Tbilisi, April 6, 2021
According to a poll conducted in February, His Holiness Catholicos-Patriarch Ilia II remains by far the most popular public figure in Georgia—a position the beloved archpastor has held for many years.
The survey was conducted by the International Republican Institute. The relevant question reads: “I am going to read you the names of Georgian politicians and public figures. Please tell me your opinion of him/her.”
89% responded that they have a favorable view of His Holiness, while only 4% have an unfavorable move. 7% said they don’t know or did not answer.
The Georgian Church has undergone a great revival under the guidance of Pat. Ilia, who has headed the Church since 1977. When he ascended the Patriarchal throne, there were 30 active churches in 15 dioceses throughout the nation; today there are 47 dioceses and about 2,000 churches.
The next most popular public figure is former Prime Minister Giorgi Gakharia, viewed as favorable by 65% of the respondents.
The most favored institution is the army, with an 82% favorable rating, followed closely by the Church with 79%. There have been highly-publicized tensions in the Georgian Church lately that are likely affecting how some people view it. The Church received an 85% favorable vote as recently as August.
The survey was conducted with 1,500 permanent residents of Georgia aged 18 or older from February 2 to 26.
His Holiness also received an 89% favorable rating in August, with 6% expressing an unfavorable view.