FOREIGN POLICY CENTRE about Religion in Georgia
FPC's new publication, Traditional religion and political power: Examining the role of the church in Georgia, Armenia, Ukraine and Moldova examines the political and social role of the Orthodox Churches in Georgia, Ukraine and Moldova and of the Armenian Apostolic Church., explores the ways in which the churches have contributed to the development of national identities since the collapse of the Soviet Union and the role they play in civil society. The publication looks at the nature of the relationship between church and state; how the churches influence, support and challenge the secular authorities in their hold on power and their response to 'traditional values' issues such as LGBTI and minority faith rights. The publication also looks at the ways in which the Russian Orthodox Church and Russian Government have been looking to influence this debate in these countries.
The publication contains the contribution from: Eka Chitanava, Tolerance and Diversity Institute;
Eka Chitanava’s essay argues that Orthodox Christianity was declared a main marker of national identity by the first president of Georgia. Since then, national and ethnic identities have become intermingled. Because of this narrative the political authorities in Georgia have struggled to relate to other religious confessions, even when the Government did not hold this principle of equating religious and ethnic identities. The Georgian Orthodox Church became a source of political legitimacy for Georgian governments, though this applied differently under different political leaders, the core principle remained the same. It is why governments always attempt to show loyalty to the Georgian Orthodox Church and why it has avoided making significant advances aimed at the protection of religious freedom and fostering tolerance. The essay provides an overview of the Church-State relationship in Georgia from Soviet times to the present day.
Read the publication at: http://fpc.org.uk/publications/orthodox