Preserving Abkhazian Identity Through Statehood, by Dorofey Dbar

Dorofey Dbar, The Chairman of the Council of the Holy Metropolis of Abkhazia.

Dorofey Dbar, The Chairman of the Council of the Holy Metropolis of Abkhazia.

Why do we need to have our own state? 

If I ask this question to you, those present in this hall, each of you will have your own answer. However, I think we will agree that we need a state to preserve the Abkhazian ethnos, to preserve its identity, to preserve the language and culture of our people. And, of course, to develop and secure a future for the aforementioned aspects.

Why am I, a church person, telling you this when it seems that I should be concerned with completely different issues? Because neither our ancestors nor we had a choice of where to live and develop. According to the Abkhazian legend, we live on this land by the grace of God Himself! Perhaps, if we had a choice, we might have preferred, for example, a beautiful Greek island or Switzerland. But we were born here, and this is a given! We speak the Abkhazian language, and this is a given! Thus, if the initial choice of location, language, etc. did not depend on us, our task is to preserve the existing objective reality. If we do not do this, our existence on Abkhazian land will have no meaning.

I often use a mosaic or stained glass panel as an example. If you look at such a panel from a distance, small details are not visible, and it seems that they are not significant. However, as soon as you get closer, the absence of even the smallest detail in a mosaic or stained glass panel becomes a major flaw for the entire composition. Likewise, the peoples who have vanished into oblivion, losing their own language, culture, etc., are like terrifying voids in the mosaic or stained glass panel of humanity. I think it would be irresponsible if we create another void in the beautiful mosaic of humanity. After all, a mosaic or stained glass panel is beautiful when it contains both small and large fragments, color, and different shades.

How can we, the Abkhazians, preserve our place in the human mosaic? We can do this if we have our own state! In other cases, we face assimilation and loss of identity. Unfortunately, human history abounds with many examples in this regard.

From the transcript of a meeting between Archimandrite Dorofey (Dbar) with students and representatives of the public at the "World without Violence" Zurab Achba Center. Sukhum, June 11, 2014.




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