Education
1978

Schools and universities have been raising our country’s children, our children have been protecting our borders, and scientists have been striving for light, with everything being done to ensure brotherhood, love, and progress. This is what our Good Old New Year has been like. But now the God of Light and our Hope has given us a new one. Once again, the spring of labor and flourishing is awaiting us. My spiritual children, I wish you an abundance of spiritual and bodily strength, so that you may take adamant, blissful, and resolute steps toward a better future of mankind.

New Year Epistle|Source
National values
1978

The Georgian people, together with other brothers and neighbors, have been working hard, pouring sweat on the soil and machinery, but this sweat is not one of need or necessity, but one of jubilation, joy, and accumulation of wealth; the sweat shed for a step forward on a chosen path.

New Year Epistle|Source
National values
1979

It is with special love that I am addressing you, my dear compatriots living abroad. You are not forgotten. We remember you, and we always keep you in our prayers. But neither should you forget your homeland, sunny Georgia, for its blessed soil is the resting place of your glorious ancestors. Remember, and make sure to study your native Georgian tongue, read and take in our rich ecclesiastical and classic literature, which enriches and unites us. Our common goal is to be together.

Christmas Epistle|Source
National values
1979

It is amid times of trials and tribulations that the Georgian people have been building our churches, and you know that our Apostolic Church has stood the test of time throughout centuries. As we have fought, God has had mercy on us, and the Virgin Mary has protected our nation and our Church. Our ancestors loved Jesus Christ the Savior and Christ’s holy churches. And they would not let anyone devastate and destroy them, but handed them down to us their children and posterity. It is our duty to care for their legacy, to love all this wholeheartedly, just the way these churches were built

New Year Epistle|Source
National values
1979

What would Georgia be without Christianity? We defended Christianity, and Christianity has saved us!

Easter Epistle|Source
National values
1980

We cannot accuse modern youth of indifference. These are seeking, thinking, talented young people. The searching of youth, their ability to make a sacrifice, their striving for science—all these bear witness to the power and greatness of their spirit. It is exciting to see our young people reject all that is frozen, stagnant, lifeless, and soulless. Many have found themselves thirsting for life according to the Gospels, and many are now interested in spiritual riches more than in material welfare. Human beings have come to the realization of what material wealth is. Has it blessed anyone, made anyone happy or beautiful, granted anyone goodness or reason? No, it has not.

Christmas Epistle|Source
Science
1980

Today, humanity is facing a global problem, whether human beings can subdue themselves and the technology of their making and if the accumulated equipment will ultimately prove beneficial for man. At the same time, we must admit that scientifically justified technology has given us unprecedented power to make use of nature, but this power must serve the purpose of mankind’s welfare in the global meaning of this word, not of mankind’s spiritual weakening.

Easter Epistle|Source
National values
1981

Our agile nation, thirsting for life and freedom, has been forging our unique, glorious language for centuries, to create our centuries-old literature, to write The Martyrdom of Saint Shushanik, the globally known epic poem The Knight in the Tiger’s Skin, and many others in this language. This language was spoken in the Gelati and Ikalto Academies, and this language was heard on Mount Sinai, Mount Athos, and the Monastery of the Holy Cross in Jerusalem. And it is in this language that our wise scholars are writing their works at our glorious Academy of Sciences, our blessed universities and institutes.

Christmas Epistle|Source
Economics
1981

Economic welfare does not bring about happiness. Things are increasingly taking over our everyday lives, losing in the process their value. Unprecedented material development generates unprecedented perversions, egoism, ineptness, and spiritual emptiness. As we are being so resolute today in caring for our bodies while neglecting our souls, we—caught in the whirlpool of acquisition and gain—forget that, in the process, we are losing both our souls and our bodies.

Christmas Epistle|Source
Science
1981

All scientists should be aware of the results of their scientific research and study, what outcomes their work will bring to people, good or detrimental. In this context, A. Einstein wrote: “When I dedicated myself to science, I was not guided by such external motives as gaining money or gratifying my vainglory, neither was I driven by what is often considered sport or mental exercise—at least, not just by it—which I actually find exciting. On the contrary, as someone inclining toward science, I found myself facing one major issue: What does the science, to which I have dedicated myself, want or seek? To what extent are its key outcomes related to truth?”

Christmas Epistle|Source
National values
1981

What marks the end of a given nation’s history is when it no longer contributes to humanity’s treasury, only being a consumer of this treasury; when it has nothing left to export, resorting only to import. But many universal things continue to be created in our country, a factor reinforcing our faith in our nation’s bright future. We cannot limit ourselves to being proud of our past and our ancestors. Instead, we must keep up with the times, real life, which is quite hard. I strongly believe that, despite numerous difficulties, the Georgian nation will give rise to another Rustaveli or Baratashvili, new Beka Opizati or King Dimitri the Self-Sacrificing. The genius of our nation lies in the Georgian people’s ability to tackle these difficulties and keep their national uniqueness

New Year Epistle|Source
Science
1981

Today, mankind is progressing in leaps and bounds on the path of civilization. We are witnessing a scientific and technological revolution, but we have also lost inner peace, a much-needed factor eternally essential for human beings. And when internal peace is lost, so is external peace and joy along with it.

Easter Epistle|Source
Alternative religions and denominations
1981

The international state of affairs has grown so tense nowadays, that it now threatens world peace. Under these circumstances, ecclesiastical figures and those outside the Church alike must do their best to avert global disaster and join forces to keep peace.

Easter Epistle|Source
National values
1982

This constant struggle has strengthened our people both spiritually and physically. We wonder how the Georgians have survived through so many unfair battles. The answer lies in the power stemming from the unity of the people and the Church. Plowmen, artisans, warriors, monks, patriarchs, kings, and others were driven by the spirit of unwavering faith in the victory of good. They sought eternal truth and lamented whenever they could not find it. Our strength lies in the greatness of our spirit: Our monasteries and churches are not only serving their primary purpose, but have also served as academies, hubs of science and culture.

Christmas Epistle|Source
Gender roles
1982

A kind and faithful wife is the greatest joy for a man […] Above all else, a woman is a mother. Her primary function of motherhood defines her image, her honor, as a human being, as one continuing the generation of human beings. It is hard to understand a woman avoiding her key duty of motherhood. A woman overtaken by selfishness, excessive love for herself, longing for amusement, and a variety of vices that would make her resemble the barren tree from the Gospel. Today, most women are facing a problem: Work and, at the same time, raise children.

