Tbilisi, May 15, 2018
On Thursday, May 17, when many throughout the world will be celebrating the International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia (IDAHOTB), launched in 2005, the Georgian Orthodox Church will sanctify the day with a holy procession through the streets of Tbilisi in support of family purity and mass wedding ceremonies throughout the city, reports Georgia Online.
Thursday is also the day when the Orthodox Church will celebrate the great feast of the Ascension of the Lord. On that day, following the morning Divine Liturgies, clergy from the many Tbilisi parishes will gather with their flocks at Rose Revolution Square at noon to begin the holy march.
The Orthodox Church firmly teaches that marriage is the holy and sacramental union between one man and one woman, and that any other type of “marriage” is sinful, and that any sexual activity outside the bounds of sacramental marriage is sinful.
The Moldovan Orthodox Church also recently called upon the government to ban an LGBT march in the capital city of Chișinău.
The procession will end at the Holy Trinity-Sameba Cathedral, where a marriage service for several Orthodox couples will be celebrated. Sputnik-Georgia reports that about 400 couples will be wed this day in various Tbilisi churches.
This is the second year that such a mass wedding ceremony will be held. The event is organized by the Society of Chokhonetsev of Georgia, founded by the Georgian Patriarchate with the purpose of strengthening the institution of the traditional family.
His Holiness Patriarch-Catholicos Ilia II declared May 17 the Day of Family Holiness and Honor for Parents in 2014 after members of the Georgian LGBT community began to publicly celebrate IDAHOTB. There were unfortunate clashes between the minority demonstrators and Orthodox clergy and laity in 2012 and 2013, though security was tightened last year and the event passed without violence.
Demonstrating that the Church’s stance is not one of “homophobia,” but of fidelity to God’s precepts, the Georgian Patriarchate asked the Interior Minister in February 2016 to provide security to Giorgi Tatishvili, a representative of the LGBT community who campaigns for their rights, who had filed a lawsuit with the Constitutional Court seeking the legalization of same-sex marriage, saying, “As we know, most of our people (regardless of nationality and faith) feel negatively about this law. For this reason, there is a threat that certain forces will use this situation for provocation and the life of Giorgi Tatishvili may be in danger.”
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