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To Poison a Patriarch

Michael Wandel, Staff Writer

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Georgia. It is one of the most religious countries in all of Europe with 80% of its population belonging to the Orthodox faith. The people of Georgia stand firm in their faith. The Georgian Orthodox Church has been able to regain its popularity since the fall of Communism in the nation and Patriarch Ilia II has become beloved by the people. However, not all has been well for the Georgian Church. On Monday, February 13th, Fr. Giorgi Mamaladze, a Georgian priest, was detained in an airport in Tbilisi and was found with cyanide in his possession. Fr. Mamaladze destination was Germany where it is claimed by Prosecutors that Mamaladze would have attempted to poison Patriarch Ilia II. When Georgian police searched the priest’s home a gun was found. The police were alerted to Mamaladze’s plans when he attempted to buy cyanide from an unidentified person who then alerted the police to Mamaladze’s actions. Mamaladze leads the Church’s property department and is the head of a medical center. Prosecutors are still developing their case at this time and new evidence could appear that would shed new light on this foggy dilemma that has sent shock waves through Georgia. At this time Patriarch Ilia II is recovering from a gallbladder surgery that occurred on Monday. Did Fr. Mamaladze attempt to poison the Patriarch in Germany in some attempt to seize power? As an old Georgian saying goes “A church without a leader is prey for the devil,” and without its Patriarch, the church could have been subject to turmoil and spread strife across Georgia. At this time the evidence is pointing Fr. Mamaladze being guilty and in attempting to poison Patriarch Ilia II, which would lead to him serving 15 years in prison, however, only time will tell if that is the whole story.

Image: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/feb/13/georgia-priest-charged-conspiracy-to-patriarch-iliaii-orthodox-church#img-1

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