The Holy Synod of the Georgian Orthodox Church “expresses trust” to the investigation into the so called “cyanide case” and hopes that “it will be carried out transparently and will ascertain the objective truth duly.”
Along with the clerical issues, the Holy Synod meeting held on March 9 under the chairmanship of Georgian Patriarch Ilia II, discussed the recent developments in the Patriarchate and the case involving Archpriest Giorgi Mamaladze.
A day before the Holy Synod’s meeting, the Georgian prosecutor’s office released fragments of secret video recordings, purportedly showing Archpriest Giorgi Mamaladze and his acquaintance Irakli Mamaladze, speaking on the former’s plans of procuring sodium cyanide, a poisonous chemical substance, as well as his trip to Germany, where the Georgian Patriarch was undergoing medical treatment.
The investigation into the case was launched on February 2 based on the information provided by Irakli Mamaladze, the key witness into the case, who informed the Prosecutor’s Office that Archpriest Giorgi Mamaladze asked for his help in procuring sodium cyanide, which, as the witness explained, he intended to use for murdering the high-ranking cleric.
“Due to the willingness of Irakli Mamaladze to cooperate with investigation and his readiness to participate in relevant activities, we planned the meetings of Irakli Mamaladze and the defendant and covert audio-video recording thereof,” the prosecutor’s office said on March 8.
The statement also noted that Giorgi Mamaladze was charged with plotting the murder of Shorena Tetruashvili, the Patriarch’s assistant, who also accompanied Ilia II in Germany. The investigation has also questioned Shorena Tetruashvili, but has not disclosed details of the interrogation.
Giorgi Mamaladze’s lawyers called on the prosecutor’s office to release audio and video recordings entirely to establish the truth.
During its March 9 meeting, the Holy Synod also discussed public statements of Metropolitan Petre Tsaava of Chkondidi, who voiced critical positions towards some high-ranking clerics in the Patriarchate amid the "cyanide case."
The Holy Synod ruled that Metropolitan Petre grossly violates canonical and ethical norms and his statements aim at discrediting the church; therefore, it decided to rebuke Metropolitan Petre and dismiss him from the position of the director of the Georgian Patriarchate’s television Ertsulovneba, which he led since the day of its establishment in 2008.
The TV staff issued an open letter addressed to the Georgian Patriarch the same day, requesting Metropolitan Petre’s return to his previous position. But, on March 10, Archpriest Mikael Popkhadze was appointed as the director of the Patriarchate’s television.
Georgian Patriarch Ilia II also focused on the developments in the Church and “expressed regret over increased mutual accusations by clerics,” according to the Georgian Patriarchate.
Earlier, the Patriarch’s secretary Mikael Botkoveli, as well as the chief of the Patriarch’s security guard, Soso Okhanashvili, who, reportedly, had a verbal confrontation, quit their positions as well.