Tbilisi, May 21, 2014
On the day following Georgia’s celebration the Day of Family Strength and Honor for Parents by prayer processions and sprinkling of streets and houses by holy water, Catholicos-Patriarch Ilia II addressed the people, as usual, at the Divine Liturgy.
A week before this the Patriarch declared May 17 the Day of family strength and honor for parents while a certain part of the society celebrates the same day as “the international day of war on homophobia”.
Shortly before, the so-called anti-discrimination law was passed in Georgia, and the Patriarch together with the whole Georgian Church have spoken out against it.
“Very often we ask the Lord to give, grant us something. And so often we forget to praise and glorify the Lord. And if we look at our past, present and future, then we will see that the Lord has always been, is now and will ever be with us. The Lord is holding Georgia by hand as children are held by hand, and is leading us across deserts,” said Ilia II in his Sunday speech.
“We thank the Lord because He does not abandon us. Georgia has gone through many trials and there will definitely be another trial. As long as a person lives on the earth, there will always be trials. But we should remember that the Lord will never leave Georgia without His protection, for Georgia is a portion of the Mother of God [on earth]. The Holy Theotokos is our Protectress before the Lord,” said Catholicos-Patriarch Illya II of All Georgia, who described May 17, when people went out to the streets to pray together and to demonstrate the whole world that they were one Church, as a special, historic day.
“It was a historic day yesterday; the Lord gave us His great grace. Georgia was blessed together with our compatriots, living not only in Georgia, but also abroad, in other countries. We thank the Lord for this great mercy,” said the patriarch who also blessed people to pray for repose of the deceased tsars, venerable men and patriarchs.
“You will be given lists of the dead to be prayed for, with names of our tsars and tsarinas, our holy fathers and catholicoses-patriarchs. These self-sacrificing people will help us. The end times are near, that is why their help is necessary.
I will ask the Lord to give strength to people. May He bless His people by peace”.
“This Sunday is the Sunday of Exaltation of the Holy Virgin. When we say that the Holy Theotokos has mercy upon Georgia and protects it, we also must remember that our responsibility is great. And if we are given much we will have to answer for much,” added Patriarch Ilia II.