Christmas Epistle|Source
Education
1982

Our scientific institutions are paying due attention to the spreading of Old Georgian script, though the publication of Georgian alphabet tables and parallel texts cannot benefit us as much as the consistent study of the ancient script. Every middle school graduate must know who to read and write in the Asomtavruli and Nuskha-Khutsuri alphabets.

New Year Epistle|Source
National values
1982

Thank God, our blessed land abounds in traces of our ancestors. Earthly Georgia’s plains and mountains boast more than 15,000 historical monuments that chant unto Heavenly Georgia! […] It is a pity that the Georgian people standing in front of a glorious Georgian church cannot read the inscriptions on its walls. […] It is a duty of every Georgian to know the Old Georgian script.

New Year Epistle|Source
National values
1982

It is with special love and warm feelings that I am addressing you, our brothers living outside our homeland. I am addressing both Muslims and Christians. We are one in flesh and blood, despite our different religious views. Remember that your ancestors are laid to rest in Georgia’s sacred land. Do not forget who you are, your roots, and remember the God-blessed Georgian language and Georgian traditions consecrated throughout centuries. Remember that only love can conquer hate and spiritual division, and God on High has granted us love in abundance. We always remember you and keep you in our prayers. We pray for our reunification.

Easter Epistle|Source
Science
1982

Today, in the age of scientific and technological revolution, the Church serves a crucially important mission, being full of divine energy and, therefore, of grace-endowed gifts, taking an active part in the nation’s life, in the cause of protecting peace, and in the ensuring of mutual understanding and justice.

Easter Epistle|Source
Foreign Policy
1983

A Christian believer is obligated to use every means possible in order to oppose incitement of war. The issue of war and peace is a problem shared by all. It encompasses and concerns all, regardless of religious, cultural, or political affiliation, because everyone senses the threat of nuclear disaster

Christmas Epistle|Source
National values
1983

Many people link happiness to a variety of circumstances, wealth, status, or knowledge, but they still cannot find spiritual tranquility. But what exactly is happiness? Maybe it does not exist to begin with, and we just made it up? No, happiness and bliss, does exist. It is the fruit of faith and love. We are happy when God is with us, when we believe in and love the Lord, our homeland, families, neighbors….

New Year Epistle|Source
Science
1984

Some think that nuclear disaster, and the consequent threat of annihilating life on this planet, is a result of science and rapid technological advancement, or scientific and technological revolution, which is wrong. In reality, science and technology have generated new ways and means for human development. But the big problem is that humanity met these scientific achievements unprepared spiritually and morally. Consequently, some turned these achievements into a source of evil instead of good.

Christmas Epistle|Source
Foreign Policy
1984

Undoubtedly, as a result of the active struggle of the world’s progressive forces, the threat of nuclear disaster will be averted, and peace will triumph as a symbol of life’s victory over death

New Year Epistle|Source
Domestic policy
1984

The longing of people with different worldviews toward peace, including through practical cooperation, incorporates numerous aspects. The entire greatness of this goal clearly demonstrates that this kind of interaction is not only possible, but also necessary. The Georgian Church is actively supporting the country’s peace-loving policy

Easter Epistle|Source
Alternative religions and denominations
1985

Hinduism professes polytheism, believing man to be part of God, and human thought to be merely proceeding from one whole. According to this teaching, it is unclear why sin exists, sin that so often drives man to oppose the Creator. What is the purpose of reincarnation and other key parts of their faith? […] The difference between said teachings is enormous, though there is one thing that links and binds them. It is an extremely dangerous and unreal cult of personality, encouraging one to believe that his abilities are limitless, which is in reality a manipulation of human weakness.

Christmas Epistle|Source
Science
1985

Sometimes we hear that science and faith are contradictory. But that is not right. How can they contradict each other when they encompass totally different areas of our lives: Faith is about the spiritual, and science is about the material. Thus, instead of contradicting, they complement each other, both being necessary for normal personal and societal development and existence. [...] To overcome gravity, science has launched a new process of space exploration. Mankind is facing the threat of nuclear war. The supply of generated nuclear energy is extremely dangerous in that it puts up a wall between human beings and nature.

New Year Epistle|Source
Science
1985

The modern achievements of science and technology can bring enormous benefits, but they also pose a serious threat for life on earth. The ongoing arms race consumes enormous finances that could and should be used for keeping normal living conditions

Easter Epistle|Source
Foreign Policy
1986

The Orthodox Christian Church of Georgia, similar to the peace-loving progressive part of humanity, is filled with joy and hope after hearing the news of the Geneva negotiations between the two superpowers, the Soviet Union and the United States of America. I believe it is time for such meetings to be held, because their positive outcomes will have an impact not only on the parties to these negotiations, but also on the whole world.

Christmas Epistle|Source
Gender roles
1986

Today, women are engaged in a variety of directions, working in factories and plants, scientific institutions, and different organizations, even holding responsible offices…. Of course, it is commendable, but we should not forget that their primary duty is caring for their families. Raising good children is the highest achievement in service to the nation. And no one else can take a mother’s place in this cause, because no one can substitute parental intuition, warmth, and love. Unfortunately, we often see unstable and vainglorious mothers in search of personal gain. We also see mothers avoiding their duties, and those who do not shy away even from horrible crimes—and, with or without their husbands’ consent, kill the fetus prematurely—just to live comfortably. And they forget that it is murder, the murder of their own sons and daughters. What difference does it make how old they are, newly conceived or 20-30 years of age?

New Year Epistle|Source
National values
1986

The national genius of Georgians, after having embraced the life-giving springs of Roman, Greek, and Oriental civilizations, built a glorious Church celebrating spirituality, with the Christian Georgian people as the chief architect. Mostly a Christian people, with graceful faith and knowledge, carved such brilliant laws and examples of moral life, ones unknown in the pre-Christian world

Easter Epistle|Source
Foreign Policy
1986

The factor of time is especially relevant today, as we consider the fate of the world and relations between nations and states. “East is east, and west is west, and never the twain shall meet,” famous author Rudyard Kipling wrote in the 19th century. He considered the East and the West to be two special civilizations separated by time and space, developing not just independently, but also governed by different laws.

