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Ilia II calls visit to Moscow “historic”

By Salome Modebadze
Monday, January 28
Georgian Catholicos Patriarch Ilia II returned from Russia, calling his visit to Moscow historic. “By God’s will, the visit was very successful. I think it was a historic visit and good results will follow,” Ilia II said upon arrival from the 5-day trip to Russia where the Georgian Patriarch was awarded with a prize for his outstanding efforts to strengthen the unity of Orthodox people and the establishment and promotion of Christian values in society.

During his visit to Russia Ilia II met with the Russian Patriarch Kirill and Russian President Vladimir Putin. His Holiness brought the remains of St Alexander Nevel presented by the Russian Patriarch.

Lasha Zhvania, head of the Foundation of Patriarch of All Georgia, evaluated Ilia II’s visit to Russia as “an important visit.” He said the “good results” of the meetings will always be evident.

During the awards ceremony, the Georgian Patriarch said although Georgia and Russia have a “difficult relationship” the two churches manage to preserve a “spiritual connections and goodwill.”

“I think today’s event will encourage the restoration of the union between our countries,” His Holiness said, emphasizing that the normalization of relations is possible under the supremacy of law when Georgia will return its “ancient territories” Abkhazia and Tskinvali as “one of the preconditions to solving heavy problems in the Caucasus.”

The Georgian Patriarch also met with the Georgian Diaspora in Russia. “Relations between Georgia and Russia have been and will remain friendly,” Ilia II said, stressing that the two countries used to be like brothers in the past. However, “someone seems to have become envious of our goodwill and established hostility artificially.”

Father Mirian of the Georgian temple in Moscow named after St George, said Ilia II’s visit was very fruitful. “Sunshine appeared on the dark horizon between the two countries,” he said. The Parish of Moscow’ Georgian temple greeted the Georgian patriarch with great respect and wished a return to their homeland soon.

The Georgian delegation led by Patriarch Ilia II accompanied by religious figures and scholars, left for Moscow on January 20th.