The head bishop of the þeod (nation) of Georgia, Catholicos-Patriarch Ilia II, has been saying and doing many things that leaders in the South, churchly or lay, ought to be saying and doing. Here are a few ensamples for us to take note of.
Modern people do not want to work the soil and thus they abandon it – as a result foreigners begin to take over our land, said His Holiness Catholicos-Patriarch Ilia II of All Georgia during his Sunday sermon at the Holy Trinity Cathedral in Tbilisi, reports Geomigrant. The Patriarch was referring to the current trend in Georgia of agricultural land being sold to foreigners such as Turks and Chinese.
“Each period is notable for its own characteristics that could not be seen in the previous period. Today’s situation is different from earlier ones as well. Georgian people always liked to possess their own land, to toil, to cultivate it.
“Nowadays Georgian people tend to avoid working with earth, instead preferring to look for an income that does not involve manual labor. We read in the Psalms of David: Shew me Thy ways, o Lord; teach me Thy paths (Ps. 25:4). So we are asking God to show us the true path. And He replies: I am the way, the truth, and the life (John 14:6). But, instead of following the words of the Almighty, our young people are going abroad in order to work as servants there, while aliens are coming to our motherland and occupying our lands. Therefore, we are addressing ourselves to everybody and calling upon you all: do think seriously about yourselves, about your children, and about our future,” the Catholicos-Patriarch said.
Catholicos-Patriarch Ilia II of All Georgia has stated that such natural riches as land, water, and mineral resource deposits must not be sold or rented for a long-term lease to foreigners, reports Interfax-Religion.
“What is the main value that must be cherished by us? These are Georgian land, water, springs, rivers, deposits that must not be sold or alienated,” said Ilia II in his speech at the Sunday service at the Holy Trinity Cathedral in Tbilisi.
According to the head of the Georgian Church, these values, “by which the Georgian nation exists, may be completely lost because other people, other countries have more means, more money to purchase all this”.
“That is why all of us should think it through thoroughly. We should think not only of ourselves, but also of the future, of posterity. There are, for example, cases of not selling, but leasing of the forest for 50, 90, 100 years. If the forest is destroyed, so will be the nation,” said His Holiness.
He has noted that 100 years are not needed for obliteration of the forest. “One week will be enough for it and this is very dangerous. So our authorities should pay a special attention on this,” stressed the patriarch.
“May God enlighten our minds so that we should realize what is necessary for us, what the true values are,” he added.
The other day the constitutional court of Georgia abolished the moratorium, declared a year ago by the parliament, which prohibited foreign citizens from obtaining parcels of land for agricultural purposes until December 31, 2014.
Foreigners’ interest in obtaining agricultural lands in Georgia has intensified since 2012. In connection with this, protests began in a number of regions of the country because agricultural lands and pastures had been sold or rented for a long-term lease to foreigners, mainly farmers from India, Iran, United Arab Emirates, and China. After that it was decided to suspend the transfer.
His Holiness Catholicos-Patriarch Ilia II of Georgia has declared May 17 a Day of family strength and honor for parents. He announced this at Holy Trinity Cathedral during the Sunday sermon on May 11, reports Gruzia Online.
The head of the Georgian Orthodox Church gave his blessing to serve paracleses in all churches on that day, and for all priests to go out and sprinkle houses, streets and people.
The premiere of the first Georgian film about homosexuals in the main cinema of the country, "Rustaveli" in the centre of Tbilisi, is scheduled for May 17 to mark the so-called "international day of war on homophobia".
Last year on this day in Tbilisi there was an attempt to arrange a gay pride parade, but in response to this 10,000 protesters went out to the city streets.
All these events are happening against the background of an anti-discrimination law passed by the Parliament early in May. The Holy Church at once raised its voice against it. None of the faithful will accept such a law, stated Catholicos-Patriarch Ilia II of All Georgia.
It was probably the first case when the Patriarch sharply and openly accused the authorities of imposing western values on the Georgian people that are alien to them, noted the Georgian press.
