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Holy Metropolis of Abkhazia, Georgia

Last modified: 2022-11-05 by ian macdonald
Keywords: holy metropolis of abkhazia |
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[Flag] image by Valentin Poposki, 18 July 2021

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Tomislav Šipek, 16 July 2019

Description of the flag

The Orthodox Church in Abkhazia, officially Holy Metropolis of Abkhazia, got a new flag and coat of arms, created by Akhra Smyr and realized by Georgy Zakhartsev. The new symbols were presented on 08.07.2017, during the evening dedicated to the 100th anniversary of the proclamation of the new autocephaly of the Abkhaz Church.

Flag: Heraldic description:
The flag is a rectangular cloth consisting of two equal vertical stripes: white at the pole edge, and blue at the free edge. In the center of the flag there is an image of a four-pointed white Byzantine cross with a blue edging. The ratio of the width of the flag to its length is 1: 2.

Explanation of the symbolism:
Two vertical stripes symbolize the holy apostles Andrew the First-Called and Simon the Canaanite, who brought the good news to Abkhazia. The white color symbolizes Abkhazia, blue color - the sea through which the Apostles got to Abkhazia. The position and shape of the cross symbolize the connection of Abkhazia with the entire Christian world and the special role of Rome / Byzantium in the formation of the Christian Church in Abkhazia.

Valentin Poposki, 18 July 2021

It looks like the "Holy Metropolis of Abkhazia" is actually a dissident movement within the already established Abkhazian Orthodox Church, which itself declared its separation from the Georgian Orthodox Church in 2009 (it is also not recognized by any other Orthodox Church [besides the Russian one?]). Like all things related to Abkhazia there multiple sides. This is the 'state church' of the Republic of Abkhazia and it has its own flag since at least 2012. Of course the former head of the Sukhumi-Abkhazian Eparchy of the Georgian Orthodox Church (Daniel Datuashvili, from 2010 Ilia Shiolashvili) is in exile in Georgia. The "head" of 'Holy Metropolis of Abkhazia' Archimandrite Dorotheos was actually suspended by the Bishop of Maikop and Adygea Tikhon of the Russian Orthodox Church in 2011 for his actions.

The Abkhazian Orthodox Church

"On 15 September 2009 the leadership of the Sukhumi-Abkhazian Eparchy, against the authority of Ilia II, Catholicos Patriarch of All Georgia, declared that it no longer considered itself part of the Georgian Orthodox Church, and that it was re-establishing the Catholicate of Abkhazia, and that it would henceforth be known as the Abkhazian Orthodox Church.

Its leader Vissarion Aplia asked both the Russian and Georgian Orthodox churches to recognize the "Abkhazian Orthodox Church". A spokesman for the Georgian patriarchate said the decision to separate from the Georgian Orthodox Church was taken by a "group of impostors", while the Russian Orthodox Church confirmed that it continued to view Abkhazia as the canonical territory of the Georgian Church.[5][6]

On 9 February 2011, the Abkhazian government transferred 38 churches, cathedrals and monasteries perpetually into the care of the Abkhazian Orthodox Church.


Vissarion Aplaa is the Primate of the Abkhazian Orthodox Church since 2009 and is the self-proclaimed catholicos of the Abkhazian Orthodox Church.[8] The Pitsunda Cathedral is the church's chief cathedral and the seat of its primate.

The Church is presently organised into two eparchies, one in Pitsunda and another in Sukhumi. The Church has nine parishes. It also has two monasteries, the New Athos Monastery and the Kaman Monastery. "
Ben Cahoon, 19 July 2021

Coat of arms

[Flag] image by Valentin Poposki, 18 July 2021

Coat of arms: Heraldic description:
A quadrangular shield with a round base, four-part beveled in the shape of the St. Andrew's cross. The first and fourth fields of the shield are azure, the second and third are silver. In the place of honor in the first field of the shield there is a silver Byzantine cross. In the second and third fields, there are three water carriers: two and one, one and two. On the fourth field, in the belly of the shield, is a silver ship under full sails. The shield is framed with a golden olive wreath.

Explanation of symbolism:
Silver (white) symbolizes Abkhazia, azure (blue) - the sea through which the Apostles got to Abkhazia. The cross in the place of honor symbolizes the unity of Abkhazia with the entire Christian world. The cross section of the shield in the shape of the St.Andrew's cross symbolizes the evangelist of Abkhazia, the holy Apostle Andrew the First-Called, in whose name the Patriarchal Cathedral in Pitsunda was consecrated. Six waterpots symbolize the connection with the holy Apostle Simon of Cana of Galilee, where the miracle of transforming water into wine in six vessels took place. The Roman ship symbolizes the way of penetration and establishment of Christianity in Abkhazia. The golden olive wreath symbolizes the peace, prosperity and prosperity of Christianity in Abkhazia.

Valentin Poposki, 18 July 2021