Tbilisi, March 4, 2020
In his Sunday sermon, His Holiness Catholicos-Patriarch Ilia II of Georgia urged the faithful not to be afraid of the coronavirus and not to lose heart, because man can defeat the disease.
In fact, His Holiness was granted a vision about it, as he revealed in his sermon, reports Sputnik-Georgia.
The revered Patriarch said that he saw a man of fiery color sitting upon a horse fly over his head and then disappear. Then a child approached him, spat on the ground, mixed the saliva with his finger, and drew a cross on his forehead. According to the Patriarch, this is a sign that man can overcome this disease with the help of God and the holy Cross.
His Holiness continued, reminding people of the purpose of life and encouraging the people to cling to the Lord:
How difficult it is for man to find the road that will lead him to the Kingdom of Heaven. How difficult to distinguish between black and white, good and evil, but this is life. Earthly life is given to us to understand where is black and where is white. We are paying great attention today to the events that have arisen in the whole world in connection with the coronavirus. Whether it is from God or from evil, one thing I want to tell you: that it would not have happened without the Lord. And with the help of prayer and the blessing of the Lord, we will be able to overcome this disease.
In no case should we be afraid and lose our presence of mind, Pat. Ilia assured his flock.
And on behalf of the entire Georgian Orthodox Church, he thanked medical workers for their selfless labors.
“May the Lord bless Georgia and the whole world,” His Holiness concluded.
The Patriarch also addressed the coronavirus in a homily last month, telling the people that it is another opportunity to test our faith and increase our prayers, and a statement on the Georgian Church’s site explains that the use of a single spoon for Communion is a longstanding tradition, and that despite many reports of various life-threatening infections over the centuries, the Orthodox faithful were not afraid to take Communion, but even went to Church more often, with the understanding that the Body and Blood of Christ brings healing and purification.
His Beatitude Patriarch Daniel of Romania also issued a recent statement, assuring the faithful that the holy Eucharist can never be a source of sickness and death.