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Patriarch blesses Georgians everywhere to protest

By Messenger Staff
Friday, August 29
The Dormition of the Mother of God was celebrated by the Orthodox community on August 28. The Catholicos-Patriarch of all Georgia, His Holiness Ilia II, celebrated the festal liturgy at the Sioni Cathedral at 9.00 a.m.

During his sermon, Patriarch Ilia blessed the nation to hold a mass protest demonstration against Russia, which will take place all over the world on September 1, 2008. Ilia II particularly stressed the recent developments in Abkhazia and South Ossetia, stating that “currently the nation is exposed to danger, although God’s favour and grace will inevitably follow.”

“We live in a tough period, although we should not be afraid of the danger vested upon Georgia. The Georgian nation is strong in spirit and will resist. The danger has come for our sins, it comes from God and therefore God will grant us joy as well,” Ilia II stated.

As the Patriarch mentioned, the Tskhinvali Region and Abkhazeti are indivisibly parts of Georgia and will remain within the country. He recited a special prayer for the Georgian people and asked them to repeat it every day: “Glory to Thee, O God, return to us Abkhazia and Samachablo by Thy grace.” Ilia II asked the nation to repeat the prayer three times a day.

The Dormition liturgy was performed as usual in all churches throughout Georgia. As Sioni is dedicated to the Dormition, the Patriarch served the liturgy in that Cathedral rather than his usual base of Sameba, dedicated to the Holy Trinity.

The Most Holy Mother of God lived for several years after the Ascension of Christ. One Christian historian says she lived for a further ten years, and another twenty-two years. The Apostle John the Theologian, following Our Saviour’s instruction, took her into his home and cared for her with great love as if she were his own mother until the end of her life. The Most Holy Mother of God became a mother to all twelve of the apostles in general. When the Christian faith had spread to other lands, many Christians came from distant countries to see her and hear her voice.

At the hour of her death, an extraordinary light shone in the room where the Mother of God lay. The Lord Jesus Christ Himself, surrounded by angels, appeared and received her pure soul.

The Orthodox Church calls the death of the Mother of God the Dormition, as she slept and was then raised up to heaven after three days.