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Georgian priest found dead on burnt Italian ferry

By Tea Mariamidze
Monday, January 5
Priest Ilia Kartozia, head of a Monastery in Mtskheta, was found dead after an Italian ferry collapse in the Adriatic Sea a couple of days ago.

Georgia’s Foreign Ministry confirmed the fact and offered condolences to the priest’s family.

"He was identified by a Georgian lady in Bari, Italy by a photo sent from the military ship where the body was moved after its discovery,” said the Head of Ministry’s Council Department Giorgi Tabatadze.

Reports say father Ilia was standing beside the captain of the ship and praying till the very end.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) of Georgia expressed deep condolences to the families of victims and the Georgian church.

"Georgia’s foreign ministry also would like to thank the government of those countries and the relevant bodies which have contributed in the rescue operations of the ferry. It was possible to rescue 427 people, including seven Georgian citizens,” Georgia’s MFA said in a statement on December 31.

The Ministry expressed its readiness to support the family of the Georgian victim in the process of transferringthe priest’s body from Italy back to Georgia.

The Norman Atlantic ferry caught fire on December 28, 2014. Eight Georgian citizens were aboard the ship, Father Ilia Kartozia, was among them.

Out of 278 people aboard, 10 were confirmed dead. Rescuers took 200 people off the ferry. The majority of them are currently being treated for burns.