Easter Epistle|Source
Science
1986

Science and technology have taken a giant step forward, followed by the further complication of social life. Can human beings take in, study, and use it all? Can they handle an army of millions of robots marching against them? Or will they be enslaved by soulless machines? Is the development of personal capacities proportionate to scientific progress, while technological advancement in the future will be much faster?

Easter Epistle|Source
National values
1987

Marriage, family, children, and care for the prosperity of one’s nation is the way of life of any morally upright person. It implies unblemished relations between man and woman, mutual trust, mutual self-sacrifice and sacrifice.

Christmas Epistle|Source
Foreign Policy
1987

Today more than ever, all of humanity yearns for peace, peace without nuclear weapons. Human beings have accumulated deadly weapons in such numbers that power talk is no longer an option as a policy—new political thinking is in order today. And this new thinking is behind the unilateral moratorium on nuclear explosions observed by our country. It is with a heavy heart that the international community heard the news of the United States of America rejecting this vitally important offer. Everyone must know that rejecting the moratorium equals refusing to diffuse international tensions.

Christmas Epistle|Source
Gender roles
1987

It is unfortunate that modern families are gradually losing this deep meaning. Signs of deterioration are growing increasingly alarming. Only women can save families, and the future of humanity depends on them […] The trend of equaling women to men has been floating around quite some time. […] Women started looking for their place outside family. Civilization, cold reasoning, and pragmatism have caused their fragile feminine nature to deteriorate. Their desire to have and raise children has waned. Women are fleeing their families, because they have become a heavy burden on their shoulders. And once outside their families, women lost tranquility, modesty, with the look in their eyes, their manners and behavior, their appearance changing. […] The desire to have fun, keeping with fashionable trends, the fear of tomorrow, distrust in one’s self, negative daily experiences are gradually obliterating their beauty. The desire to equal men has become a race for women, and they are very unlikely to win this race.

New Year Epistle|Source
Gender roles
1988

Equally frequent are cases when men get used to a life of leisure, leaving all cares to women, and themselves making plans to have a good time, while their wives and children are in need economically, physically, and spiritually alike. Such families often break up—spouses, who once swore loyalty to each other, are now separating. And once beloved friends now lead an unhealthy life, left to themselves, and gradually perish through misfortunes, loneliness, and abuse.

Christmas Epistle|Source
Education
1988

Until now, both middle schools and schools of higher education have sought to prepare highly qualified specialists, a rather poorly performed task. But now we live in an era when it is not enough for one to be a specialist, now one must also be a spiritually and intellectually advanced citizen.

New Year Epistle|Source
Science
1988

How can science and faith contradict each other when they encompass totally different areas of creative human thought: One is about the physical, and the other is about the spiritual? Instead of contradicting, they complement each other. Science as such is blessed by God. It personifies the achievements of human intellect and a human being as an image of God, explaining why the fruits of science are blessed and must be used only for the spiritual and physical well-being of people, not for cutting them down

New Year Epistle|Source
Modernity and media
1989

Modern man is part of the secular era that has lost God, lost love for and faith in human beings. People are stuck in the earthly sphere, in a world of material values, lost and looking to the Church as their last hope and comfort, putting enormous responsibility on us, our priests, and our congregations.

Christmas Epistle|Source
Alternative religions and denominations
1989

As you know, before gaining autocephaly in the 5th century, Georgia was under the jurisdiction of the Antiochian Patriarchate, and our clerics were ordained by them. Protestant branches, such as Baptists and other denominations, are deprived of this grace of [Apostolic] succession.

Christmas Epistle|Source
National values
1989

For centuries, the Georgian people have been through myriad trials and tribulations, but we have always felt the presence of God’s protection, the salvific and assuring power of God’s hand. Trials have made us think harder and see life and the world from a different angle, opening our hearts further, making our senses gentler, granting us the talent of sharing the sorrow and joy of others

New Year Epistle|Source
National values
1989

God requires more from a chosen people. He will not forgive us things that He may forgive others, because He has granted us mercies in abundance and, therefore, put on us greater responsibility. He is especially unforgiving of faithlessness. Historically, we are prone to division. Envy and enmity have been dividing us for centuries. And it is the same today. We have failed to overcome this disease. The Lord is helping us, awakening our national spirit, and binding and uniting us, at the expense of enormous sorrow and great pain. And that is where our salvation lies. Let us follow this path, gather up our wisdom and tranquility, lest we are faced by far greater trials and tribulations.

Easter Epistle|Source
Science
1989

Our age may be called an era of great change, though it is, at the same time, a time of great deterioration […] No one can stop scientific development, and that is God’s will. But it is unfortunate that our spiritual growth lags far behind technological achievements, eventually posing a serious threat for particular individuals and the world in general.

Easter Epistle|Source
Domestic policy
1989

The night of April 9 was an eye-opener in many ways. It showed us that no force can overcome kindness, and as long as we walk in faith, love, and truth, and exercise prudence, we will always win.

Easter Epistle|Source
Alternative religions and denominations
1990

Some sects accuse the Orthodox Christian Church of venerating saints, a practice they consider idol-worship.

Christmas Epistle|Source
Education
1990

Moral theology is one of the subjects taught in the theological seminary and academy. If theology is still unacceptable in our schools, ethics is an absolute must. We should specify this discipline by naming it “moral culture” and add it to the school curricula. […] Ideally, each school should be designated for one particular grade, like one school for first-graders only, another for second-graders, and so on. Alternately, one school could be set aside for elementary schoolchildren, another for adolescents, and so on, three years apart. […] We believe that we can fill this gap by developing a school program for first to graduating grades, one designed to foster in-depth thinking and using the achievements of theology, logic, psychology, philosophy, anthropology, and the spiritual and intellectual potential of our nation (theological materials absolutely must be backed up by concrete examples).

Easter Epistle|Source
National values
1990

Quoting Saint Ilia the Righteous, our national identity—our national unity—rests and is built upon three robust roots: our land, Christianity, and the Georgian language. We must cherish them like the apple of our eyes. Because, if the Georgians lose the sense of this reality, we will forever sway from that salvific path.

Easter Epistle|Source
Modernity and media
1990

Modern people’s way of thinking is superficial, lacking in-depth thought, a problem explained in a number of ways by scientists through the radio, television, press, cinema, theater, and other media.

