Seems like Georgia is one of a few countries that haven’t been “infected” with the virus of Ukrainian schism. Thanks God, self-proclaimed Kyivan “patriarch” Filaret (Denisenko) haven’t entered canonical territory of the Georgian Orthodox Church (GOC), although at one time he obviously might be welcomed there by some political actors. May be it was the firm stance taken by our Catholicos-Patriarch Ilia II that stopped him or our people’s deep faith… I don’t know.
However, in Ukraine, UOC-KP received at least two former clerics of the Georgian Orthodox Church: Bishop Christopher (Tsamalaidze) and Archpriest Basil (Kobakhidze)
– Bishop Christopher (Tsamalaidze) who left his diocese without permission and was repeatedly condemned by the Church trials since 1995 to 2009 (suspended in 1995 and defrocked in 2003). However, in spite of repentance, he preferred to make political accusations against the Catholicos-Patriarch Ilia II.
– Archpriest Basil (Kobakhidze) who was suspended in December, 2004 for insulting and mocking at the Church and the priests. For example, he criticized His Holiness Ilia II on repeated occasions (mainly for GOC’s departure from ecumenical movement and putting Georgia “outside the united family of European Christianity”). In February 2005, Basil (Kobakhidze) was defrocked (according to him, of his own free will). Then he gave a lot of anti-Church interviews, expressed his support for the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church, took part in protests against the president of Belarus A.Lukashenko etc. He also was an expert for the Center of Religious Studies, the website of which http://religion.ge/ is now unavailable.
On 21 January 2006, Bishop Christopher (Tsamalaidze) and Archpriest Basil (Kobakhidze) participated in celebrations of the national Ukrainian holiday – the Day of Unity and concelebrated with “patriarch” Filaret. In the same time, one Nikolai (Inasaridze) was uncanonically ordained to priesthood and appointed rector to the newly established “Georgian” parish of the Nativity. And Ukrainian media immediately started to spread false UOC-KP leader’s statements about the recognition of the “Kyivan Patriarchate” by the Georgian Orthodox Church and His Holiness Catholicos-Patriarch Ilia II.
In its turn, The Patriarchate of Georgia denied incongruous rumors with an official letter on 23 January 2006:
“The Georgian mass media reported that Bishop Christopher (Tsamalaidze) and Archpriest Basil Kobakhidze also arrived in Kiev to participate in celebrations and act on behalf of the Georgian Orthodox Church. In this connection, the Patriarchate of Georgia states that in compliance with the decision of the Holy Synod of the Georgian Orthodox Church, Bishop Christopher (Tsamalaidze) and Archpriest Basil Kobakhidze are unfrocked for gross and repeated violations. Their actions are unauthorized and non-canonical.
The Patriarchate of Georgia informs the Georgian community that the Georgian parish, opened in Kiev, belongs to the jurisdiction of the ‘Kievan Patriarchate’ that no one of the Autonomous Orthodox Church recognizes. It bears no relation to the Georgian Orthodox Church .As far as newly ordained ‘priest’ of this church Nikolai Inasaridze is concerned, the services conducted by him are also non-canonical.”
May be Filaret is even useful for the Church in some sense since he gathers all those who isn´t firm it faith and ready to betray it?