TBILISI, DFWatch–An archbishop in Georgia claims the disputed building in Mokhe was formerly a church, and that allowing it to be used by Muslims is unacceptable.
The conflict in the village Mokhe near Adigeni started last week when workers came to start dismantling the building and turn it into a culture house.
Muslims claim there used to be a mosque there years ago, while Orthodox Christians claim it was a church.
Metropolitan and Archbishop of Tao-Klarjeti and Akhaltsikhe Teodore now claims that there was a church in 1595 which he says is described in historical sources.
At a press conference on Friday he said that in the 1920s during the Soviet Union there were plans to destroy the church and build a mosque there instead, but the construction never finished and there never has been a mosque there.
Instead, it was turned into a culture house, and after the end of the Soviet Union the building went out of use.
Teodore also said that it will be ‘reasonable’ to hand the building over to the Patriarchate of Georgia and then it will decide what to do with it.
14 people were detained in clashes in Mokhe. Three of them were released without charges, while 11 had to pay a GEL 250 fine.