Prosecutors in the Caucasus nation said they caught archpriest Giorgi Mamaladze with sodium cyanide on February 10.
Prosecutors in the Caucasus nation said they caught archpriest Giorgi Mamaladze with sodium cyanide on February 10 as he boarded a plane to Berlin, where Patriarch Ilia II was awaiting a gallbladder operation.
The country's chief prosecutor said in a statement that Mamaladze was in pre-trial detention on "suspicion of plotting to murder a high-ranking Church official".
The statement did not specify the target of the plot but the prime minister responded by ordering increased security for 83-year-old Ilia.
Mamaladze, who is director general of the Georgian Church's medical clinic, "had systematic contacts" with the patriarch, prosecutors said.
Ilia -- who has long suffered ill health -- successfully underwent the gallbladder operation in Germany on Monday, Georgian media reported.
The conservative Georgian Orthodox Church -- followed by more than 80 percent of the 4.5 million population -- is one of several distinct Eastern Orthodox Churches, which also include the Greek and Russian Churches.
Ilia II -- who has led the Church such since 1977 -- wields significant influence on Georgia's social and political life.
He oversaw a major revival of the Church after Georgia regained independence from the Soviet Union in 1991.
The Church was severely repressed during the Soviet era and Tsarist Russia's occupation of Georgia.