Georgian Patriarch Ilia II delivers annual Christmas epistle

  • The Georgian Patriarch Ilia II delivered his annual Christmas epistle last night. Photo: PM's press office., 7 Jan 2019 - 13:01, Tbilisi,Georgia

The Georgian Patriarch Ilia II delivered his annual Christmas epistle prior to Christmas masse last night at the Holy Trinity Cathedral in Tbilisi.

In the first part of the epistle the Patriarch recounted the story of the birth of Jesus Christ and spoke of the importance of leading a spiritual life. 

He said that the “road to God” has been “narrow and hard” for believers over the past few centuries, and that the modern era makes spiritual development difficult for people.

The Patriarch identified the following challenges: 

  • Need for measures against abortion, drug addiction and gambling;
  • The risks coming from increased cases of the abuse of freedom of speech, especially on social media in the form of hate speech, disinformation or defamation;
  • Problems in the education system and a need for the increased involvement of parents in their children's school life;
  • He stressed the importance of the unity of all peoples living in Georgia.

Drugs, gambling games, or immoral lifestyles kills thousands of young people, and these crimes need to be responded to by all of us… Let’s try to not lose hope for the future, love of our neighbors and the desire to support them, let’s not lose our dignity and respond to  challenges with kindness”, the epistle reads.

The Patriarch also talked about risks coming from increased cases of abuse of the freedom of speech especially on social media in the form of hate speech, disinformation or defamation.

Freedom of speech is one of the most important rights of the public, which allows any citizen to express his/her opinion publicly through mass media and social networks that create a sense of personal freedom and create an opportunity to share one’s own opinion with others, but, unfortunately, some people often change the reality and abuse the freedom of speech”, reads the epistle.

Today people do not avoid insulting and humiliating others; falsehoods and foul words have become a common occurrence. The gravest form of the lie - conscious lies have become widespread, the slander, which sometimes is masterly obvoluted in the name of truth, which the listeners will initially mislead. Those, who commit it, probably think that they do not physically assault and hurt others. It is a big mistake. The word has an unusual force, both positive and negative. The word can give someone life or be the same as death. Moreover, none of our words disappear, and it will be our incriminating circumstances before God", reads the epistle.

The Patriarch said that the future generation needs special care. He said that he is familiar with the problems that face teachers in Georgia’s public schools. He said that despite the positive initiatives from the government, such is increased salary for the teachers, more should be done.

The Christmas epistle sorts out the following developments that are needed in Georgia’s public schools:

  • The attention must be paid to the raising the pupils with the national spirit. The love of homeland should be flared in the hearts of new generation so they could grow as dignified citizens.
  • School hours should be given to personal hygiene, handicraft, relations with nature, creation of general presentation of agriculture;  musical, artistic, literary circles ...
  • Sport halls and squares for raising pupils as strong and healthy people.
  • Parents should be more engages in their children’s school life, should meet their teachers more often.

The Patriarch also talked about families in Georgia and said that there are many cases of divorces in the country. He recalled to the husbands and wives that at the end of the day they should ask forgiveness to each other and be more responsible as divorces affect the children badly.