Tbilisi, September 22, 2017
On September 21, the feast of the Nativity of the Most Holy Theotokos, His Holiness Patriarch-Catholics Ilia II of Georgia celebrated his 50th mass Baptism, reports the site of the Georgian Orthodox Church.
His Holiness again became Godfather to more than 600 newly-baptized children during the service held at Holy Trinity Cathedral in Tbilisi. The patriarch now has more than 33,000 Godchildren.
The 49th mass Baptism was celebrated on July 13, the feast of the Synaxis of the Twelve Apostles, known as “Svetitskhovloba,” which is a greatly loved feast in Georgia. It is celebrated twice a year on July 13 and October 14. The October feast has been declared a national holiday.
With the first mass Baptism on January 19, 2008, Patriarch Ilia commenced his initiative to help improve the dire demographic situation in Georgia caused by post-Soviet abortion rates. Such mass celebrations are held four times a year in which the primate personally baptizes and becomes the godfather for the third and later children of married Orthodox couples.