January 14th, 2013 Beginning on January 10th, 2013, the Ecumenical Patriarch, Bartholomew (Archontonis) has been making the rounds in the nation of Georgia. The open and public reason has been to visit Patriarch Illia II on his 80th birthday, and his 35th years as Georgian Patriarch. Also present were Serbian Patriarch Irinej and interim leader of the Bulgarian Patriarch Metropolitan Cyril of Varna and Veliki Preslav.
During the events, and a few days later, the Phanar chief and his followers met with Georgian Prime Minister Ivanishvili and President Saakashvili. The statements by the Georgian leaders seemed to present the event as an event for the Georgian patriarch to make clear that the nation would not return to the Russian orbit of influence. Patriarch Illia seemed to agree, at least, was significant.
As most of us are aware, Russia and Georgia were in a state of war in 2008, over the issue of the independence of Abkhazia and South Ossetia from the Georgian Republic. The war resulted in a predictable Russian victory, but, not before American and NATO forces had made threats to insinuate themselves into the situation. Russia rebuffed these with its threats of war, which would mean nuclear war, ultimately.
With the upcoming events to celebrate the 1700th anniversary of the Edict of Milan, which granted religious toleration in the Roman empire (having the effect of relieving the Christian population from state sponsored persecution), it would be necessary for the Phanar to in some sense secure his position among the other Patriarchs. As to what he could feasibly accomplish, we are unclear of. The ultimate Phanariot goal would be out and open full communion with the Vatican; although this has been achieved defacto in Syria, and partially achieved in Egypt, Romania, and in the diaspora of Patriarchal dependencies, it has yet to be fully effected.