An influential head of the Georgian Orthodox Church, Patriarch Ilia II, said in a written statement on May 28, that the authorities should undertake “effective steps” to defuse tensions either through “early elections, negotiations or other means.”
“The sermon made in the Holly Trinity Cathedral on May 26 has triggered mixed reactions in the society since its content was perceived as an expression of a position only supportive towards the authorities,” the statement reads.
“The Church is a force uniting the nation, disposed for peace. Our statement made on the day before yesterday [on May 26] was made with the purpose of defusing the difficult situation.”
“It was known that the authorities were not going to compromise, while in case of sharp actions on the part of protesters clashes and bloodshed were expected. Based of the interests of the nation, the Church assumed a heavy burden and took a step aimed at preventing this real threat from our people.”
“It does not mean that the problem is over. The situation still remains serious and explosive. We think that the authorities should take effective steps to defuse tensions either through early elections, negotiations or other means,” the statement reads.