Georgian Orthodox Church amid controversy after data leak of private records

In other languages: GEOBGEL UA

In Georgia a great controversy has been engendered in recent days, revealing that the country’s intelligence services were monitoring the conversations of diplomats, politicians as well as all the Metropolitans and priests of the Georgian Orthodox Church of Georgia.

According to the Georgian media, the leak came from a former member of the Georgian intelligence services, who leaked the files with the illegal interception to the internet.

According to what was leaked, the state services of the country monitored the phones of the members of the Holy Synod, the Patriarch of Georgia, his assistants, the bishops, priests and monks.

The records include telephone conversations that contain information about their political views, activities, and personal lives.

The Formula TV channel reported that the data leak shows, among other things, close relations between clergy and nuns, as well as cases of pedophilia and systematic drug use, even within the church.

The records also show possible relationships between representatives of the Georgian Patriarchate and Moscow, including illegal or legal activities of the Georgian clergy in Russia.

They also report information about Patriarch Ilia of Georgia, which had been published in the past by the Georgian media.

Specifically, the information indicates that in the period 1956-1960 he studied at the Theological Academy of Moscow, in 1959 he was ordained by Patriarch Alexy I of Moscow, and he collaborated with the KGB under the pseudonym “Iverian”.

Moreover, according to the documents, the influential assistant to Patriarch Elias, Shorena Tetruashvili, was to leave her post in the 1990s. However, she remains at her post to this day at the request of the Patriarchate of Moscow, as reported by JAM News.

A representative of the public relations department of the Patriarchate of Georgia, Andria Jagmaidze, stressed to the reporters that they will not rush to comment further.

“It’s very bad if these reports of illegal interception are confirmed. However, we have all seen a lot of falsifications on TV shows, slander and we have become accustomed to the sad fact that the news is ‘created’, not just covered,” said the spokesperson for the Patriarchate.

Georgian media, however, said Jagmaidze himself was involved in the case, as he had reportedly asked the Georgian prime minister’s special representative for relationhips with Russia to help his family members acquire Russian citizenship.

Prosecutor’s Office of Georgia announced that “an investigation has been initiated—based on media reports—into breaches of the privacy of communications.

The country’s intelligence services stated that “they are ready to cooperate closely at every stage of the investigation that will be conducted by the Prosecutor’s Office.”

Several prominent journalists and politicians have confirmed that the documents include their telephone conversations and social media interactions with Church officials.



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