From the Worldwide Faith News archives www.wfn.org
RUSSIAN DEFENSE MINISTER BAPTIZED
05 May 1996 12:54:52
95114 RUSSIAN DEFENSE MINISTER BAPTIZED
by Ecumenical News International
TBILISI, Ga.--Pavel Grachev, the Russian defense minister, was baptized a
Christian last week at a Georgian Orthodox church at the end of an official
visit to the former Soviet republic.
The baptism, conducted by Father Tejmoran Svarishvili, took place at
the Holy Virgin Church at Ananuri, 70 kilometers from the Georgian capital,
Tbilisi. The Russian news agency, TASS, said Grachev had chosen the
Georgian defense minister, Vardiko Nadibaidze, a longtime personal friend,
as his godfather.
Grachev, who has been widely criticized for alleged Russian Army
brutality during the war in Chechnya, was in the former Soviet republic for
the signing of a cooperation agreement which gives Russia the use of
Georgian military bases for 20 years.
A spokesman for the Georgian Orthodox Church said the baptism had
taken place "quite unexpectedly" and required no particular authorization
from church authorities.
"Our church has had some success in converting former Communists," the
spokesman continued, "but not only that, it has also made great progress in
converting the population as a whole."
Grachev, 47, was appointed Russian defense minister in May 1992. He
was a commander of Soviet occupation forces in Afghanistan for five years
and was a member of the Soviet Communist Party from 1972 until its 1991
He is the second former senior Communist official to be publicly
confirmed by the Georgian Orthodox Church. In November 1992, the Georgian
president and former Soviet foreign minister Eduard Shevardnadze was
secretly baptized in Tbilisi's Orthodox cathedral.
For more information contact Presbyterian News Service
Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), Louisville, KY 40202
phone 502-569-5504 fax 502-569-8073
E-mail PCUSA.NEWS@pcusa.org Web page: http://www.pcusa.org
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