Catholicos-Patriarch Ilia Ghudushauri-Shiolashvili, the head of the Georgian Orthodox Church, called for calm after violence erupted after aggressive anti-gay protesters, led by Orthodox clergy, thwarted a rally by a small group of gay rights activists to mark International Day Against Homophobia on 17 May. Patriarch Ilia said in televised remarks on Friday evening, “We distance ourselves from violence”. However, in reference to the gay rights rally, he said, “It’s something that shouldn’t be propagandised. We should know that this is a sin before God. We can express our sorrow without interfering in anyone’s private life. I hope that everything will calm down. I call on our people on all sides to go from the streets and return back home and to pray for each other”.
On 16 May, the Patriarch released a written statement calling on the authorities to ban the gay rights rally in downtown Tbilisi. Speaking to Orthodox believers gathered in Holy Trinity Cathedral, after the 17 May developments in Tbilisi, a senior cleric, Bishop Jakob Iakobishvili of Gardabani and Martqopi, said, “What happened today was an order coming from the nation. You know very well that the United National Movement required two-and-a-half months to gather 5,000 people [for its 19 April rally], then, they boasted, ‘See how many people we gathered’. Today, people came into [the streets] on their own initiative… Several millions would’ve come [into the streets] if needed”.
17 May 2013
What the Church opposes absolutely is “gay propaganda”… that is, the suborning of minors and gay rights marches are beyond the pale. On the other hand, the Church takes a nuanced view of individual homosexuals… unlike the crazed konvertsy in the USA and their hysterical leaders such as Paffhausen and Moriak (Paffhausen shouldn’t have thrown stones given his mentor and hierarchical sponsor… the roads in his case DO lead to Platina and Dallas). The Church does NOT agree with sectarian Evangelical nonsense.
In short… some people overreacted and the Patriarch made it clear that the Church doesn’t condone violence… even violence supposedly in the service of “morality”. We don’t resort to the iron boot to impose “moral behaviour” (such is a contradiction in terms, no?). That’s the way of it in Christ’s Church…