Georgia’s Catholicos-Patriarch Ilia II believes that relations between Georgian and Russian churches should be strengthened. He made the statement on November 20 in Moscow, while congratulating Russian Church Leader Kirill on his 70th jubilee.
Our relations should be improved
By Tea Mariamidze
Monday, November 21
The Georgian delegation was hosted by Russian Patriarch Kirill at the residence of Russia’s Patriarchate in Moscow. Ilia II noted that Georgian and the Russian Orthodox Churches were very important for both countries and peoples, and they provided examples for political figures regarding relations between the two neighboring states.
“The relations between us have to be better than it is now, and we should do everything to improve the relationship between the political figures of our countries. We need each other and we should help each other,” Ilia II told Patriarch Kirill and wished him peace and prosperity.
Patriarch Kirill thanked Ilia II and his delegation for visiting Moscow, and underlined that Ilia II is the oldest of all the other local church leaders.
“My biography is intertwined with your biography. We have been participants of many events – good and bad –which took place in the lives of Orthodox people who lived in the Soviet Union,” Patriarch Kirill noted, and talked about the deepening of the ties between the Russian and Georgian churches.
The head of the Russian Church also mentioned that the Georgian Church of Saint George located in Moscow has become the spiritual center of the Georgian diaspora in Moscow. According to him, there are also churches in Tbilisi where the Russian diaspora can receive spiritual services.
The Catholicos-Patriarch of All Georgia arrived in Russia on Saturday to take part in various festive events dedicated to the Russian Orthodox Church leader's jubilee.
Akhaltsikhe and Tao-Klarjeti Archbishop Teodore, Zugdidi and Tsaishvili Archbishop Gerasime, Gori and SamtavisiArhbishop Andria, Archimandrite Davit Chincharauli, Protopresbyter Giorgi Zviadadze, AchpriestAleksandreGaldava, and nun Aleksandra Iasibashi are accompanying Ilia II during the visit.
Moreover, the heads and representatives of the Orthodox churches arrived in Moscow to congratulate Patriarch Kirill. On Sunday, they all conducted the joint Divine Liturgy in the Cathedral of Christ the Savior in Moscow.
On November 23, Ilia II will conduct a service in a Georgian church in Russia’s capital. He is going to meet with the Georgian Diaspora too. The Patriarch and his delegation will return to Georgia on November 25.
Ilia II is the only senior Georgian official who has kept ties with Russia since the August 2008 Georgian-Russian war, which left 20% of Georgia’s territories occupied and hundreds of thousands local Georgians unable to return to their homes in Georgia’s occupied regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia.