Georgian Orthodox Leader Warns Against Vatican Treaty

TBILISI, Georgia, SEPT. 19, 2003 ( The head of Georgia’s Orthodox Church urged the government not to sign a treaty setting down relations with the Vatican, saying it was not ”expedient” for the former Soviet state, Reuters reported.

Patriarch Ilia II called on the government Thursday to think again before proceeding with signature of the pact, to take place Saturday during a visit by Archbishop Jean-Louis Tauran, Vatican secretary of state for relations with states, the news service said.

Most of Georgia’s 4.2 million people are Orthodox Christians. Georgian officials say the treaty merely establishes standard relations between their country and the Holy See.