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Patriarch tells diaspora to 'stay where they are'

By Messenger Staff
Monday, May 29
“I urge you to stay wherever you are, but at the same time, I urge you to be in your homeland,” Catholicos-Patriarch of Georgia Ilia II told representatives of the Georgian diaspora at the Diaspora Forum last week in Tbilisi.

"A few years ago, I called on you to return to your homeland. Now I urge you to be where you are. But at the same time, I urge you to be in your homeland. This is necessary, first of all, for Georgia. I want to thank you for your spiritual or material support for our homeland,” Ilia II stated.

He stressed that Georgians working and living abroad helped the country create small and medium-sized businesses.

“We should do our best not to let your children living abroad forget the Georgian language, and Georgian culture. Churches and monasteries created abroad have become centers of our spiritual culture, and you have contributed to this,” said the Patriarch, and asked the representatives of the Georgian diaspora to remain as Georgians.

Prime Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili hoped that a decision will be taken within the new constitutional amendments, through which the citizens of Georgia who have received foreign citizenships will not have to pass difficult procedures in order to get back their Georgian citizenship.

Under the initiative of parliament member and ex-foreign minister Salome Zourabishvili, an article may be abolished in the Georgian constitution which prohibits dual citizenship.

Under the current legislation, only the President of Georgia can grant dual citizenship and only in special occasions.

The fact that Patriarch has changed his mind may be an indicator that the country is still not ready to welcome back its own people and offer them normal living conditions.

Unfortunately, the flow of Georgians abroad continues, even though the country has all necessary natural and other resources to be successful.

Simplified dual citizenship regulations will be a relief for many Georgians who are still forced to stay abroad in order to achieve success to feed their families here in Georgia.