TBILISI, DFWatch–A Georgian priest at a mountain monastery on the border with South Ossetia says Russian soldiers often come there to pray.
Abbot Mate Julakidze says he was compelled to provide an explanation after some people wrote on the Internet Wednesday morning that there was a confrontation between Russian soldiers and priests at Lomisi Father’s Monastery.
Abbot Mate told Interpressnews the same day that there haven’t been any conflicts at his monastery, neither today nor any other day.
“They often come to us, they pray and attend service. They have good relations with us,” he said, adding that they also visited on Wednesday.
He explained that what spurred the rumors about a conflict was a video posted on the Internet which shows a soldier waving the butt of a rifle around in a pack of dogs. The Russian soldier was trying to calm down the dogs, some of which belonged to the soldiers, and some to the monastery, and the two groups of dogs didn’t get along very well.
“The soldier was trying to separate them with the butt of a machine gun,” Abbot Mate explained, who later spoke with the person who uploaded the video, and it has since been removed.
The abbot explained that the monastery is too close to the border line and border guards come there often.
“They don’t bother us unless we invite them in,” he said.
Georgia and Russia fought a brief war in 2008. After the war, the Russian security service FSB’s border service took over responsibility for patrolling the disputed border around the breakaway region South Ossetia.