Patriarch Ilia II delivers buoyant Easter message
By Salome Modebadze
Tuesday, April 26
On March 24, the Orthodox Christian parish celebrated holy Easter in Georgian churches. Catholicos-Patriarch of All Georgia, Archbishop of Mtskheta-Tbilisi and the Metropolitan of Bichvinta and Tskhum-Abkhazia Ilia II held the night liturgy at Saint Trinity Cathedral. In his traditional Easter sermon His Holiness and Beatitude spoke of the meaning of the greatest holy event and emphasized the importance of faith for the Georgian parish.
“We are celebrating this wonderful date and the whole world is filled with joy. All the saints pray for us because Jesus Christ has defeated death and he is risen! Now every believer has to choose between God and the devil,” was said in the sermon. Explaining that the Christians’ life is a constant struggle searching for God in their hearts Ilia II meant that “those who love their family or even nature they have the divine sparkle that shines and warms even the darkest souls”. Encouraging people to kindle these sparkles into fire, His Holiness told the parish to serve others more than follow their egoism.
Emphasizing that the only hierarchy in Christianity is based on unselfish love towards others, Catholicos explained that those who want to be superior will be minor and those who want to be the first – will be the last. “God gives different talents to people so that they have different responsibilities. It means that some people are only obliged to look after their families, others - on particular groups of people at villages or towns, while some of them have to serve whole countries,” His Holiness stated.
Gender-based equality and the protection of people’s dignity, as the main principles of human rights law and democratic governance, are both based on Christian teachings, according to His Holiness, while the non-Christian hierarchy based on violence is just tyranny. Stressing that each family should enjoy the basic standard for normal development, Catholicos said that each country should have the relevant socio-economic backgrounds to support the families. “I think that agriculture plays a decisive role in the development of both families and the state because the production of ecologically safe products and the state support with preferential credits would make people return to their land,” His Holiness stated.
Georgians, according to His Holiness, are great patriots protecting their homeland with their blood; they want nothing from others but always consider the temporarily lost territories and people and their role. “Yes, indeed, Georgians are far removed from aggression and expansion that’s why all our history is the proof of unselfishness, bravery and high moral. So the idea of Georgian statehood is the continuation of the divine service which our predecessors have chosen to follow. Those, who follow this path, are called the nation of Virgin Mary’s blessed Georgia but others who oppose to these ideas can’t be considered as their part,” Patriarch said in the sermon.
Welcoming the fact that the majority of Georgian youth manages to overcome the temptation televisions are offering them through “indecent” films and programs, Ilia II worried of the danger that development of the vulgar, money-oriented technological society may make the young people lose their direction and forget the divine commandments. “Our society and youth keep traditional values despite such psychological pressure,” Ilia II said explaining the importance of Georgian statehood.
Highlighting many centuries of tolerance towards the ethnic minorities living in Georgia, His Holiness emphasized that Abkhazian people, along with other peoples have been the indivisible part of the Georgian statehood. “We pray to the same God and saints and hope that no enemies could split us,” said Ilia II addressing to the ethnic minorities and whole Georgian parish in particular Bichvinta and Tskhum-Abkhazia eparchy that Christ is risen truly!