Icon given by opposition Alliance of Patriots of Georgia party, rejected by Abkhaz church returned to Bagrati Cathedral
Irma Inashvili, the lead of the pro-Russia Georgian Alliance of Patriots Party has returned the icon of the Mother of God to Bagrati Cathedral in Kutaisi.
The icon had already been given by the party leaders to Ilori Church in Abkhazia, but was later returned by the Abkhaz church. The icon was removed from Ilori Church on 5 September and left at the administrative border.
“We went there for reconciliation. We took a small step, and now you see what we got”, stated Inashvili.
Clergymen took part in the icon’s presentation ceremony at the cathedral in Kutaisi, along with the leaders of the Georgian Alliance of Patriots Party.
Irma Inashvili and Giorgi Lomia, the leaders of the party, were in Abkhazia on 18 August as part of a secret visit.
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There they met with Lasha Sakania, advisor to the de-facto president, Aslan Bzhania. According to the Georgian politicians, the goal of the visit to Abkhazia was to give the icon of the Mother of God to the church in Ilori.
At first Sakania denied that he had met with Inashvili and Lomia, but later he admitted to meeting them, however not for peace talks. In his words, the Georgian politicians were in Abkhazia on a “humanitarian mission”.
Later, Sakania resigned his position in the face of protests from the Abkhaz opposition.
The leaders of the Georgian Alliance of Patriots have not yet revealed how they managed to cross the administrative border, which is closed from the Abkhaz side and patrolled by Russian special forces.