Moscow, January 20, 2017
The feast of Theophany is one of the twelve great feasts of the Orthodox liturgical year, celebrated with great fervency and pious traditions throughout the Orthodox world. In recent years the ancient Orthodox nation of Georgia has added its own unique celebration.
It first took place on January 19, 2008, and again this year in Tbilisi’s Holy Trinity Sameba Cathedral a mass Baptism was celebrated, with Patriarch-Catholicos Ilia II becoming the Godfather of around 800 newly-baptized children, reports Sputnik-Georgia, with a video of the event.
“I congratulate all on this sacred feast and may the grace of this bright day come down upon all people. Our whole family is very happy and joyous that our third child has become a Godchild of the patriarch of all Georgia himself and I would like to thank him for it,” said Mariam Lomsadze, the mother of one of the children newly-entered into the Orthodox ranks.
Patriarch Ilia had pledged to baptize the third and later children of parents who have been married in the Church, in a bid to improve the nation’s poor demographic situation. The number of abortions in Georgia was cut in half from 2005 to 2010, with the birth rate rising by 25%. This was the forty-seventh such mass Baptism, the patriarch’s Godchildren now numbering more than 32,000.