Trial of priest accused of attempted murder begins in Tbilisi

Moscow, May 5, 2017

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The trial of Archpriest George Mamaladze, accused of attempted murder against Shorena Tetruashvili, the assistant of His Holiness Patriarch-Catholicos Ilia II of Georgia, has begun today in Tbilisi, reports Interfax-Religion.

Fr. George was arrested on February 10 at the Tbilisi airport with cyanide found in his luggage, intending to fly to Berlin where Patriarch Ilia was undergoing gallbladder surgery. This led to initial reports suggesting that the patriarch himself was the actual target, although it later became clear that his assistant, who had also been in Berlin, was the target.

Prosecutors stated that Fr. George’s detention was based on a video made by his relative Irakli Mamaldze, supposedly confirming that he was seeking to acquire cyanide and to use it against Tetruashvili, because in controlling matters in the patriarchate, he was supposedly hindering Fr. George’s career.

Meanwhile, Fr. George’s lawyers maintain that all charges are unfounded and have called for all charges to be dropped, while Prosecutor Jarji Tsiklauri has stated that the investigation has turned up irrefutable evidence of the priest’s guilt. Interpress News also reports that Fr. George pled not guilty today.

While still recovering in Berlin, His Holiness Patriarch Ilia commented on the situation: “Sadness and joy go together like twin brothers. When a person is feeling joy, he should expect sorrow. Sorrow, you are the beginning of joy. Joy, you are the beginning of sorrow. This is eastern wisdom.” Placing this wisdom in the current context, he continued, “Unfortunately I had to come to Germany for gallbladder surgery. The operation was completed well, with good results according to the doctors. I also want to address the strange and abnormal situation surrounding Fr. George Mamaladze. I have known Fr. George for a long time and have never heard about him or seen from him anything but good.”

5 мая 2017 г.

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