Easter Epistle|Source
Domestic policy
1990

This form of protesting or expressing oneself, once imported from Europe in the form of rallies and strikes, is history today, because people got used to it, then tired of it, and now it has backfired. […] Multipartyism is a genuine democratic political system, but it must be used for good deeds. States with centuries-old democracies and multiple parties have developed ethics of debate, something our country has not done so far. Our spiritual and cultural level is so low that, when engaging in debate, we switch to mutual insults, threats, and disregarding the living and the dead

Easter Epistle|Source
National values
1991

In this Christmas Epistle, I would like to address Georgia’s non-Georgian population: Russians, Abkhazians, Ossetians, Jews, Greeks, Armenians, Estonians, Azerbaijanis, Ukrainians, Kurds, and many others. Brothers and sisters, it is with fatherly love that I am reminding you that you, no less than Georgians, are our spiritual children. No one has ever been subjected to ethnic or religious persecution in Georgia. You are and will be our brothers and sisters, and no force will ever undermine this attitude. Remember that the happiness of Georgians is your happiness. We must live together and work together for our spiritual and material benefit

Christmas Epistle|Source
Domestic policy
1991

We are living in a very complex, difficult, and controversial time, when devastating violence threatens to dominate. Younger people are growing increasingly interested in politics, and that has stolen from them the desire to delve into science and work. In return, we have a legion of political parties, associations, and societies on our hands. Some of the emerging political views—instead of urging youth to reconcile and unite—create barriers tearing people apart, something that often degenerates into open confrontation and enmity. Unfortunately, public and national interests are sacrificed on the altar of personal interests and views.

Christmas Epistle|Source
Education
1991

School is a perfect reflection of society. Well said. Society as we know it is ailing, and so are our schools. Our middle school is conservative, and it cannot meet today’s demands. Teaching is one of the most responsible and honorable professions all over the world, because teachers are the ones raising future generations. In our country, however, teachers have no reputation in families, in society, and even among themselves. Worse still, most students dislike school and teachers. [...] In my opinion, teachers must be remunerated better than representatives of any other profession. And the most talented assets must be attracted. [...] It may be advisable to develop separate school and discipline-specific programs for humanitarian and technical directions; that is, to open one type of school for humanitarian studies, and another for those interested in technical subjects, but in a way that ensures keeping general educational courses in both. Moral theology, a subject taught at the Theological Seminary and Academy, could be added to the said middle school program.

Easter Epistle|Source
National values
1991

We Georgians are emotional people, explaining why our actions are often driven by feelings. Yes, feelings are good, because they come from the heart, but they are not enough—it is also necessary to keep a cool head in control, in order to correctly foresee any possible positive or negative outcomes of our actions. […] Yes, it is in our Georgian blood, and it is our major flaw. But we cannot live like this. We absolutely must consider what comes next, because this “next” may prove fatal for our people

Easter Epistle|Source
Domestic policy
1991

The Christian upbringing of children is of special importance. There are numerous sects out there: Baptists, Pentecostals, Evangelists, Jehovah’s Witnesses, also representatives of Oriental religions like Buddhists, Hindus, Krishnas, and many others. They are trying to spread their false teachings, engaging in active propaganda efforts, and often achieving their goals, especially among children and young people lacking the necessary religious upbringing in their families and, thus, unaware of Orthodox Christianity and wavering in faith

Easter Epistle|Source
Modernity and media
1992

The rapid scientific and technological advancement in the 20th century has filled human beings with pride and instilled within them an illusion that they on their own can secure a happy life for themselves. Obedience to God and Church is now considered an “immature” stage in human history, but their false “maturity” has proved detrimental. Relying only on itself, mankind has decoupled from God to find itself in the snares of evil, as clearly evidenced by the moral decay and degeneration of modern-day human beings.

Christmas Epistle|Source
Education
1992

We fail to see the line between knowledge and education and to understand that education is far broader than knowledge. That is the reason why not all knowledgeable people qualify as educated. Above all else, education and intellect stand for high morality, faith, love, and spirituality.

Easter Epistle|Source
National values
1992

The Georgian people have a penchant for imitation, which is good as long as you are learning something beneficial, or if you are able to tell right from wrong. But what makes it dangerous is that we often lose our reason and blindly accept somebody else’s way of life or thinking.

Easter Epistle|Source
Foreign Policy
1992

At this point, it is imperative to develop the right attitude toward other states. Today’s world is engaged in joint processes. Economically, politically, and intellectually advanced countries, willingly or unwillingly, infringe on other nations’ lives and keep them from dropping out of the global chain. And that poses a serious threat for the spiritual and cultural uniqueness of small nations, a problem we too are facing. The moral and ethical threats posed by Western countries for Georgia are far greater than the political ones. I personally find their indifference toward national and religious issues equally alarming

Easter Epistle|Source
Alternative religions and denominations
1992

Thanks to the Tsarist policy of dividing, the Armenians in the 19th century were exempt from taxes. Many Georgians, unable to reject the temptation, accepted the Gregorian faith for economic gain. Today, they are as good as lost for Georgia. And that is one side of the coin

Easter Epistle|Source
Territory
1993

Georgia is presently engulfed in war, engaged in a war imposed by an external enemy, in a series of artificially instigated conflicts. We are protecting not just the integrity of our borders, but also the faith, culture, history, traditions of our people and other ethnicities living in our country.

Christmas Epistle|Source
National values
1993

We must work toward spiritual advancement, so that we may be duly prepared for the “alien prosperity” of Western countries, lest we lose the grace and uniqueness we have received from our ancestors and preserved to this day.

Christmas Epistle|Source
Economics
1993

The surviving form of materialism is gradually taking a back seat to its other forms: technocracy and economy. Society’s efforts toward economic progress are not dangerous as long as people’s spiritual and intellectual capacities for the true faith, participation in church life, morality, science, and the arts develop with it.

Christmas Epistle|Source
Science
1993

We have no right to blame science as the source of every disaster caused by modern civilization. The problem is that human beings were spiritually unprepared for scientific discoveries. The process of individual spiritual development fell far behind technological progress; and since one does not define the other, the balance was undermined, and that, in turn, put us facing threats and numerous unsolved problems.

Christmas Epistle|Source
Domestic policy
1993

As for caring for the country’s independence, without people’s spiritual advancement, it will lead us to negative consequences, because the nation will fall prey to its ignorance and immorality. Political freedom must be sought by a society free from grievous sin, and that is God’s law. Thus, fighting for the country’s independence requires inner perfection and inner freedom from each of us.

