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Georgia’s Orthodox Church has returned a donated house to it’s previous owners, after they threatened to sue the Church for mismanaging the property. The Zugdidi–Tsaishi Diocese in north-western Georgia announced their decision in a statement on their Facebook page.
The house, along with 2.5 hectares of land, was donated to the Church in 2009 by Valter Akubaradia, on the understanding that it would be turned into a monastery in the name of his late son. However, the Church agreed to sell the house to Georgian State Electrosystem for ₾172,000 ($71,000), who intended to build a high voltage power line on the land. They claimed that the money would be used to build a new monastery in a different location.
In their statement, the Church said that all allegations against the diocese are groundless, and that the reason the diocese allowed Georgian State Electrosystem to purchase the land was because it was of ‘importance to the state’.
'Because of the disagreement over the property, the Diocese of Zugdidi and Tsaishi has decided to refuse the donation and fully return it to the family’, the statement reads
On 10 June, members of Akubardia's family and other local residents held a demonstration in the courtyard of the house against the construction of the high voltage lines in the village.
In an interview with local radio station Radio Atinati, Akubardia's son-in-law, Soso Tsimintia, said that the Church had not fulfilled the conditions on which the land and the house were handed over.
Tandilla Jologua, a trustee of the Church addressed the rally denying that the land had been sold.