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Religion in Abkhazia

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Title: Religion in Abkhazia  
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Subject: Abkhazia, Religion in Europe, Religion in Kazakhstan, Economy of Abkhazia, Religion in Cyprus
Collection: Culture of Abkhazia, Religion in Abkhazia, Religion in Georgia (Country)
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Religion in Abkhazia

Religion in Abkhazia (2003)[1]

  Christianity (60%)
  Islam (16%)
  Abkhaz Paganism (8%)
  Other religions (2%)
  No religion (8%)
  Undeclared (6%)

Most inhabitants of

  • (Abkhaz) (English) (Russian) Official site of the Abkhazian eparchy
  • Matsuzato, Kimitaka: "Canonization, Obedience, and Defiance: Strategies for Survival of the Orthodox Communities in Transnistria, Abkhazia, and South Ossetia" in the Caucasus Analytical Digest No. 20

External links

  1. ^ Александр Крылов. ЕДИНАЯ ВЕРА АБХАЗСКИХ "ХРИСТИАН" И "МУСУЛЬМАН". Особенности религиозного сознания в современной Абхазии. (2004-03-17). Retrieved on 30 May 2011.
  2. ^ a b George Enteen, ABKHAZIA versus GEORGIA: Implications for U.S. Policy toward Russia
  3. ^ a b c Александр Крылов. ЕДИНАЯ ВЕРА АБХАЗСКИХ "ХРИСТИАН" И "МУСУЛЬМАН". Особенности религиозного сознания в современной Абхазии.
  4. ^ a b Georgia: International Religious Freedom Report 2005. The United States Department of State. Retrieved on May 24, 2007.
  5. ^ Constitution of the Republic of Abkhazia, art. 12 Russian: }
  6. ^ Крылов А. Б. Секрет абхазской веротерпимости. НГ-религия от 17 марта 2004.
  7. ^ Kuchuberia, Anzhela (17 November 2009). Абхазская православная церковь обратилась к духовенству Грузии с братским посланием (in Russian). Caucasian Knot. Retrieved 29 November 2009. 
  8. ^ Witness through troubled times : a history of the Orthodox Church of Georgia, 1811 to the present, Abashidze, Zaza.
  9. ^ A long walk to church: a contemporary history of Russian Orthodoxy, 2nd ed, Davis, Nathaniel
  10. ^ Autocephalous Orthodox Churches centered at Constantinople
  11. ^ a b Сухумо-Абхазская епархия переименована в Абхазскую Православную церковь с Сухумским и Пицундским патриархатами (in Russian). Администрация Президента Республики Абхазия. 2009-09-16. Retrieved 2009-09-26. 
  12. ^ The Georgian Times on the Web: Comprehensive news site, daily international, national and local news coverage , breaking news updates, sports, reviews
  13. ^ a b Вновь обострился конфликт внутри православной общины Абхазии. May 15, 2006. Retrieved on June 26, 2007 (Russian)
  14. ^
  15. ^ HISTORY OF THE ORTHODOX CHURCH OF GEORGIA Archived 28 July 2007 at the Wayback Machine
  17. ^ Abkhazia: Only Georgian Orthodox priest expelled.. Forum 18 News service, April 23, 2008.
  18. ^ ABKHAZIA: "Of course" authorities won't defend Georgian monks and nuns. Forum 18. September 4, 2008.
  19. ^ Abkhazia expels clergymen to Georgia for refusing to recognize local church - official. Interfax. 6 April 2009
  20. ^
  21. ^ a b Kuchuberia, Anzhela (2009-11-16). Группа мусульман Абхазии совершит хадж в Мекку (in Russian). Caucasian Knot. Retrieved 20 November 2009. 
  22. ^ Russian: }
  23. ^ Abkhazia's Diaspora: Dreaming of Home
  24. ^ Circassians in Turkey rally for their rights
  25. ^ "Салих (Станислав) Кварацхелия избран председателем Духовного управления мусульман Абхазии".  
  26. ^ "Выпуск №250".  
  27. ^ a b Kuchuberia, Anzhela (27 August 2007). "ДУМ Абхазии обеспокоено отношением властей к исламу".  
  28. ^ Sergeyev, Nikolai (18 August 2007). "Абхазию избавили от героя войны с Грузией".  
  29. ^ Kuchuberia, Anzhela (17 August 2007). "В Абхазии расстреляли имама Хамзата Гицбу".  
  30. ^ Kuchuberia, Anzhela (21 August 2007). "ДУМ Абхазии требует найти и наказать убийц имама Хамзата Гицба".  
  32. ^ "В Гудауте в результате обстрела мечети один представитель Духовного управления мусульман Абхазии погиб, двое ранено".  
  33. ^ "Судом продлен срок содержания под стражей до 6 месяцев обвиняемых Анзора Бутба, Алхаса Хутаба, Рамзи Хашига и Муртаза Сакания".  
  34. ^ "Убит представитель Духовного управления мусульман Республики Абхазия Эмик Чакмач-оглы".  
  35. ^ "В Гагре состоялось расширенное совещание межведомственной следственно-оперативной группы по факту убийства Эмика Чакмач-оглы".  
  36. ^ Edwards, Maxim (September 30, 2012). "Jewish Life Slowly Dying in Abkhazia".  


See also

As of 2012, the Jewish population in Abkhazia is estimated at about 150 and is mostly elderly.[36]

Synagogue in Sukhumi.


The Abkhaz native religion has undergone a strong revival in recent decades.[2] As of 2003 8% of the population of Abkhazia (thus a higher percentage among ethnic Abkhazians) in Pagan or follower of the native religion.

