Tbilisi, November 28, 2017
His Holiness Catholicos-Patriarch Ilia II of Georgia celebrated his 51st mass Baptism on November 23, according to the official site of the Georgian Orthodox Church.
This great event coincided with the Church’s celebration of the martyrdom of St. George, who is greatly loved and venerated in Georgia, being a relative of the Equal-to-the-Apostles St. Nina who Christianized Georgia.
His Holiness and Beatitude became the Godfather to an additional 600+ children on the feast. The previous mass Baptism took place on September 21, with over 600 children being baptized then as well.
The patriarch now has more than 34,000 Godchildren.
Pat. Ilia also announced Metropolitan Shio (Mudzhiri) of Senaki and Chkhorotsqu as his Locum Tenens before the Divine Liturgy the same day.
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.