Tbilisi, May 18, 2020
Every year on May 17, the Georgian Orthodox Church celebrates Family Purity Day, traditionally with a large procession through the streets of Tbilisi.
However, this year, due to the coronavirus pandemic, the procession was held only by priests in a column of automobiles, without public participation, reports agenda.ge.
Holding icons and Georgian flags, the priests moved from the Sameba-Holy Trinity Cathedral into downtown Tbilisi after the Sunday Divine Liturgy where His Holiness Catholicos-Patriarch Ilia II called on all the faithful to pray for “the strength of their families.”
The priests blessed the streets and observing faithful with holy water as they went.
Family Purity Day was launched by the Patriarch himself in 2014 and coincides with the International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia, and Biphobia, which was launched in 2005. In his homily on Family Purity Day last year, Pat. Ilia explained that the celebration is not an act of aggression against anyone, but emerges from genuine concern for Georgia.
The Church also distances itself from any acts of violence against members of any minority groups.
“The celebration [of the arrival of the Atskur Icon of the Mother of God to Tbilisi] lasted for a week. Georgia is the lot of the Theotokos, and for one week, we entreated the Mother of God to have mercy on Georgia. Today we celebrate Family Purity Day. We pray for our families to be strong, Christian, and faithful. Where faith is true, there is joy, there is love,” His Holiness said.
The Patriarch also spoke about one of the saints of the day, St. Monica, the mother of St. Augustine, who converted her husband and son to the true faith through her fervent prayers and her righteous example.
More than 500 couples who had already started families but had no Church wedding participated in mass wedding ceremonies throughout Georgia on Family Purity Day last year.