Ecclesial Theology: Baptist “Receptive Ecumenism” in the Evangelical Baptist Church of Georgia

Ecclesial Theology: Baptist “Receptive Ecumenism” in the Evangelical Baptist Church of Georgia.

This is an older post by American Baptist theologian Steven Harmon on the ecumenical engagements of Georgian Baptists, under the leadership of Archbishop Malkhaz Songulashvili.

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Bishop Rusudan Gotsiridze – 2014 International Women of Courage Award Winner


Bishop Rusudan at her ordination by Archbishop Malkhaz

Two days ago my friend the Georgian Baptist Archbishop Malkhaz Songulashvili was announcing me, confidentially, that soon, his colleague, and our common friend Bishop Rudusan Gotsiridze will receive at the State Department, in Washington the 2014 International Women of Courage Award, together with a number of other remarkable women.

Congratulations, Bishop Rusudan!

Here is the official announcement, for the ceremony that took place today: Continue reading “Bishop Rusudan Gotsiridze – 2014 International Women of Courage Award Winner”

Walking with Malkhaz Among the Clouds

2007-11 - Danut & Malkhaz
Walking with Archbishop Malkhaz in the hills of Gori, in November 2007

In 2007 I have visited Georgia for the second time. During my previous visit there I had the privilege of participating in the magnificent Celebration of the Ascension, done on the hills overlooking Tbilisi and Mtskheta. It was then that I met Malkhaz for the first time, and I was struck by his unusual and unique personality.

Having returned to his dear ccountry, and one of my favourites among the countries I serve in my capacity in World Vision, I wanted to spend some time with him. The only chance I had was an extended walk in the hills of Gori, on a rainy and cold Saturday of November. We walked and talked that day for many ours on those hills often surrounded by clouds, and rarely seeing a clear landcape. I felt like I walking with Moses on Sinai, something I will carry with me all my life. Continue reading “Walking with Malkhaz Among the Clouds”

Nino Machaidze – Caro nome – Rigoletto – 2010

This is my favourite Georgian opera singer.

Baptist Archbishop Malkhaz Songulashvili from Georgia has Been Recognized by Pro Fide Award

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Bishop Rusudan Gotsiridze, the Very Revd Candelin and Archbishop Malkhaz. Tbilisi, Georgia

On November 7 Archbishop Malkhaz Songulashvili’s work for peace, freedom and justice was recognised by Pro Fide Award 2014.  It was awarded by the Very Revd Johan Candelin of the Friends of the Martyred Church (Finland) at Betheli Centre, in Tbilisi, Georgia.

The Very Revd Johan Candelin is the good will ambassador for the First Step Forward, an organization of top ranking Christian politicians from Europe and USA.

“I googled “Malkhaz Songulashvili” and when I read everything I thought such a person could not possibly exist,” said the Very Revd Candelin before granting the award, “yet he is among us and we would like  to recognise his work and ministry.”

“I am humbled by such a recognition and, to be perfectly honest, I do not think I deserve it.” Said the Archbishop.

“This is what other recipients have also said.” Immediately commented the Very Revd Canelin, “we give this award only to such people who think they do not deserve it.” Continue reading “Baptist Archbishop Malkhaz Songulashvili from Georgia has Been Recognized by Pro Fide Award”

Archbishop Malkhaz – Honorary Citizen of Tbilisi

honorary citizen

Every year the Mayor of Tbilisi nominates and grants title “Honorary Citizen of Tbilisi” to distinguished scientists, artists, musicians, statesmen, businessmen  and others. Since 1979 up to present already 169 people were nominated and granted the title of honorary citizens.

This year on October 6 the awarding ceremony of “Honorary Citizens of Tbilisi” was held at Tbilisi History Museum “Karvasla”. Among other recipients of the title was Archbishop Malkhaz Songulashvili of the Evangelical Baptist Church of Georgia – the first clergyman to have received this title. Continue reading “Archbishop Malkhaz – Honorary Citizen of Tbilisi”

A Declaration from Archbishop Malkhaz Songhulashvili – On Homophobia in Georgia

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Archbishop of Georgia’s Press Service

May 17th is International Day against Homophobia (IDAHO), celebrated around the world with LGBTQ rights rallies. An attempt to observe the day against homophobia in the Georgian capital of Tbilisi ended in rioting as hostile protesters attacked participants and police lines crumbled.  Thousands of anti-gay protesters inspired, organised and led by the leadership of the Georgian Orthodox Patriarchate (by Corespiskopos – Deputy Patriarch Iakob and senior clergy of Tbilisi Diocese) attacked a group  of activists attempting to hold 30 minutes’ – long silent protest  in the Georgian capital of Tbilisi.  The video footage of the event has shaken thousands of people to their core. The couple of dozen peaceful activists had to be rescued by police and bussed out of the city centre for their safety. The mob descended on the bus with such ferocity and primordial anger that it was lucky that they escaped with their lives. Dozens of people were injured, including journalists and police officers trying to escort people away from the trouble.  For your information:

http://www.eurasiareview.com/17052013-georgia-anti-gay-riot-rocks-tbilisi-capital/

http://www.dailykos.com/story/2013/05/17/1209903/-Terrifying-video-of-rioters-attacking-gay-pride-participants-in-Tbilisi#

http://republic-of-gilead.blogspot.com/2013/05/georgia-anti-gay-orthodox-protesters.html

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/05/20/world/europe/georgian-officials-react-slowly-to-anti-gay-attack.html?_r=0

Two days before the violence, Archbishop Malkhaz Songulashvili of the Evangelical Baptist Church of Georgia issued a declaration which was published and widely circulated.  Sadly, this declaration was not heard by the Orthodox hierarchy and clergy, who were in charge of the organized violence. So far no bishops, priests or laity have been disciplined by the church for their participation in the violence. Continue reading “A Declaration from Archbishop Malkhaz Songhulashvili – On Homophobia in Georgia”