(The Messenger, Georgia) In an article published by Forum 18 news service (a Christian web and e-mail initiative to report on threats and actions against the religious freedom of all people mainly concentrating on the states of the former Soviet Union), about the difficulties religious minorities in Georgia face building their own places of worship, Catholic Bishop Giuseppe Pasotto explains, “The idea is that a church that is built would be a public sign which could influence people and be a source of proselytism against the Orthodox Church.”
The article goes on to cite two True Orthodox congregations, who after a long period of obstruction, were finally allowed to start building their own churches-one in Saburtalo and one in Kutaisi. The priest, Fr. Aroshvili, when commenting on their new place of worship stressed that, “It looks like an Orthodox church,” and said they would not put a sign out front that read “True Orthodox.” Speaking about the church in Kutaisi he also insisted they would build it in traditional Orthodox church style with a cross on the top. Fr. Aroshvili, commented that the last church they tried to build was in 2002 in the village of Shemokmedi. He claims it was burned down by a mob of villagers when they discovered what they were building. And this is an orthodox church….