Source: Christian News Wire
Tbilisi, May 17, 2016
President George W. Bush, Orthodox Patriarch Ilia (Catholicos-Patriarch of All Georgia), Levan Vasadze (Chairman of World Congress of Families X and Chairman of Georgian Demographic Society 21) , and Dr. Allan C. Carlson (Founder, World Congress of Families; President Emeritus, The Howard Center for Family, Religion & Society; former Visiting Professor, Hillsdale College) welcomes the delegates to the live televised Opening Ceremony of the World Congress of Families at the Tbilisi Philharmonic Concert Hall.
Patriarch Ilia welcomed more than 2,000 delegates from more than 50 countries to the Tbilisi Philharmonic Concert hall. The Orthodox Patriarch gave his support and blessing to World Congress of Families in its work to affirm the natural family as the fundamental and only sustainable unit while defending the sanctity and dignity of every human life from conception to natural death. The Patriarch spoke of the need to fix the "Deficit of Love" in society which could only be solved by eliminating the "Deficit of Family" that is happening in our post-modern, self-gratifying world. He warned against attempts to re-define family and marriage. As the oldest reigning Orthodox Patriarch in the world serving more than 39 years, Ilia II wise words were inspiring to Georgians and all of the international leaders in attendance.
Levan Vasadze welcomed the World Congress of Families participants and spoke of new Christian Civilization that rejects the neo-liberal ideology infecting the post-modern West, the lost virtues of Western Civilization, and transcends a bipolar paradigm to create a new East-West Christendom. He spoke of Georgia as the one to lead this effort to show the world that "Georgia Is Family!"
Allan Carlson reminded the delegates that the family serves as a "Bulwark of Liberty and Freedom" the only sustainable protection against a bad government and a totalitarian state.
President George W. Bush also sent his support and best wishes for success to the gathering. Larry Jacobs, Managing Director World Congress of Families read the following letter from the President to the delegates to World Congress of Families.
I send greetings to those gathered for the World Congress of Families X in Tbilisi, Georgia.
As the first sitting U.S. President to visit Georgia, I was honored and humbled by the appreciation and enthusiasm expressed to me by the Georgian people gathered in Tbilisi's Freedom Square in 2005. I repeat the words that I spoke to them then, 'Georgia is a beacon of liberty for this region and the world. The path of freedom you have chosen is not easy, but you will not travel it alone ... the American people will stand with you.'
Around the world, families provide that beacon of freedom and the source of help, hope, and stability for individuals and nations. As one of the pillars of civilization and the bulwark of liberty, families must remain strong and we must defend them. To ensure that future generations are prepared to face new opportunities and challenges, as President, I took steps to promote strong families, preserve the sanctity of marriage and protect the well-being of children. Laura and I have always believed in encouraging adoption and supporting the crisis pregnancy center programs to help us continue to build a culture of life.
I commend your efforts to recognize the importance of families in building nations. Your work improves many lives and makes the world better.
Laura joins me in sending our best wishes.
The former U.S. President will be also honored with the "FAMLIA ET CIVITAS" (Family and Democracy) Award for his pro-life work to build a culture of life. The theme of the Tenth Jubilee, World Congress of Families X is "Civilization at The Crossroads: The Natural Family as the Bulwark of Freedom and Human Values."
World Congress of Families unites leaders worldwide in defense of family, faith, and freedom by: (1) Affirming the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights, (2) Promoting the natural family as the fundamental and only sustainable unit of society and (3) Defending the dignity and sanctity of every human life from conception to natural death.
This award comes more than a decade after Georgians celebrated and honored President Bush, by naming the road to the Tbilisi international airport "George W. Bush" Highway in recognition of the former President.
President Bush has greeted previous World Congress of Families events, including the World Congress of Families III held in Mexico City in 2004 which was also addressed by Mexican First Lady, Mrs. Martha Fox.
President Bush commended the efforts of the World Congress to "recognize the importance of families in our society. Around the world, families are the source of help, hope, and stability for individuals and nations. As one of the pillars of civilization, families must remain strong and we must defend them during this time of great change. Your work improves many lives and makes the world better," declared Mr. Bush.
President Bush is the first sitting U.S. President to visit Georgia and his visit in 2005 to Tbilisi's Freedom Square was enthusiastically received by the Georgian people. "Georgia is a beacon of liberty for this region and the world," Mr Bush said. "The path of freedom you have chosen is not easy, but you will not travel it alone ... the American people will stand with you."
A local Georgian official commented on the President, "As Georgians, we have a special connection to President Bush as he was the first U.S. President to visit our great homeland, one of the oldest Christian nations on earth. Mr. Bush won a place in our hearts as he danced to Georgian music and declared our nation to be a beacon of liberty and freedom for the world. He gave us hope that we could maintain our Georgian traditions of family, faith, and freedom while partnering with America and the West."