The Intricacies of Church & State Life


Agullible rank and file like me would never get versed enough in what the complex and multifaceted intricacies of the Church and State co-existence are all about. Intricate is just about everything in this compound realm of interaction between the two. It has always been that way in world history, and Georgia is certainly no exception to the rule. As such, I wouldn’t panic about what’s happening right now: a cleric accused of attempting to murder the patriarch; someone goes public about the alleged interference of the State in matters that are rendered exclusively unto Church by God; some of the heads among the erstwhile reputable members of the clergy are rolling; a kind of mischief is brewing somewhere in the ecclesiastic depths of the nation; some believe there is something wrong with our orthodoxy and some think that the Lord is so loving that He will never put on a scale our two-millennia-old faith.

The conventional anti-Orthodox skeptics and the inveterate atheists, who are, hopefully, not growing in number, are grabbing the favorable moment to celebrate, exultantly considering that the foundations of the long-established adherence to the beloved and venerated Georgian Orthodox Church are being shaken to the extent where faith is withering away and believers are starting to ask unwelcome questions. This is not true! The faith is strongly in place, and thank God; every god-blessed parish goes to church as adamantly as before, and this is enough proof of our national divinity; kids are baptized en-masse into Christian devotion, and this is a huge delight for every Georgian whose heart is not devoid of true Christian piety; candles are lit like one big fiery hope that we will be redeemed and forgiven, and this is the highest possible guarantor of our future bliss; our joint prayer brings closer the day of retribution for those who want to see our crystal clear faith in Christ downtrodden and corrupt, and this is the foundation of our Christian optimism; our judiciously patient and sage Patriarch is a little infirm but strong as an old oak in faith and devotion, enjoying his people’s sincerest love, herded by him with exceptional care and heed.

The historical survival of the Georgian nation has greatly depended on the strength and immaculate reputation of the Georgian Orthodox Church, which is one of the several autocephalous Orthodox churches in the world. By the simplest encyclopedic definition ‘Orthodoxy is adherence to correct or accepted creeds, especially in religion, and in the Christian sense the term means conforming to the Christian faith as represented in the creeds of the early Church’. Conversely, some of the atheist hotheads or trivial non-believers would interpret Orthodoxy as something halted on the spot and undeveloped, antiquated and conservative, fundamentalist and overly ritualistic – all this in the worst meaning of these words. This kind of attitude has nothing to do with genuine faith and sincere dedication to God. I myself am not the stubborn-most churchgoer or the most ardent defendant of the Christian creed, but I have enough decency as a regular citizen to say that hurting the Church in this culture and country would definitely mean hurting the entire nation and hampering its speedy successful development in peace and good labor.

So, when faced with a regular difficulty of certain consequence in the Church, we must not start making a mountain out of a molehill, thus blowing every word or action of the functioning clergy out of proportion as if the skies are coming down and Armageddon is here.

Concerning the nauseating talk about homosexuality, the issue, if any, should not even be touched upon so badly that it starts stinking so. Have we all forgotten the talk of the same nature and content in the Catholic Church that has buzzed through the ears of the entire world? Nothing much happened as a result then: nobody stopped attending the habitual morning services in the church and genuflecting under the pew with head bowed over the Bible. Because Mankind will probably not opt to live without the Church if it is compelled to make that choice.

By Nugzar B. Ruhadze

07 November 2019 18:08