Patriarch’s vision regarding Georgia’s political challenges
By Messenger Staff
Thursday, January 8Georgia’s Patriarch Ilia II provided an interview to the Public Broadcaster where he touched upon the country’s domestic and foreign challenges.
The Patriarch spoke about Georgia’s long history and resistance to multiple conquerors. He emphasized the Georgian people’s tolerance and attributed this the country’s survival.
“We manage to be tolerant. That’s why powerful empires collapse and we still exist and will continue to live into the future,” he said.
With regard to Russia, Ilia II stressed that Russia is carrying out a policy of imperial expansion.
“Russia is a big country and it tries to expand its areas more. Some countries are diseased with this kind of illness,” he said.
However, Ilia II stated that Georgia should find ways to resume talks with Russia, especially when the West’s support towards Georgia does not have an effect.
“The European countries and America have been telling us for 20 years that they support us. Nevertheless, Russia does what it wishes. That’s why we should start negotiations with Russia together with our allies,” Ilia II said.
“We should assure Russia that its current policy will provide negatives for its fate. Separatism is contagious and will bring unfavorable consequences for Russia first of all,” the Patriarch said.
The Patriarch said that Georgia would reintegrate its territories. “It is wrong when somebody says we have lost the regions, we just cannot temporarily control Abkhazia and Samachablo. The government should analyze the current situation and find ways to reintegrate the regions. The people of Abkhazia and Samachablo should know as well that they would be happier with us than with Russians,” Ilia II said.
The Patriarch also addressed the shortcomings of the Georgian people.
“Our worst feature is pride, the best-love. Georgians should think analytically, think not only on their family issues, but also about the country and the world,” the Patriarch suggested.
Concerning Georgia’s economic hardship, which is one of the country’s most painful problems, the Patriarch said that “poverty has a dangerous feature; one might get accustomed to it.”
“One should try to find his place and work, not only for himself, but for his family, others and especially for the poor… if a man really wants to find a job, he will find it,” he said.
The Patriarch stated that the money that is allocated from the state budget for the church is mainly used for education and not for the clergymen’s salaries.
“There are up to 40 secondary schools, a university, houses for children and the elderly. Even the money that is given from the budget is not enough for the salaries and expenses of the institutions and we try to somehow get the money, there are some people who donate as well,” Ilia II said.