Christmas Epistle|Source
Territory
1993

In addition, we see scores of young people selflessly sacrificing their lives to protecting Georgian soil in Abkhazia, a demonstration of the nation’s spiritual potential. We have not fought for Georgia in 200 years. But this war reminds us that the homeland does not always give, but sometimes requires sacrifice as well.

Easter Epistle|Source
National values
1993

We absolutely must take in the experience and achievements of others, but we must do so relying on our roots. It is only in this case that it will be beneficial for our people and reckoned with and appreciated by other nations. This is how world-renowned Georgian culture was created, and we must keep it alive.

Easter Epistle|Source
Foreign Policy
1993

We must also think about Georgia’s tomorrow. Much depends on our ties to neighboring countries and the outside world. Our relations must be rapport-based, something requiring top-notch diplomacy and spirituality. We must also bear in mind that winning disputes often costs us friends, the reason why we must strike a balance in interactions with other nations.

Easter Epistle|Source
Modernity and media
1993

The screening of immoral and violent movies must be banned. There is enough negativity accumulated in society as is, so these films further fuel these negative emotions and create tensions between people.

Easter Epistle|Source
Domestic policy
1993

We thought that, after breaking up with the empire, we would be welcomed with arms wide open. What we found in reality was far worse than what we have today

Easter Epistle|Source
Education
1994

We must pay special attention to our elementary and middle schools, and colleges, as their curricula require drastic changes. Schools and colleges are absolutely neglectful of the ethical upbringing of youth. [...] Ideally, elementary and middle schools should deliver courses in spiritual and moral culture […] It would be advisable for all schools of higher education to offer a moral philosophy course. [...] We must hurry up and establish a higher school of diplomacy in our country. Georgia, thanks to its past and present, has excellent capabilities and experience in this area

Christmas Epistle|Source
Economics
1994

Economic problems have given us much food for thought. We must not get used to humanitarian aid provided by someone else. Instead, we must find a way out of this difficult situation on our own.

Christmas Epistle|Source
Science
1994

The 20th century—which produced two world wars and numerous civil conflicts, and which saw the emergence of a previously unprecedented totalitarian regime—will be remembered in history not only as an era of sociopolitical and scientific-technological achievements, but also—and even more so—as a century of horrible shifts, inhumanity, aggression, indifference, apathy, envy, and evil.

Christmas Epistle|Source
Alternative religions and denominations
1994

Representatives of numerous foreign religions and Protestant sects (Jehovah’s Witnesses, Baptists, Roman Catholics, Krishnas, Pentecostals, so-called Salvation Army, and others)—hiding behind democratic slogans—are taking advantage of Georgia’s dire political and economic situation in an attempt to perpetuate religious expansion.

Christmas Epistle|Source
National values
1994

We often boast of our past, and live in the past, but contentment only because of our ancestors’ merits is unacceptable. We must do everything today, and each of us must work in the right place and know that we are all working toward one big common goal. That we do not live that way has made us only think and dream of our country’s independence for two centuries, and when the time was ripe, we happened to be unprepared. We encountered insurmountable obstacles and problems of our own making, and that happened because of the poor morality and spirituality among us. If we lived by God’s laws, we would have avoided so much trouble.

Easter Epistle|Source
Economics
1994

Today, our life is self-contented, driven by inertia. We are constantly expecting someone else to help us, some from Western countries, others from the ruble zone…. But unless we learn to take care of ourselves, nothing can help us. Every country, including those with strong economies, has problems of its own, and no one gives alms unconditionally and aimlessly. We must learn how to work, work hard and selflessly, similar to the citizens of the countries we adore. […] Take care of the land: This land will give you food and keep you warm. Union with nature makes the human body and soul healthier. Everything must be done to change our everyday lives, improve morality, launch operations in our plants and factories, and help our farms flourish again

Easter Epistle|Source
Territory
1995

Everyone realizes how hard it is to make a final decision on land use, especially the adoption of the Law on Land Privatization.

Christmas Epistle|Source
National values
1995

High culture and developed technology are not enough to make people happy—there are values created and nourished in one nation or another for centuries, and losing them is nothing short of a crime. These values in our country include the Orthodox Christian faith handed down to us by the Apostles, also music that captivates all, our mysterious and glorious language and script, our amazing arts, iconography, architecture, and our wonderful customs. No Eastern or Western traditions come close to them! Unfortunately, we do not fully realize the magnitude of the wealth we possess.

Christmas Epistle|Source
Economics
1995

Economists and other professional specialists must develop and supply concrete recommendations to the population, to help those unaccustomed to working the land in taking the right direction. [...] I believe that, when it comes to this issue, we must share the experience of countries that have been through something similar. If we decide to rely on their advice, we must first declare a 10-15-year transitional period of temporary land ownership. Throughout this transitional period, the land must be allocated—without the right to sell—to the populations of villages and cities. Georgian regions rich in land parcels must set aside and hand to cities areas for temporary use. And parcels must be large enough to provide a household with agricultural goods for at least one year. In addition, owners of such lands must have a right to assemble and join forces to work the land.

Christmas Epistle|Source
Foreign Policy
1995

There is a lot of good about Europe, of course, but this good is alien to us and hard to accept. Spiritually, the East is equally alien to us. Our sorrow and joy do not fit in its way of thinking, though its culture and ancient philosophy are certainly attractive.

Christmas Epistle|Source
Domestic policy
1995

I would like to address specifically those who, driven by a desire to find an easy way out, are leaving Georgia to move abroad. You are making a grievous mistake, because your fate there will be no better. Despite everything, you will be less protected in a foreign environment, because you have loved ones, relatives, and friends at home who will stand by you in times of trouble. But who will support you there? A time will surely come for you to come back, and you will be asked, where were you when the homeland was in need? One can travel abroad for education or on a business trip, but absolutely not to avoid the difficulties here—it is degrading for a citizen.

Christmas Epistle|Source
National values
1995

The Church and intelligentsia assumed the lion’s share of the millennia-old burden, because they are the ones defining the nation’s spiritual and intellectual potential, the reason why their enslavement or annihilation has been greatly desired. [The intelligentsia] understands that, without the Orthodox Christian faith, the foundation of our culture deteriorates, our traditions and our national image are lost. That is why it is growing increasingly active in joining church life and its scientific-educational and charity works, and other activities.

Easter Epistle|Source
Science
1995

Reviving Georgia’s cultural, intellectual, and even material potential must start with our spiritual advancement. The spirituality of science and its representatives is the source of our country’s rejuvenation.

