International Orthodox Christian Charities (IOCC) distributed emergency food and hygiene supplies to people who were displaced due to the conflict between Georgian, Russian, and South Ossetian forces. The distribution took place on Thursday in Tbilisi where displaced families took shelter in a school for the blind and in the nearby town of Tskvarichamia. IOCC is also coordinating assistance to refugees in North Ossetia (Russia) in partnership with the Russian Orthodox Church.
"Most people had to flee the fighting in South Ossetia and brought nothing more than the clothes on their backs," said IOCC Georgia Program Manager Darejan Dzotsenidze. The Georgian government and the U.N. are currently registering some 23,000 people who fled the conflict and poured into Tbilisi. Those numbers are expected to increase.
Ruling bishops of the Russian Orthodox Church received a circular letter from Patriarch Alexy II to arrange fundraising for victims of humanitarian catastrophe in South Ossetia. "Recently accomplished military actions in South Ossetia forced thousands of people leave their homes. According to various sources, over thirty thousands of South Ossetian residents found temporary refuge in the Russian Federation," Alexy II's letter says as cited by the Moscow Patriarchate official website.
His Holiness and Beatitude Catholicos Patriarch of All Georgia Ilia II accompanied with Metropolitan Daniel (Datuashvili) of Tskhum-Abkhazia Diocese and a large group of priests and nuns left for Gori. The Catholicos Patriarch is expected to meet the local population in Gori and Nikozi, and if it is available to go to Tskhinvali as well. The Patriarchate of Georgia has been delivering humanitarian assistance through IDP's and injured population.
Head of Orthodox Church in Czech Lands and Slovakia visits St. Sergius’ Laura of the Trinity and Moscow Theological Academy18. August 2008 - 13:45
His Beatitude Christopher, Metropolitan of the Czech Lands and Slovakia, visited St. Sergius' Laura of the Trinity and the Moscow Theological Academy on 13 August.
According to the MTA press service, Metropolitan Christopher was welcomed by Archbishop Yevgeny of Vereya, MTA rector, and Bishop Feognost of Sergiev Posad, father superior of the Laura. His Beatitude said a prayer at the shrine of St. Sergius of Radonezh, the founder of the Laura, and was invited to a reception given in his honour. The head of the Orthodox Church of the Czech Lands and Slovakia is in Russia on a pilgrimage. During his previous visits, he never failed to come to the Laura and the Academy, his alma mater.
Georgian Catholicos Patriarch Illia II spoke about the political crisis in Georgia in His Sunday Preachment today. The Patriarch expressed his concern that Orthodox Russians were bombing Orthodox Georgians and that such aggression had never occurred in the history of two nations. ''Indeed, we are facing very serious peril, but don't be afraid of anything, God is with us and Virgin Mary is protecting is, but one thing concerns us very deeply that Orthodox Russians are bombing Orthodox Georgians. This is unprecedented act of relations between our countries. Reinforce your prayer and God will save Georgia. There is a saying ''Water will flow up and down and will return to its weir. So, believe that God will not separate Georgia into peices,'' Patriarch declared.
Having learnt about the hostilities in Tshinvali and its outskirts, I call upon the warring parties to cease fire and return to the path of dialogue. Blood is being shed in South Ossetia and people are being killed and this makes my heart to grieve profoundly. Among those who have lifted their hand against each other are Orthodox Christians. What is more, those who have come into conflict are Orthodox nations who are called by the Lord to live in brotherhood and love. I am aware of the appeal to peace made by His Holiness Catholicos-Patriarch Iliya of All Georgia. I also make my ardent appeal to those who have gone blind with hatred: stop! Do not let more blood be shed, do not let today's conflict be expanded many times over! Show common sense and virtue: sit at the negotiation table for talks with respect for the traditions, views and aspirations of both the Georgian and Ossetian peoples. The Russian Church is ready to unite efforts with the Georgian Church and help in achieving peace. May our God, Who ‘is not a God of disorder but of peace' (1 Cor. 14:33), be our Helper in this endeavor.
Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia