Ilia II of Georgia celebrates 87th birthday
Today, January 4, marks the 87th birthday of the Catholicos-Patriarch of All Georgia and spiritual leader of the nation, Ilia II, who has been heading the Georgian Orthodox Church for 42 years.
Ilia II (Irakli Gudushauri-Shiolashvili) was the fourth child in the family of George Shiolashvili and Natalia Kobaidze. In 1927, the family moved to Vladikavkaz. In 1952, Ilia II graduated from secondary school No. 22 in Vladikavkaz, in 1957 - the Moscow Theological Seminary, and in 1960 - the Moscow Theological Academy. On April 16, 1957, at the age of 24, with the blessing of Melchizedek III of Georgia, a second-year seminary student was ordained, Sputnik Georgia reports.