Georgian Catholics prayed for peaceful change during protests
The Catholic minority of the former Soviet republic of Georgia prayed for a peaceful change of government during the so-called velvet revolution at the weekend.
Bishop Giuseppe Pasotto, who is apostolic administrator of the Caucasus region based in the Georgian capital Tbilisi, was referring to potentially violent protests against the rule of President Eduard Shevardnadze.
He said it was clear that the United States made its concerns for peace and stability in Georgia known to Shevardnadze, who resigned on Sunday.
The bishop told Vatican Radio that among Catholics, "there was prayer, worry and the fear of losing peace."
As tensions and protests increased in the days before Shevardnadze resigned after 11 years in power and after widespread accusations of rigging early November parliamentary elections, Catholic and Orthodox Georgians had planned an ecumenical prayer service. But the immediate crisis was resolved when the president resigned the day before the prayer service was to be held, he said.
Bishop: Georgian Catholics prayed for peaceful change during protests (Catholic News Service 25/11/03)
Q&A: Georgia's 'velvet revolution' (BBC 23/11/03)
The West had a different Georgia on its mind (International Herald Tribune 26/11/03)
Bishop Giuseppe Pasotto, C.S.S. (catholic-hierarchy.org)
27 Nov 2003