Patriarch of Georgia, Ilia II, has left for Moscow. The Georgian Orthodox Church leader will spend six days in Russia and meet with the Patriarch of Moscow Kirill, the President Vladimer Putin and the Russian leadership.
Patriarch Illia II visits Moscow
By Ani Robakidze
Tuesday, January 22
Ilia II met the Russian Patriarch at the residence of the St. Daniel's Monastery in Moscow on January 21. "I think this visit will promote mutual understanding and the strengthening of brotherly relations between our peoples and the problems that exist between our countries will be resolved positively," Ilia II said during a meeting with Patriarch Kirill.
The Patriarch is being accompanied by the delegation of religious figures and Zurab Abashidze, Prime Minister’s special representative for the relations with Russian Federation.
“I am going to Moscow to discuss issues that are vital for Georgia,” Ilia II said on Saturday after the epiphany service at the Holy Trinity Cathedral in Tbilisi.
Patriarch Ilia II will receive an award from the Russian Orthodox Church’s International Foundation for the Unity of Orthodox Christian Nations (IFUOCN), which is granted annually in recognition of someone who has worked to strengthen the unity of Orthodox Christian nations.
Archpriest Giorgi Zviadadze, a spokesperson for the Georgian Patriarchate, told journalists in Tbilisi before the Georgian Church delegation left for Moscow, that a meeting of the Georgian Patriarch and the Russian Patriarch with President Vladimir Putin is scheduled for January 23.
On January 22, the patriarchs of the two countries and Holy Synod members will deliver a divine service at the Kremlin Virgin Mary temple.
The Georgian patriarch, is known to be a strong advocate of normalizing relations with Russia, maintains active ties with the Russian Orthodox Church, therefore his visit could create a general background for progress in bilateral relations between the two countries.
The Patriarch’s visit to Moscow can also help to advance long term discussions about the transfer of two Georgian Kings Vakhtang VI and Teimuraz I to Georgia. General Manager of the patriarch’s international foundation, Lasha Zhvania, informs that the issue will be discussed at the meetings in Moscow.