Catholicos Patriarch of Georgia turns 83 – The path of His Holiness Illia II
04 January, 2016
Catholicos Patriarch of Georgia turns 83 – The path of His Holiness Illia II
Catholicos Patriarch of Georgia, His Holiness Ilia the Second turned 83 on January 4.
Ilia II was born as Irakli Ghudushauri-Shiolashvili in Vladikavkaz. His descendants had family ties with the former royal dynasty of the Bagrationi.

He graduated from the Moscow clerical seminary and was ordained a hierodeacon in 1957 and hieromonk in 1959; he graduated from the Moscow clerical academy in 1960 and returned to Georgia, where he was assigned to the Batumi Cathedral Church as a priest. In 1961, he was promoted to hegumen and later to archimandrite. On August 26, 1963, he was chosen to be the bishop of Batumi and Shemokmedi and appointed a patriarchal vicar. From 1963 to 1972 he was also the first rector of the Mtskheta Theological Seminary - the only clerical school in Georgia at that time.

‘I wanted to be an ordinary person, just another human being. That was my dream. I loved nature and I was growing up in this beautiful environment. I loved animals too and I thought to become an agrarian or a livestock specialist. Sometimes I was also amazed by medicine. I was collecting recipes from ethno science. I grew up in a family of Russian language teacher and I spent summer in Stepantsminda’, Illia II says.

His holiness was baptized when he was three years old. His parents named him Irakli, in honor of a famous Georgian King. His parents were very religious. His father, Giorgi Gudushauri, got up with prayer early in the morning, while his children were still sleeping. In the evening, together they read 90th psalm.

‘90th psalm is a very powerful one. It is against all the visible and invisible enemies. We had to know it by heart. My father read the prayers aloud and when he finished, he would sprinkle holy water at us. Then, we would go to bed and he would go on with the prayer. On weekends, we would go to church and that is why my mother would prepare food beforehand, on Saturdays.

When I entered the school of theology I wanted to have a family of my own and I also wanted to be a priest in a very small Georgian village. I dreamed of working like other people do. In the School of Theology, we, the students, had one tradition. Every morning we went to the Chruch of Venerable Sergius of Radonezh and prayed, receiving blessings and
I think, that had a very big influence on me when choosing my life’s path,’ the Patriarch recalls.

In 1967, he was consecrated as the bishop of Tskhumi and Abkhazeti and elevated to the rank of metropolitan in 1969. After the death of the controversial Patriarch David V, he was elected the new Catholicos-Patriarch of Georgia on December 25, 1977. He began a course of reforms, enabling the Georgian Orthodox Church, once suppressed by the Soviet ideology, to largely regain its former influence and prestige by the late 1980s. In 1988 there were 180 priests, 40 monks, and 15 nuns for the faithful, who were variously estimated as being from one to three million. There were 200 churches, one seminary, three convents, and four monasteries. During the last years of the Soviet Union, he was actively involved in Georgia's social life. He joined the people demonstrating in Tbilisi against the Soviet rule on April 9, 1989, and fruitlessly urged the protesters to withdraw to the nearby Kashueti Church to avoid bloodshed. This peaceful demonstration was dispersed by Soviet troops, leaving behind 22 dead and hundreds injured. During the civil war in Georgia in the 1990s, he called on the rival parties to find a peaceful solution to the crisis.

From 1978 to 1983, Ilia II was Co-President of the World Council of Churches (WCC), an ecumenical organization the Georgian Orthodox Church had joined with other Soviet churches in 1962. In May 1997, the Holy Synod of the Georgian Orthodox Church announced its withdrawal from the WCC.

‘I will always cherish that invisible and yet visible throne on which I was led up by the powerful hand of the almighty. The duties I was imposed with an endless mercy are ineffaceably written on my heart,’ these are the words his Holiness, the Catholicos Patriarch of All Georgia, Ilia II said during the anniversary of his enthronement.

For the last 35 years, due to his efforts, the number of Georgian church eparchies increased from 15 to 39. Some tens of churches and monasteries were built, new saints were canonized and the biggest church of Georgia, St. Trinity Temple was built.

