Catholicos-Patriarch of Georgia celebrates 84th birthday

Catholicos-Patriarch of All Georgia Ilia II is celebrating his 84th birthday today. Ilia II was born Irakli Ghudushauri-Shiolashvili. He was born in Vladikavkaz in 1933, graduated from the Moscow Theological Seminary in 1957 and from the Moscow Theological Academy in 1960.

There was a large-scale revival of Orthodoxy in Georgia in the 1980s, when Ilia II has already been a Patriarch. Since 1989, he has repeatedly acted as a mediator between the warring political parties. Over the past 36 years the number of dioceses in Georgia has been increased from 15 to 33. In 1977, there were only 48 operating temples in Georgia, now there are about 1000.

From 1 to 4 March 2007, the Georgian Patriarch was on a visit to Russia at the invitation of the Russian Orthodox Church.

Georgian President Giorgi Margvelashvili congratulated Ilia II on his birthday and expressed deep gratitude to the Patriarch of the Georgian Orthodox Church and for his support of the Georgian people in the most difficult periods in the history of Georgia.

"Your Holiness, Georgian people are lucky to have such a wise spiritual leader and mentor in the difficult and dramatic period of the struggle for freedom!" the President said.

According to Giorgi Margvelashvili, the life of the Patriarch, is an example of the spiritual self-improvement and Christian love in our days. The President wished the Patriarch good health, prosperity and success in his high service.

Georgian Prime Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili also congratulated Ilia II on his birthday and wished him a long life.

The Georgian Patriarchate today will not celebrate the 84th anniversary of the Catholicos-Patriarch of All Georgia Ilia II. Moreover, all public events have been postponed until the spring because of Georgian primate's illness.

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