Easter Epistle|Source
Territory
1996

To me personally, Abkhazia is more than precious. For over eleven years, I served as the first hierarch of this diocese, and I remember well the warmth, mutual respect, and friendship that reigned among Georgians, Abkhazians, and representatives of other ethnicities. No enemy force can destroy this love, because this animosity is man-made, but these relations are naturally grown.

Christmas Epistle|Source
Economics
1996

It is good that our younger people have been serious about delving into economics, though there will be mistakes as well, most likely. When talking about some new type of farming, we must be aware of not only methods and opportunities of production, but also of the limits of consumption. We must see life the way it is in reality, and we must learn its laws to avoid making unfeasible plans.

Christmas Epistle|Source
Science
1996

Under the influence of overwhelming information and rapidly changing events in an era of scientific and technological revolution, human beings seem to have lost their usual place, the appreciation of their own dignity as images of God and key bearers of His grace and truth on earth

Christmas Epistle|Source
Territory
1996

School programs must include an ethics course, to help us teach our children how to maintain order, be honest, keep personal hygiene, and divide workload prudently.

Easter Epistle|Source
Modernity and media
1996

Television seems to be devouring almost all our time, because we are often watching useless programs. Parents must control and define their children’s television time. Unfortunately, TV shows not only fail to raise our children, but also tend to maim them spiritually. We talk too much, but hardly ever listen to others, and we actually do something even less.

Easter Epistle|Source
National values
1997

It is the parents’ job to instill and nourish patriotism, a sense of spiritual strength and valor, in children. All this must also be taught in school. Books, plays, and films must be dedicated to this topic.

Christmas Epistle|Source
Education
1997

Schools, colleges, scientific work… expand and deepen one’s worldviews, generating new ideas, and discovering new depths. […] When talking about reorganizing educational programs, we absolutely must consider handwork/handcraft classes to raise a person’s acceptance of physical work as an essential natural habit. Unfortunately, nothing is being done today in this direction by families, schools, and universities.

Easter Epistle|Source
Economics
1997

Today, when there is much talk about the capitalist way of life, and ways to accumulate capital, we also encounter cases of people becoming so engrossed in everyday activities that they forget about eternal values, their immortal souls, and the fact that they are but sojourners on this life. Accumulating wealth and worrying about it will do them no good in life everlasting; the reason why it is so necessary to ensure the harmonious development of human beings, to care for their spiritual and physical perfection.

Easter Epistle|Source
Modernity and media
1997

Expanding one’s knowledge should never stop. But it must be achieved primarily through reading, self-analysis, and dialogue, not through TV shows that offer nothing but superficial information. […] Rapidly changing daily news and information received from television and other mass media, and the weak impressions they make, make young people less committed to hard work and diligence.

Easter Epistle|Source
National values
1998

It is necessary for Georgia, as an ancient Christian state, to be guided by Christian ethics and build a national state grounded in our traditions and the Orthodox Christian faith.

Christmas Epistle|Source
Alternative religions and denominations
1998

It is time for all to understand the gravity of the threat posed by the onslaught of foreign religions and totalitarian cults for our country. The experience of the past few years has clearly demonstrated that they reject and insult our national feelings, our past, our history, and what we hold sacred, and they lead many astray from the path of truth. Yes, everyone has the right of free choice, but the state is obligated to protect its citizens from spiritual aggression, especially since the operations of cults are growing increasingly anti-national and anti-state in nature.

Christmas Epistle|Source
Education
1998

I believe that joint, coordinated efforts from three forces: family, school, and the Church can be the most effective. An authoritative commission must be put together, and the duties and obligations of each member must be clearly defined. Failure to coordinate educational programs and relevant action among the three—family, school, and the Church—will prove detrimental. The Ministry of Education must develop a program for the spiritual, physical, and intellectual development of our future generations. School graduates must be prepared for both family life and social problems they may encounter. The same is true of the students of vocational schools and schools of higher education. Unfortunately, we seem unable to break free from old stereotypes and standards. And developing educational programs is unacceptable without anthropology, logics, psychology, and social philosophy in mind.

Easter Epistle|Source
National values
1998

We must remember not to be carried away by Western or Eastern—or even Northern or Southern—culture. Instead, we must remain true to our traditions and our spiritual and material values. Quoting the great Ilia, “We must create our present.” In addition, we must keep perfect relations with all, accept from them that which is acceptable by us, and give out generously what they need and what we can give

Easter Epistle|Source
Gender roles
1998

How beautiful is a woman exhibiting the fear of God, gentleness, virtue, integrity, diligence, tenderness, care, and prudence! Such one does good to others in abundance and has a positive impact on those around her. [...] A man, who is a leader by nature, aspires to be the head of his family. The masculine force is strong and resolute. A man must feel exceptional responsibility to God, his homeland, and his family.

Easter Epistle|Source
Economics
1998

Statistically, economically advanced and civilized countries have more mentally ill patients and perverts compared to other countries. They also lead in suicide statistics among youth, because people living in these societies, being limited to material existence, seek happiness where it can never be found.

Easter Epistle|Source
Education
1999

This year marked the festivities celebrating the 10th anniversary of the Tbilisi Theological Seminary, a perfect example of high spirituality and academic excellence.

Christmas Epistle|Source
Economics
1999

To change our living conditions for the better, the authorities must encourage the formation of a middle class, a goal achieved through the development of SMEs. It is clear to all that today the country consists of two main parts: those extremely needy and the rich, with the chasm between the two growing deeper by the minute. The middle class is the state’s pillar, the reason why developing entrepreneurship is a demand of the times and a promise of our survival. [...] The biggest mistake characteristic of our entrepreneurs lies in making grandiose plans and biting off more than they can chew in an attempt to become rich fast. In reality, achieving success is possible by starting small, gradually accumulating experience, and expanding one’s business.

Christmas Epistle|Source
Science
1999

When analyzing the 20th century, what strikes one more than anything is the growing pride and vainglory among human beings. Amazing scientific and technological discoveries have filled their minds with enormous pride. The proportions of their vainglory have made them reject everything impossible for their minds to attain. Their minds are enslaved to longing for a rationalized, earthly faith.