Abkhaz native religion

It was announced in June 2012 that, as part of the investigation of the February 2012 assassination attempt on President Alexander Ankvab, police had also reopened the case of the attempted assassination of the Imam of the Sukhumi Mosque Salikh Kvaratskhelia in July 2010.[33] It was not established whether there was a connection to the killing in Gagra on 17 July 2010, of Emil Chakmach-ogly a member of the Spiritual Board of the Muslims of Abkhazia and a member of the Public Chamber of Abkhazia, he had previously been a Deputy of the People's Chamber of Abkhazia. Chakmach-ogly was shot in the courtyard of his home around 2:00, after returning from his shop.[34][35]

Daur Mutsba, a member of the local Muslim community, and his wife Karin Nersesyan were shot dead on 2 July 2007 by an unknown gunman in the yard of the house they rented in the centre of 1992-1993 war and who had been among the pro-Chechen hijackers of the Turkish passenger ship MV Avrasya in 1996, as well as other perceived anti-Muslim violence led to serious concerns by the Abkhaz Muslim community about their security.[31] A similar incident took place in Gudauta on 8 October 2010, in which 34-year old Arsaul Pilia was shot dead outside the mosque in a drive-by shooting. The car involved, a Volkswagen Touaregdiscovered to be registered to a resident of Khimki, Moscow Oblast, was found burned about an hour later, outside the village of Achandara, near Gudauta.[32]

Recent Unsolved Murders

On 19 December 2011, the Spiritual Board of the Muslims in Abkhazia held its fourth congress, after the death of its Chairman First Mufti of Abkhazia Adlia Gablia. Salikh Kvaratskhelia was elected the new Chairman, Roman Jugelia and Timur Dzyba Deputy Chairmen.[25]

In 2009, Muslims in Abkhazia for the first time received an invitation from the King of Saudi Arabia to go on the Hajj to Mecca.[21]

Thousands of Abkhaz, known as makhadjiri, fled Abkhazia for Ottoman Empire in the mid-19th century after resisting the Russian conquest of the Caucasus. Today, Turkey is home to the world's largest Abkhaz diaspora community. Size estimates vary - Diaspora leaders say 1 million people; Abkhaz estimates range from 150,000 to 500,000.[23][24]

Islam spread in Abkhazia during the times of Ottoman domination in the region from the 16th until the 18th century.[22] Throughout the 19th century Russo-Turkish wars, Abkhazian nobility was split along religious lines, with Christians being generally pro-Russian, and Muslims siding with the Ottomans against Russia. Russia's final victory in the area in the 1860s-1870s and two Abkhazian revolts forced most of Muslim Abkhaz to emigrate to the Ottoman Empire as Muhajirs in the 1870s.

For more details, see Ethnic Cleansing of Circassians and Circassians in Turkey

History of Islam in Abkhazia

According to a survey held in 2003, 16% of respondents identified themselves as Muslim.[3] There are two mosques in Abkhazia, one in Gudauta and one in Sukhumi.[21]

Sukhumi mosque


Representatives of the Holy Metropolis of Abkhazia, a new church organization in Abkhazia, are quite successful dialogue with the Ecumenical Patriarchate of the decision of the Abkhazian Church issue.[20]

On 15 September 2009, the Sukhumi-Abkhazian Eparchy led by Vissarion declared that it no longer considered itself part of the Georgian Orthodox Church, that it was re-establishing the Catholicate of Abkhazia, and that it would henceforth be known as the Abkhazian Orthodox Church.[11]

[19] The monks and nuns refused, and in April 2009, they were expelled from Abkhazia.[18] In April 2008, the last Georgian Orthodox priest remaining in the predominantly Georgian-populated

During the 1992-1993 war in Abkhazia, the Georgian Orthodox church effectively lost control of Abkhazian church affairs as ethnically Georgian priests had to flee Abkhazia and the Abkhaz Priest Vissarion Aplaa became acting head of the Sukhumi-Abkhazian eparchy. In the following years, recently consecrated clerics from the neighbouring Russian Maykop Eparchy arrived in Abkhazia, who eventually came into conflict with Vissarion. Through the mediation of Russian church officials, the two sides managed to reach a power-sharing agreement at Maikop in 2005, but this did not hold.[13]

The earliest accounts of the introduction of Christianity into the present-day Abkhazia date from the 1st century AD,[15] and from 325, when the bishop of Pityus (present day Tsar Nicholas II.

History of Christianity in Abkhazia

May 15, 2011 at the National Assembly of the Church in the city of New Athos (Anakopiya), proclaimed the establishment of a new church organization - the Holy Metropolis of Abkhazia.[14]

[13] The

The Abkhazian Orthodox Church operates outside the official Catholicate of Abkhazia disbanded in 1795.[11]

According to a survey held in 2003, 60% of respondents identified themselves as Christian.[3] The two main churches active in Abkhazia are the Abkhazian Orthodox Church and the Armenian Apostolic Church. There are approximately 140 church buildings in Abkhazia, most of which date from the first millennium.[7]



  • Christianity 1
    • History of Christianity in Abkhazia 1.1
  • Islam 2
    • History of Islam in Abkhazia 2.1
    • Recent Unsolved Murders 2.2
  • Abkhaz native religion 3
  • Judaism 4
  • See also 5
  • References 6
  • External links 7

According to the constitutions of both Abkhazia and Georgia, the adherents of all religions have equal rights before the law.[5][6]


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