Tbilisi City Hall has given 16,073 square meters of land to the Patriarchate of Georgia during the first nine months of 2017 for building churches, reports Business Media Georgia.
Lands in nine different locations was given to the Patriarchate for the symbolic price of 1 GEL each. The lots are located on in the Guramishvili, Temka, Mukhiani areas of Tbilisi.
Procedurally, the Patriarchate of Georgia addresses City Hall first regarding the land plots. The religious commission then discusses the proposal and in the case of a positive recommendation, the matter is passed to a meeting of the government of Tbilisi. The final decision is made by Tbilisi City Assembly.
The 16,073 square meters of land were worth a total of 53,453,420 GEL.
Transparency International Georgia in their reports on church-state relations emphasized that in 2014-2017, Tbilisi City Assembly gave permission to Tbilisi City Hall to transfer 183,414 square meters of land to the Georgian Orthodox Church during the time period of its 5th convocation.
Tbilisi City Assembly and Tbilisi City Hall have previously given away land plots for the symbolic price of 1 GEL, including a case from September 2017 when Tbilisi City Assembly supported a notion to pass 1,900 square meters of land in central Tbilisi to a company owned by former Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili for 1 GEL. The case sparked public outrage among opposition leaders, who had stormed into the assembly building asking to stop the process.