Patriarchate of Georgia has released a statement on the comment by Metropolitan bishop of Akhalkalaki, Kumurdo, and Kari, reverend Nikoloz Pachuashvili on ex-president Mikheil Saakashvili.
The statement says that the metropolitan bishop's words stirred up a strong reaction from the public.
''First, the bishop said that he deems universal reconciliation the only way out from the present situation, the example of which authorities must set,'' the statement reads.
The patriarchate says that despite its great willingness for universal reconciliation and despite universal reconciliation being paramount, it must be noted that reconciliation cannot be achieved if the corresponding individuals do not repent first and do not assume their share of responsibility.
The statement goes on to say that the public's response to reverend Nikoloz's statement was adequate as he focused on the third president's release from jail, and if he did so, 'despite high public interest and in view of objectivity,' he must have shown a similar willingness with regard to other inmates.
The patriarchate stressed in its statement that the hunger strike declared by Saakashvili could not be equaled to fasting since the president is on a hunger strike to show protest as he refuses to plead guilty.
''Sadly, the 8 November comment by father Nikoloz triggered fair dissatisfaction from the public as he made inconsistent comparisons in the context of Christian teaching.
He emphasized that Mr. Mikheil Saakashvili completed a 40-day dry fasting journey and, by doing so, he made a great sacrifice before his country and encouraged everyone to forget hate speech. As the bishop said, by doing so, he repented.
However, the president and his adherents have informed everyone that Mr. Saakashvili is on a hunger strike to show protest, present his arrest as unfair, and refuse to plead guilty,'' the statement reads.
According to the statement, comparing a politically motivated hunger strike with fasting, which is related to repentance, is discrediting the latter.
''We are sorry that the personal views expressed by the bishop made taking steps on the path to forgiving each other even more difficult,'' the statement reads.