Defrocked Priest Slams Georgian Orthodox “Pseudo-Science” and “Pseudo-Miracles”

A former Orthodox archpriest in the country of Georgia complains about the state of his national church:

“The Georgian Orthodox Church represents serious obstacles to the democratic development of Georgia in every direction including theologically, socially, politically and culturally,” declares [Basil] Kobakhidze.

He says he would add to this list the scientific sphere as well, because the Georgian Orthodox Church “fosters the development of pseudo-science which is not based on rational research”.

For example, he says it’s common for priests to tell their parishioners not to use the internet or watch TV or read Harry Potter books [and]…church teaching is based on Russian pamphlets that only speak about the apocalypse and pseudo-miracles.

Kobakhidze also tells us that the church is “under the thumb” of the Russian Orthodox Church, and that the Patriarch’s University is a “centre of extremism”. What’s more, sexual improprieties are hushed up, and he

…criticizes the Patriarch for buying houses in Israel worth millions of dollars, while thousands of Georgians struggle to survive.

Kobakhidze has been attacking the Georgian religious establishment for some time; he has also accused Orthodox priests of involvement with a violent group that has attacked Jehovah’s Witnesses; described the new Trinity Cathedral in Tbilisi as a “pyramid built for the glory of some people and not for the glory of God”; and charged that the church has withdrawn from ecumenical activities because of “fanatics and fundamentalists and in order to avoid an internal schism”. A 2003 interview was particularly explicit:

The scale of corruption in churches is wide. Clergymen respect rich people and thieves; the profanation of values is evident at all levels of the hierarchy…It is our Georgian “Christian casuistry” to say, “That money was stolen from that man, but his money will reach God.”

There are no qualifications or criteria defined for clergymen…That’s why some clergymen have an extremely negative impact on our society.

Let me quote the answer of a priest, which was published in a newspaper under the heading, “What can you tell us, Father?”

Question: “What can you tell us, Father, about the fact that our priests have expensive cars?”

Answer: “Those who ask this question have never sought God. Is it not better that your priest have a good car? If he did not have one, he would spend time repairing it.”

In the same article the same priest says that dinosaurs never existed.

Once the Church was given some tax concessions, lots of organizations were established for making money…There is a candle business and a church plate business. Church plate comes from Russia for free to be sold later here in Georgia, but only certain organizations get these privileges…

The Patriarchate denounced Kobakhidze and all his works in a statement:

All these claims are groundless and baseless…As for the accusations brought by Archpriest Basil Kobakhidze against different clergymen and superiors of the Georgian Orthodox Church as if they serve to various intelligence services of different countries are malicious calumny and big sin before the God. Archpriest Basil Kobakhidze himself is in difficulties. Despite the repeated warnings he has been acting without blessing by the Catholicos Patriarch of All Georgia. He has participated in various meetings and forums without permission, he insults and mocks at the Church and the priests that is rather inadmissible action for any priest. Due to such actions he makes himself out of the Church.

In particular, the Patriarchate affirms that it enjoys friendly relations with other confessions, and that its withdrawal from the World Council of Churches in the 1990s was not a rejection of dialogue.

In 2006, Kobakhidze was arrested in Belarus for taking part (alongside a Georgian Baptist leader) in a protest against Alexander Lukashenko; he is also very supportive of the independent Kiev Patriarchate in Ukraine – the existence of which is a source of continual annoyance to the Russian church – and the Ukrainian patriarch Filaret helped with the creation of a Georgian parish in Kiev, which was denounced by the Georgian hierarchy.

Kobakhidze is based at the Georgian State University’s department of journalism, where he “analyses up to 40 newspapers and magazines published by the Georgian Orthodox Church.” He is also associated with the Center for the Study of Religious Issues, which last year made a complaint to Moscow patriarch Alexy over the treatment of Georgians in Russia:

Unfortunately the Russian Orthodox Church not only does not protest an anti-Georgian hysteria but silently observes the ethnic harassment in Russia and thus supports the strengthening of racism and xenophobia in its flock. Moreover, various official representatives of the Russian Patriarchate even justify the anti-Georgian policy of Russian State authorities. No surprising that no one of Russian clergymen participated in the demonstration “I am a Georgian” held in Moscow. The Russian Orthodox Church appears to be an obedient servant of the Russian State even in the 21st century.

Kobakhidze enclosed a special item:

…Your Holiness, You personally awarded one of us, Archpriest Basil Kobakhidze of the Georgian Orthodox Church, with the Order of the St. Prince Daniel of Moscow. Archpriest Bazil is returning this Order to You as a sign of his protest.

Name variations: Vasyl Kobakhidze; Vasily Kobakhidze; Vasili Kobakhidze; Vasil Kobakhidze; Basil Kobakhidze; Basili Kobakhidze; Bazil Kobakhidze

4 Responses

  1. The withdrawal of the Georgian Orthodox Church from the WCC can only be a step in the right direction. What sane Christian church can continue to have fellowship with a federation of apostates many of whom perform same sex marriages and ordain “gay” and lesbian clergy? God bless the Georgian and Bulgarian churches for leaving that rotten organization. May we see the day soon when other Orthodox churches stand up to the Greeks and withdraw from the WCC as well.

  2. […] I blogged on a Georgian priest’s complaints about fundamentalism in the national church here. […]

  3. Thomas Anderson
    Well, you sound exactly like “Godly” Christian “righteous” fundamentalist. Keep your “blessings” for yourself, thank you very much!!!! We don’t need the pseudo-religious fanatics’ praise.

  4. […] 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 […]

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