The destruction of ethnic Georgian communities in South Ossetia, the deep wounds to local society and war damage to the capital city confronted a delegation from the World Council of Churches on the second half of a 3-7 September 2008 pastoral visit to Georgia and Russia.
A pastoral delegation sent by the World Council of Churches to Georgia and Russia in the wake of the bitter conflict there has not been able to get safe passage to visit South Ossetia from the Georgian side of the ceasefire line.
A pastoral delegation from the World Council of Churches is visiting Russia and Georgia today. Participants will listen to churches in both countries, encourage efforts for peace and visit displaced people and church aid programmes.
Despite the official end of Russian military operations in Georgia, campaigners say Russia has been dropping cluster bombs on civilians in the Georgian republic - killing, wounding and spreading dangerous unexploded bomblets.
Patriarch Ilia of Georgia and Russian Orthodox Church Patriarch Aleksei II are doing all they can to ensure that the conflict between their nations does not become "a people's war, a holy war", echoing earlier nationalistic fervour.
A public statement from the World Council of Churches (WCC) and the Conference of European Churches (CEC) has called for prayers and assistance for those affected by the recent conflict in the Caucasus.