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Georgian PM, President Congratulate The Patriarch On His 85th Birthday

By Tea Mariamidze
Friday, January 5
(TBILISI)--Georgian President Giorgi Margvelashvili and Prime Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili, together with the Cabinet of Ministers, visited Catholicos-Patriarch of Georgia to congratulate him with the 85th jubilee on January 4.

The Patriarch also received kind wishes in regards to the 40th anniversary of taking up his post.

“I would like to thank you for your dedication and for the example that makes all of us stronger,” the President stated.

Margvelashvili stressed that Ilia II is the Patriarch who managed to deal with all the emerged problems and challenges and made the Georgian nation stronger.

PM Kvirikashvili stated that it is a great honor for Georgia to have such a Patriarch who always stands by the side of people and empowers them.

“Your Patriarchy is our greatest strength and, of course, a vital necessity… I want to thank you for all hope and sympathy you have shared with our country," the PM addressed IlIa II.

Due to the poor health of Ilia II, the Patriarchate decided not to hold festive events dedicated to his birthday.

“No traditional reception of people . . . will be held in the Patriarchate,” the statement released by the Patriarch’s Office reads.

“In order to eliminate any risk factors of worsening his health condition, we asked to reduce the scale of birthday reception this year,” the doctor Tsisana Shartava told the media.

Archbishop Ephraim stated the Patriarch feels better and he will attend Christmas service on January 7.

“His holiness will take part in Christmas service in Holy Trinity Cathedral and will read his traditional epistle as well,” he said.

Ilia II (Irakli Shiolashvili) was born in Vladikavkaz, Russia's North Ossetia.

He became the Catholicos-Patriarch of Georgia on December 23, 1977.