Georgian ‘Girchi’ party sets up church and seeks to ordain army conscripts into priesthood
‘Christian, Evangelical, Protestant Church of Georgia-Biblical Freedom’, that’s the name of the religious organization, set up by the ‘Girchi’ political movement in March 2017.
‘Girchi’ members claim that the religious organization aims at rendering assistance to those who are facing conscription for mandatory military service.
Under Georgian legislation, a person is entitled to get a deferment from the draft provided that he is serving as a priest or is a theological seminary student.
Georgian army conscripts often resort to the aforesaid practice. Find more about it in the JAMnews article.
The ‘Girchi’ opposition political party stands for the abolition of mandatory military conscription, in general, and it has been carrying out an active campaign in this regard. But until then, ‘Girchi’ has chosen to set up a religious organization as an alternative.
As it is pointed out in the organization statute, it shall be entitled to confer orders and conduct various ceremonies. After a person is ordained into priesthood, ‘Girchi’ will issue a relevant certificate that can be submitted to the military recruitment office. The certificate will bear signatures of Nika Oboladze, chief priest and a ‘Girchi’ party member, 2 bishops, as well as ‘Girchi’ members Archil Khachidze and Levan Jgerenaia. With this certificate, a conscript is fully entitled to demand deferment for military service.
According to the Mobilization and Military Conscription Coordination Department , several conscripts have already benefited from the religious organization’s issued certificate.
“The conscripts have been granted deferment from military conscription based on the organization’s issued certificate,” on.ge news portal was told in the Military Recruitment Department. The precise number of those who got deferment through the religious organization’s assistance is unknown so far.
‘Girchi’ members say they came up with this idea after a lot of young people had appealed to the party, seeking deferment from military service.
“It’s a 100% legal path and if the state still tries to turn them into slaves for 1 year, we will defend each of them in court,” the organization members claim.
‘Girchi’, which is a liberal political movement, is distinguished by its bodacious campaigns. For example, on 31 December 2016, dozens of movement activists planted cannabis in the ‘Girchi’ office in response to the government’s stringent drug policy.