His Holiness Ilia II’s enthronement as the Catholicos-Patriarch of All Georgia took place in 1977 when he was 44. The 41st anniversary of the event was commemorated on December 25, with a solemn service in the Svetitskhoveli Cathedral, located in the former Georgian capital of Mtskheta.
Were present the members of the Georgian Church Holy Synod, as well as President Salome Zurabishvili and Prime Minister Mamuka Bakhtadze. In his congratulatory speech, the Georgian Prime Minister mentioned Patriarch Ilia’s great achievements:
“I want to congratulate all Orthodox—today is the 41st anniversary of the Patriarch of Georgia’s enthronement. During this period, many monasteries and churches were built, restored, and rebuilt. This is indeed an unprecedented period of revival in the history of Georgia. With great respect, I want to thank the Patriarch for the contribution he has been making to the formation of the Georgian state”.
When Patriarch Ilia II was enthroned, the Church of Georgia had 15 dioceses and only 30 active churches, because of communist persecutions. Today, there are 47 dioceses and about 2,000 active parishes, with 3,000 clergy members.
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