On the day following Georgia’s celebration the Day of Family Strength and Honor for Parents by prayer processions and sprinkling of streets and houses by holy water, Catholicos-Patriarch Ilia II addressed the people, as usual, at the Divine Liturgy.
A week before this the Patriarch declared May 17 the Day of family strength and honor for parents while a certain part of the society celebrates the same day as “the international day of war on homophobia”.
Shortly before, the so-called anti-discrimination law was passed in Georgia, and the Patriarch together with the whole Georgian Church have spoken out against it.
“Very often we ask the Lord to give, grant us something. And so often we forget to praise and glorify the Lord. And if we look at our past, present and future, then we will see that the Lord has always been, is now and will ever be with us. The Lord is holding Georgia by hand as children are held by hand, and is leading us across deserts,” said Ilia II in his Sunday speech.
“We thank the Lord because He does not abandon us. Georgia has gone through many trials and there will definitely be another trial. As long as a person lives on the earth, there will always be trials. But we should remember that the Lord will never leave Georgia without His protection, for Georgia is a portion of the Mother of God [on earth]. The Holy Theotokos is our Protectress before the Lord,” said Catholicos-Patriarch Illya II of All Georgia, who described May 17, when people went out to the streets to pray together and to demonstrate the whole world that they were one Church, as a special, historic day.
“It was a historic day yesterday; the Lord gave us His great grace. Georgia was blessed together with our compatriots, living not only in Georgia, but also abroad, in other countries. We thank the Lord for this great mercy,” said the patriarch who also blessed people to pray for repose of the deceased tsars, venerable men and patriarchs.
“You will be given lists of the dead to be prayed for, with names of our tsars and tsarinas, our holy fathers and catholicoses-patriarchs. These self-sacrificing people will help us. The end times are near, that is why their help is necessary.
I will ask the Lord to give strength to people. May He bless His people by peace”.
“This Sunday is the Sunday of Exaltation of the Holy Virgin. When we say that the Holy Theotokos has mercy upon Georgia and protects it, we also must remember that our responsibility is great. And if we are given much we will have to answer for much,” added Patriarch Ilia II.
At the Holy Trinity Cathedral Catholicos-Patriarch Ilia II of All Georgia addressed his flock with a Sunday sermon, singling out the journalists and “the establishment”, asking them to stop spreading death propaganda, reports PIA.
“Nearly every day there are reports that one man killed another man, a son put his parents to death, parents murdered their children, and many similar incidents. And all this is shown as something necessary. I would like to address myself to our press, our television, to our respected journalists and our government: When we give coverage to such negative events, we traumatize our people.
“We give an example that this grave sin may be committed as well. So, perhaps we can find a way to report all these killings as rarely as possible,” said Catholicos-Patriarch Ilia II of All Georgia.
“When we inform our youth, our children about killing, we give them an example that it is permissible. That is why we must cherish our people. When our people see these murders, look almost every day at wars and killings, this plunges them into a terrible stress. And that is why we must not do it.
“But, as you know, there is good in the world. Many good deeds are done everywhere, including in our country.
“Let us tell people about the good, console our people, encourage them to do good. Doing good things gives us strength and hope for the future. I hope we will finally come to understand who we are. Our nation is chosen by God. If this were not true, the Lord would not have granted us so many blessings!”
Head of the Georgian Orthodox Church, Patriarch Ilia II, said in his Sunday sermon that the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling legalizing same-sex marriage throughout the United States was a “big mistake.”
He raised the issue when speaking about freedom in his sermon in the Holy Trinity Cathedral in Tbilisi.
“Freedom has a huge power; freedom is a test in which a person sees spiritually the path,” Patriarch Ilia II said. “Often freedom is misused by people and this is disastrous for spirit. Neither ten commandments, nor laws and customs would have been required if people were given complete freedom.”
“There are cases when people and countries legalize illegality. You know from the media and the press that the United States of America has decided to allow same-sex marriage in all the states – this is a big mistake and even the American spiritual figures say it; and we too reiterate that this is a big mistake,” he said.
“A Georgian should distinguish between good and evil; between acceptable and unacceptable; we ask God for opening our minds and hearts to let them see good and evil,” he added.