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There have been incidents of political and social discrimination, often aimed at Jehovah’s Witnesses and other sects imported from the West since the collapse of Communism. In 2005, Georgia’s public defender, Solzar Subari, asked parliament to pass a law granting all religions equal status and protection under the law, but his motion failed.

Still, the situation has improved, and Georgians take pride in a long history of religious toleration within Georgia that they are committed to uphold. Mrs. Shakeladze pointed to a public square in Tbilisi that has for several centuries been the home to an Orthodox church, a synagogue and a mosque.

“We feel that the country protects its citizens, regardless of religion and ethnicity,” cited Ali Aliev, a religious scholar at Tbilisi’s Juma Mosque and Georgia’s representative to the Caucasus Muslim Department.

All of Georgia’s religious traditions will grow stronger, now that the Communist era is over, Father Giorgi Getiashvili concluded.

“These traditions are passed from generation to generation. Everything we have today has been practiced for a very long time, even centuries.

It’s due to God’s strength we have been able to preserve it.”

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The writing of Tbilisi-based photojournalist Molly Corso has appeared in

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Tags: Orthodox Church Georgia Communism/Communist Georgian Orthodox Church