abkhaz perform them in the name of the One God. For me, an Orthodox priest, they are special forms of communion with God that have been developed by our people over the past centuries. Our ancestors performed these rituals with special reverence, choosing places for their performance on the basis of purity and holiness.
If the people who committed vandalism in the Lykhnenskaya forest had heard about it from the lips of priests from the ambos of Abkhaz churches, if they had seen programs about it from the screens of Abkhaz television, there would not have been that sad story that we all worry about today,” Archimandrite Dorotheos writes .
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