Georgian patriarch meets with Queen Elizabeth II
Georgia, Tbilisi, Feb. 11 / Trend N.Kirtzkhalia /
It is hard to be a neighbor of a big country, Queen Elizabeth II addressed to the Patriarch of Georgia Ilia II.
"It was a very warm meeting. She told me that it is very hard to be a neighbor of a big country (an allusion to Russia). Georgia respects her Highness, Queen of Great Britain," Ilia II said in an interview with BBC.
He said "we live in an era of globalization and we must do all that small countries maintain identity, culture and the big countries do not devour them".
Ilia II said he intends to visit Russian-occupied Abkhazia in the near future. "I'll go to Abkhazia as the leader of the diocese," Ilia II said.
"The jurisdiction of the Georgian Church extends to Abkhazia and Tskhinvali. This is recognized by the Russian church. 11 years I was the Metropolitan of Sukhumi and Abkhazia, so it is close to my diocese. I am familiar with the Abkhaz people," he added.
Answering to question how safe will be a visit of the Patriarch in Abkhazia, Ilia II said: "The Georgian and Russian churches are the main in the Georgian-Russian relations. I express big thanks to the Russian patriarch Cyril, as he recognizes the canonical borders of the Georgian Church and the rights in Abkhazia and South Ossetia. I hope that the Russian Church will help us address the issue of the Tskhum-Abkhazia diocese. I have repeatedly said the Russian authorities: why do you need Abkhazia and Tskhinvali, if you lose the friendship of Georgia. Georgia is well aware that Russia is a big country, but it supports separatism at a time when the country is fighting against separatism in itself. "