Christmas Epistle|Source
Modernity and media
1999

Unfortunately, television, press, and movies—those that propagate eroticism, murder, and violence—tear to the ground the remaining ethical threshold of society. And all this is passed off as freedom and democracy. But this is not democracy. It is an onslaught of the basest passions. It is a pseudo-culture pushed on our youth.

Christmas Epistle|Source
National values
1999

We have survived thanks to Georgia being a country with ancient and unique Christian culture and traditions, and the same has preserved our individualism and uniqueness. These very traditions we must now follow.

Easter Epistle|Source
Foreign Policy
1999

Georgia, among others, is a country along the Great Silk Road, which is why we have been influenced since time immemorial by the West and the East and the North and the South, alike.

Easter Epistle|Source
Modernity and media
1999

Mass information media, computers (the Internet)… create fertile ground for dialogue between world cultures and civilizations. Although good in general, all this also has many negative sides, the reason why representatives of the government, our intelligentsia, our people, and our Church must give serious thought about what can be accepted and what should be rejected.

Easter Epistle|Source
National values
2000

Christian patriotism and a sense of national belonging is totally different from chauvinism and narrow-minded nationalism, which are underpinned by national pride—considered a deadly sin in the Christian mentality.

Christmas Epistle|Source
Science
2000

The spiritual advancement of our society is far behind technological progress. And that, in turn, has created a deep chasm between these two areas of social life—leading mankind to a near disaster—and it is only through the great mercy of God that we celebrate the Nativity and New Year’s Eve in peace.

Christmas Epistle|Source
Alternative religions and denominations
2000

Once freed from atheistic pressure, people are ready to open their hearts to the Lord, but since they’re unable to tell where the truth lies, they easily fall under the influence of false teachers and doom their souls to eternal death instead of saving them.

Christmas Epistle|Source
National values
2000

Presently, Georgia focuses on the so-called rule of law. Consequently, the laws adopted by the state define not only the country’s economic and social processes, but also the people’s spiritual condition. One of the main strong points of democracy is that such countries are extra cautious in cherishing the dignity and uniqueness of others, and they put in place conditions beneficial for the full realization of the local population’s abilities. In our country, however, some act in the name of democracy to oppose what defines the nation’s individuality and uniqueness.[...] We have a lot to learn from Europe, but I repeat that we cannot lose that which is traditional and truly valuable, something that is for them to look up to and appreciate at the same time.

Easter Epistle|Source
Economics
2000

It is economic progress as an end in itself that has brought about antihuman fruit, now posing a threat of self-destruction for modern society walking on this path.

Easter Epistle|Source
Alternative religions and denominations
2000

We have underlined repeatedly the devastating effect of cults and sects, emphasizing that unless the state takes timely and decisive steps, tomorrow may be too late. So far, there is no response in sight. For example, today our television and press have started talking about and expressing concerns over the so-called Jehovah’s Witnesses. Because there have already been tens of deaths among the cult’s followers refusing blood transfusions.

Easter Epistle|Source
Domestic policy
2000

The authorities must keep in mind that the laws applicable in the country cannot contradict the laws ordained by God. Otherwise, a state, however developed economically, will surely wind up facing serious spiritual problems, as this way of life is a result of a mind focusing on self-absolutization and the legitimization of everything, one that regards nothing as holy and destroys itself completely without even realizing it.

Easter Epistle|Source
Gender roles
2001

The fact that a father is recognized as the family’s head and supreme authority obligates him to watch his every step, to keep his position in balance, and his reputation intact in the eyes of his children and wife. At the same time, this superiority obligates him to take special care of his wife and children and, if need be, sacrifice his life to protect them. As for proper marital relations, here the spouses are equal. The wife, not the husband, is the owner of his body. Similarly, the husband, not the wife, owns her body. The husband has no right to separate from his wife without her consent, and vice versa.

Christmas Epistle|Source
Modernity and media
2001

Under the influence of some movies and newspapers/magazines, the sanctity of family life is in ruin. But perverse relations affect the mind, undermine true love, and invariably cause complications between husband and wife.

Christmas Epistle|Source
Education
2001

It is beyond one’s comprehension how parents can send their children abroad, thousands of kilometers away, into a totally unfamiliar environment (even if it is for educational purposes) while what they need most is attention, assistance, and care. In what hands do these young people end up? In what circles will they mingle? And what tests does life have in store for them? Nobody knows

Easter Epistle|Source
National values
2001

If individuals, people, or a state does not have the right religious and national ideology, liberalism will surely work for the benefit of the enemy to raze the country to the ground from the inside. It will encourage the public to embrace pseudo-democracy and false freedom, depreciating national values, and uprooting the form and content on state life. […] Unfortunately, we have yet to come up with such ideology, which is why we fall into opposite extremes to encounter ten times the usual problems. Is it not time for us to establish a general public assembly bringing together healthy, reasonable recommendations from every social stratum, and to set the stage for the authorities to define ideological policy?

Easter Epistle|Source
Domestic policy
2001

Special responsibility for the country’s ongoing processes must be assumed by the intelligentsia and younger people, who must stand guard over our spiritual and national values.

Easter Epistle|Source
National values
2002

The depreciation of values is one of the biggest problems today. People, especially young ones, are assured that patriotism, respect for the elders, an honest life (protection of one’s language and faith), and other traditions characteristic of our nations are outdated. In reality, however, how can eternal values become outdated?

Christmas Epistle|Source
Modernity and media
2002

The pseudo-culture embraced by our youth today distances them from genuine culture and arts. There is an unmistakable clash between this dull, tasteless culture and the true culture created by our people over the centuries to stand the test of time. Unfortunately, both the press and television often propagate foreign art of questionable value. I hope that the Georgian nation, with God’s grace, will easily tell the genuine from the fake, to make the right decision, and protect its inner self from degeneration.

Christmas Epistle|Source
National values
2002

Today, we see a very exciting and yet challenging process of our people’s religious awakening and the revival of national values. Can anyone so much as imagine Georgia and the Georgian people without our faith and relations, our traditions, and family life?

Easter Epistle|Source
Gender roles
2002

For centuries, Georgian mothers have been raising their children to be heroes by nourishing the spirit of self-sacrifice among them. And it is thanks to Georgian women that our ancestors were adamant in faith and selfless in love. Without this attitude, our country and people would have long sunk into oblivion.

Easter Epistle|Source
Economics
2002

One of the main characteristics of our lives is the replacement of a centralized, preplanned economy with free marker relations. Unfortunately, people accustomed to a totalitarian regime are having a hard time adopting to the demands of the times and, confused and at a loss, succumb to despair.

