Concordat of 2002
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The Constitutional Agreement between the Georgian state and the Apostolic Autocephalous Orthodox Church of Georgia (Georgian: კონსტიტუციური შეთანხმება საქართველოს სახელმწიფოსა და საქართველოს სამოციქულო ავტოკეფალურ მართლმადიდებელ ეკლესიას შორის), informally referred to as the Concordat, is an agreement between the Georgian Orthodox Church (GOC) and the state that defines relations between the two entities. It was signed by President of Georgia Eduard Shevardnadze and Patriarch of Georgia Ilia II on October 14, 2002 at the Cathedral of the Living Pillar in Mtskheta, Georgia.
- The concordat confirms the GOC's ownership of all churches and monasteries on the territory of Georgia except for those currently privately owned.
- The agreement recognizes the special role of the GOC in the history of Georgia and devolves authority over all religious matters to it.
- The concordat also gives the patriarch immunity, grants the GOC the exclusive right to staff the military chaplaincy, exempts GOC clergymen from military service, and gives the GOC a unique consultative role in government, especially in the sphere of education.
- The government of Georgia recognizes the legitimacy of the wedding ceremonies performed by the Georgian Orthodox Church, while maintaining that in legal matters government records must be used.
- As a partial owner of what had been confiscated from the church under Soviet rule (1921–1991), the State pledges to recompense, at least partially, for the damage.
The Georgian Orthodox Church is the only officially recognized religious denomination in Georgia. Although other minorities such as Catholics and Muslims have the freedom to exercise their religion, they can officially register their religious groups only as organizations, and not as churches. Moreover, while there are other smaller branches of Eastern Orthodox Christianity in Georgia such as the Russian Orthodox, they are all subject to the jurisdiction of the GOC on all territory of the Georgian state.
- (Georgian) A full-text of the Constitutional Agreement. Patriarchate of Georgia. Accessed on February 11, 2008.
- Timeline 2002. Civil Georgia. Accessed on February 11, 2008.
- Georgia: International Religious Freedom Report 2007. U.S. Department of State. Accessed on February 11, 2008.
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