By HARRISON E. SALISBURY Special to THE NEW YORK TIMES.
New York Times (1923-Current file); May 20, 1951; p g. 20
Georgian Church Head Talks to Correspondent and Urges Efforts Toward Peace.
TIFLIS, Georgia, Soviet Union, May 18 – Eighty-five-year-old Patriarch Kallistrat Tzintsadze of the Georgian Orthodox Church, whose flowing white hair and beard, and twinkling blue eyes make him look like an child’s vision of St. Nicholas, is an alert and active man despite his years.
He lives in a pleasant second-story apartment on the grounds of Zion cathedral, which, since the seventeenth century, has been the principal Georgian Orthodox Church, and which houses the church’s most sacred relic – the cross of St. Nina, who introduced Christianity to Georgia in the fourth century.
After discussing the state of ecclesiastical affairs in Georgia, the Patriarch invited this correspondent to join him in a little food and drink. Despite the fact that he celebrated his eighty-fifth birthday April 24, the Patriarch poured out glasses of fine Georgian brandy with steady hand and drank a toast to the friendship of the United States and Georgia with frank relish. This toast was followed by many others, drunk in rich Georgian wine from the district of Tsinandali.
100 churches in Georgia
The Patriarch is well satisfied with the present state of the Georgian Orthodox Church. He said relations with the government were good and the congregations had remained at an excellent level achieved in wartime. There are more than 100 Orthodox churches now operating in Georgia, and eleven in Tiflis alone.
He is preparing an report to the government on the need for reestablishing an seminary for the training of Georgian Orthodox priests. He pointed out that the Russian Orthodox Church had a large seminary in Zagorsk, and his report will stress the need for training priests in Georgian service.
The Patriarch lives and works in an office whose walls are covered almost completely with icons and church emblems. His bare white-painted iron bed is in the same room. On one shelf are seven little elephants carved of Ural stone, the traditional Russian symbol of good luck. A white and gray kitten sunned itself in the window.
The table heaped by the patriarch was typical of Georgian hospitality, which he frankly described as the best in the world.
Offers Variety of Food
On the table were heaping mounds of spring strawberries as big as apricots, dishes of candied plumbs, preserved grapes, preserved melon rind, candies and cakes.
But the thing of which the Patriarch perhaps was most proud was his new car – a zim.
“The other day I got a present” the Patriarch said. “ It was a new Zim. It is the first Zim in Tiflis.”
The thing that interests the Patriarch most these days is peace. His one request was that this correspondent report objectively his wish that there be no war between Russia and the United States.
“Educated people everywhere must do everything possible for peace” he said. “ the atom bomb would kill millions and smash the world. My message to America is this : I will do everything possible for peace. I pray to God for peace. I ask only that America do the same.”