TOMOS RECOGNIZING AND ADOPTING THE AUTOCEPHALY OF THE HOLY ORTHODOX CHURCH OF GEORGIA Dimitrios, by the grace of God, Archbishop of Constantinople – New Rome and Ecumenical Patriarch, In the Name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. “Speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ: from whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love” (Eph. 4:15-16), says the Apostle to the Gentiles Paul and, really, it is one parish and one body of Christ and so is called God’s Church on the Earth due to spiritual unity thereof and it did not hinder, of course, neither in 1st nor in subsequent centuries to the structures of local and different countries’ churches, being independent from each other, internally self-governing, are led by archpastors and primates and servants to the Christ’s Gospel and consist one Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church.
Such is a holy and Orthodox Church, existing on the blessed land of Caucasus, for now within the borders of the Republic of Georgia, which in ancient times received self-governing and free government and, accordingly, the ecclesiastical administrative organization. Giving many and brilliant examples of firmness and ecclesiastical life in faith, She continuously and unchangeably has been protecting and protects the teachings of our Orthodox Church and the truths recognized by Her. Now, having desire of canonical order within Her management, and being in friendly and full of love relations with all other Churches of the same holy confession, in every case, She applies to our Ecumenical See and asks blessings and adoption of Her self-governing structure. For agreed such, as vine of the Indivisible Vineyard of God, canonically among other local Orthodox Churches, She could continue the revival of Christ’s Body.
This appeal and request, full of honor, was received with love by us and our Holy and Sacred Synod, because our Ecumenical See is obliged to assist holy Orthodox Churches, requesting legal rights and status, give them hand and help them in decision of vital problems, raised due to necessity of epoch, for centuries old ecclesiastical life and rules, the authority procured with honors, filled Her by privilege of granting autocephalous management and formed its administrative rights. Hence, our humbleness and our blessed Metropolitans, with all-respected our brothers and concelebrants, by the Holy Spirit, came to decision and approves with pleasure that as a report prior to the Holy and Great Ecumenical Council, our First See, the Church of Constantinople BLESSES,
RECOGNIZES AND ADOPTS the autocephaly and independent structure of the Holy Church of Georgia.
It will be guaranteed and untouched according to our Sacred Faith and Ecclesiastical Canonical Rules, within the Plenitude of the Orthodox Church. By the decision of Synod and illuminated by the Holy Spirit, we DECLARE the Holy Church of Georgia with the same structure and organization that She has since ancient times and that is testified by Balsamon, writing: “...it is said, that in the period of his Holiness, Patriarch of Divine City of Great Antioch, lord Peter, Synodical decision was made on the freedom and autocephaly of the Church of Iberia” (Γ.Α.Ράλλη, Μ. Πότλη, ύνταγμα τῶν θειών και ἱέρων κανόνων, Ἀθ., 1852, τομ. Β, σελ. 172). We consider that She is involved and exists within the Unity of fraternal Orthodox Churches and hereby we CONFIRM that She shall be called as “Holy Autocephalous Orthodox Church of All Georgia”. We recognize Her as our spiritual sister, having competency to manage and conduct internal affairs independently and autocephalously, according to the rules. She acts with other holy Orthodox Churches with canonical rights, having as head Lord, God and Savior Jesus Christ, according to canonical and ecclesiastical rules, recognizes and respects the primacy of our Ecumenical Patriarchal See and as own highest administrative body recognizes the Synod formed by the hierarchs of the Church of Georgia, chairman thereof is Archbishop of Mtskheta and Tbilisi and Catholicos of All Georgia.
In order to protect the spiritual and canonical unity with our holy Apostolic and Ecumenical Patriarchal See and, also, every Orthodox Autocephalous Church, according to the canonical rule of the Orthodox Church, every Archbishop of Mtskheta and Tbilisi and Catholicos of All Georgia has to inform primates thereof his election and enthronement by the peaceful enthronement epistles. He has to show, as well, confession and confirmation of him and holy Orthodox Church trusted to him, that he will protect the Orthodox Faith and God-bearerness, and also the Divine and Sacred Canons and rules of the Orthodox Church; commemorate according to order in holy diptych the name of the Ecumenical Patriarch and other holy Patriarchs and beatitude primates of the holy Orthodox Autocephalous Churches. Regarding the issue of myrrh, the existing ecclesiastical tradition will be protected, in order to fulfill and declare both visibly and invisibly internal and external indivisible unity of the Orthodox Church.
Apart from these, we recommend to the Archbishop of Mtskheta and Tbilisi and Catholicos of All Georgia, in the time of ecclesiastical problems and obstacles of general character, which need to be universally discussed and voted, to apply to our holy Ecumenical Patriarchal See, through thereof he will be connected to every Orthodox Episcopacy, the rightly dividers of the Word of Truth, according to own request, he will get true opinion and consideration thereof and of fraternal churches.
So, whatever was tought, discussed and approved by us synodically, during the session on January 23, 1990 year of our permanent, in full, holy and sacred Synod, we APPROVE it by this patriarchal and synodical Tomos, composed and signed according to the rules of our Holy and Christ’s Great Church, precisely and unchangeably, we inform and send it to the Archbishop of Mtskheta and Tbilisi and Catholicos of All Georgia, our brother in Christ and concelebrant lord ILIA, Chairman of the Sacred Synod of the Holy Orthodox Autocephalous Church of all Georgia and, as it is rule and according to the Ecclesiastical Canons, to the acting and declared fraternal Orthodox Autcephalous Churches, in order to be protected and streghtened the Unity of the All-Orthodox Church.
Our Lord God, by the grace and mercy of the first, great and highest hierarch Christ our God, through the intercessions of all-immaculate His Mother, ever Virgin Theotokos Mary, of venerable, glorious prophet and baptizer John, of holy and glorious and all-praised Apostles, of saint equal-to-apostles Nino and of our venerable and God-bearing fathers, may strenghten and protect the bosom of the One, Holy and Catholic Church, fraternal Autocephalous Church of All Georgia, may lead her and revive in glory of His Name, to consolate her faithful parish and to joy our holy and Apostolic Ecumenical See and all fraternal Orthodox Autocephalous Churches. 1990 year of Savior, January 25.