Related Story:

Georgia celebrates the 38-th anniversary of Patriarch’s enthronement


Other Stories
Epiphany marked in Georgia
On January 19 Orthodox Georgians celebrate Epiphany feast.
Youngest Georgian beekeeper - Business started with one beehive
Vazha Machitashvili is the youngest Georgian beekeeper who has been discovered by a well-known journalist and photographer Goga Chanadiri.
Georgia to join Women’s March Global to defend women’s rights
The rhetoric of sexism and division during the US Presidential campaign has left many concerned.
James Appathurai receives Georgian chacha as New Year present
NATO Deputy Assistant Secretary General James Appathurai’s particularly warm attitude towards Georgia is well known.
Foreigners living in Georgia: Likes and dislikes
Georgia’s National Bureau of Statistics says according to the numbers of 2015 there are 92 560 immigrants registered in Georgia and 4 046 of them are from EU countries.
QATAR AIRWAYS UNVEILS ITS BIGGEST TRAVEL FESTIVAL EVER FOR 2017
Companion fares, kids fly free and other fantastic deals to be discovered across the airline’s global network between 9 and 16 January 2017
“Georgia is still following the path of Jesus Christ” – Patriarch’s Christmas Epistle
Georgia’s Orthodox Church celebrates Christmas today.
Women still outnumber men in Georgia
The number of women in Georgia is still higher than that of men, the official statistics say.
Ski patrol to provide safety at Georgia’s winter resorts
From now on ski patrol will establish order and provide safety for skiers at all Georgian winter resorts.
Electric taxis to serve passengers in Tbilisi
Parking of electric taxis will be free of charge in Tbilisi in order to promote electric vehicles.
Celebrating New Year in Georgia now and then
New Year can be considered one of the most beloved and popular celebrations in Georgia.
QATAR AIRWAYS LAUNCHES DIRECT NON STOP FLIGHTS FROM TBILISI
Previously served via Baku only, the new direct flights complement the existing tagged flights and significantly improve journey times to and from the Georgian capital
New Year festivities in Tbilisi: Places to enjoy your holidays
In relation to New Year the city offers its citizens as well as foreign guests a plenty of entertaining and interesting activities.
Will it snow on New Year Night in Tbilisi?
The Head of Hydrometeorological Center of Georgian National Environmental Agency Svetlana Nioradze says that on December 31, at night,
Small wonderland of angels and magnificent creatures in Tbilisi
At the corner of one of the central streets of Tbilisi, there is a cute workshop where magical wooden toys and decorations are crafted.
Singing Praises to Bulbuli Market
Life is a breeze if you’re a European farmer. Well, maybe not exactly a breeze, but you can at least sustain yourself and your business and get enough opportunities
What will New Year holidays cost you in Georgia’s winter resorts
Georgian winter resorts are preparing for the New Year holidays.
KAS School of Excellency Unites Young Leaders from EaP Countries and Russia
Two weeks ago, when the European Council and European Parliament reached agreement on the visa liberalization suspension mechanism for Georgia and Ukraine,
Christmas Festival "Bulbuli Market" to be held in Tbilisi
On December 24, at the cultural center ‘Muza’, the Christmas Festival called "Bulbuli Market" will be held.
Celebrate New Year at best in Chashnagiri
December 31st is a special day when everyone wants to meet the beginning of a new year in a cheerful way.
Cost of New Year feast – Will the products’ price increase?
Roast pig, satsivi, khachapuri, gozinaki, churchkhela, fruits and various sweets – these are the essential part of the New Year table in every Georgian family.
Creative mini libraries installed in Georgia’s cities and villages
Creative mini libraries have appeared in public spaces and parks throughout Georgia’s different regions.
“I think like a Georgian” – Ilyas Cilloglu on Identity, Education and Being Georgian
An exclusive interview with the Rector of International Black Sea University.
What is the nearest weather forecast in Georgia
From 9 to 11 December cold weather and snow are still expected in Georgia.
Colorful world of a lonely grandma living in Georgia's  abandoned village
“I have been wearing black since I was 18 years old. First I lost my parents, then my husband died and then my son.
PHOTO OF THE DAY
Other Stories
The world-famous American musician Moby expressed his support to Georgian rock band The Mins at the nearest Eurovision contest publicly.
In all prisons throughout Georgia a special Christmas service was held.
An awesome footage featuring foreign students singing Georgian song has gone viral on social media.
Have you wondered how New Year was celebrated in Georgia and what it looked like in the past?
Company GD ALCO, the leading distributor of premium spirits in Georgia, hosted yet another very respectable guest, Guilliame De Guitaut, the brand ambassador of Hennessy,
Elle, a popular French magazine focusing on fashion and beauty, listed jacket designed by Balenciaga’s Georgian creative director Demna Gvasalia among 10 Most Wearable Winter Trends.
Georgian youth has its own representative in the United Nations and her name is Tatia Dolidze.
Today, on October 8, parliamentary elections are held in Georgia.
One of the most memorable moments during Pope’s stay in Georgia was his visit to Svetitskhoveli Cathedral.
Various videos have been made that promote Georgia’s cultural heritage, historical sites and beautiful views of this tiny country.
GEL Exchange
USD
1
USD
2.6763
EUR
1
EUR
2.8457
GBP
1
GBP
3.2894
RUB
100
RUB
4.4722