Easter Epistle|Source
Modernity and media
2002

It is unfortunate that television and other mass media outlets are unabashed enough to make the public accept disturbing scenes of society’s spiritual decline, violence, and all forms of murder as something ordinary, this way taking down the barriers set up for us by God. Some call it breaking free from psychological complexes, which, simply put, is nothing but foolishness. Filth offered in this manner infiltrates the human mind, especially among adolescents and young people, to be embraced and repeated by them later, depending on the circumstances.

Easter Epistle|Source
Education
2003

Firstly, pornographic production must be made illegal, and films about robberies and violence must be banned. Also, we should not allow sexual education as a separate subject taught in school. Children can be provided with the relevant knowledge in anatomy and general biology classes, with ethical norms observed.

Christmas Epistle|Source
Science
2003

Unfortunately, alongside scientific and technological development, the individuality of a human being is being obliterated, life is depreciating, and some machines are now nearly outside human control, threatening to turn against human beings. In parallel, mankind is setting up a unified, controlled technological system, and this system needs persons filled with genuine faith, love, perseverance, willpower, and responsibility, something everyone seems to overlook. We believe that the Orthodox Christian Church should be in close contact with scientists, and the vitally important issues—one would say matters of life and death—that concern the world today should not remain outside the scope of the Church’s attention.

Christmas Epistle|Source
Modernity and media
2003

Given the ongoing process of global computerization, the Internet and other media often spread negative, depressing news, cultivating a fear of tomorrow, undermining centuries-old spiritual foundations of life, and awakening base instincts. And the results are clear: Everything is allowed for a modern person who does not have the true faith, including fornication, abortion, murder, violence, and other demonstrations of spiritual degradation. It is very sad that the introduction of this mentality is somewhat encouraged by television shows and newspapers/magazines. There is a serious attempt to turn immoral behavior into a norm in the human relations in our country.

Christmas Epistle|Source
National values
2003

“Like the Lord, there is but one homeland in this world.” I have been to many countries around the globe, but nowhere else is the appreciation of one’s homeland as strong as here. This feeling must be especially cherished by our fellow compatriots abroad who must do everything to come back home, because a person with severed roots loses their sense of national identity.

Easter Epistle|Source
Foreign Policy
2003

Needless to say, each and every one of us, our future generations, and our country in general have a long way to go. Our geopolitical location is a major factor for Georgia, a country crisscrossed by routes connecting the North and the South, the East and the West, Europe and Asia. The Great Silk Road, once passing through here, is about to revive. Many bigger or smaller nations have taken an interest in our country, explaining why have always been facing a choice, seeking ways for survival and development. Our culture represents our own individual perception of European and Asian cultural heritages, and not a mechanical repetition of someone else’s making. This is why it is so precious. And this is why we have made an honorable contribution to the cultural treasury of the world. Diversity has become our inherent characteristic, and moderation is a mandatory attribute of our existence—and all through divine providence.

Easter Epistle|Source
Domestic policy
2003

In relation to the elections, I would like to remind both political figures and clerics once again that the Church is the only force to unite the nation. Consequently, it is absolutely unacceptable to use it to serve narrow partisan interests. Clerics, on orders by the Holy Synod, are prohibited from direct participation in the elections or openly declaring support for political blocks, parties, or individuals. That, of course, does not exclude us from involvement in major issues of national and state importance, such as territorial integrity, independence, revival of the national economy, social issues, and others.

Easter Epistle|Source
Foreign Policy
2004

The totalitarian regime, albeit one allowed by the will of God, was absolutely unjustifiable. But equally unjustifiable would be extreme liberalism. We have always made a big mistake by mechanically copying the lifestyle of one country or another. It is only natural that Georgia, given its location on the crossroads of the East and the West, the North and the South, is influenced by them, but we will prove our true honor only if we keep the True Faith and our national values, while also embracing the experience of others, and using all this to respond to the demands of the times.

Christmas Epistle|Source
Science
2004

Emboldened by scientific and technical achievements, people have forgotten God and have come to believe that their abilities are limitless. An extreme form of pride has emerged, both self-assuredly and vaingloriously, to set the stage for the separation of the mentality from faith and spiritual values. Unfortunately, only scientific and technological progress has been used lately to measure the quality of culture in one country or another. And people’s selfish utilitarian opportunities have been growing uncontrollably at the expense of declining spirituality and morality. Of course, technological progress is a good thing in itself, but what makes it bad is that the public has refused to keep spiritual values and thus failed to maintain the balance between the two.

Christmas Epistle|Source
Territory
2004

Throughout centuries, external forces have been trying to divide our country and plant the seed of discord between various regions. Even today, some have tried to present the political tension between Tbilisi and Adjara as a conflict between Georgians and Adjarians. Our people, including the population of Adjara, duly countered this provocation, saying that we are one nation, one state, and we have one culture and one history. And Abkhazia and Samachablo are also our integral parts.

Easter Epistle|Source
Education
2004

As of late, the project for children’s sexual education has caused quite a stir in the population. What was known only behind the scenes is very unlikely to be ever implemented because of the sharp negative stance of society. Presently, it is impossible to predict how things will unfold, but we must say nonetheless that the Ministry of Education cannot be the sole bearer of responsibility for educational programs. Educational reform requires special attention from the country’s president and government. And since we are talking about the nation’s future here, this issue must be discussed as part of broad public debates. If we want to raise a healthy, strong generation loyal to their homeland, we must invest a lot of time in teaching Georgian literature and history, in teaching the culture of labor, the development of thought, patriotism and selfless service to one’s homeland, and introducing Georgian and foreign literary works celebrating valor.

Easter Epistle|Source
Foreign Policy
2004

If globalization is perceived only as the dominion of the strongest, it will never bring about stability. On the contrary, the world will be plagued by tensions. To prevent that, the possible negative effects of globalization must be eliminated: The policy of domination must be replaced with a policy of mutual trust, cooperation, and negotiations, and conflict or defense tactics must be transformed into a fair, mutually beneficial, and constructive dialogue. The country must be ready for these processes. The best to that end, in my opinion, is to develop joint projects for our and foreign entrepreneurs and scientists (in which national interests will be protected), cooperation between representatives of culture, and dialogue between civilizations. A policy must be developed that will not pose a threat for our or any other nation’s security.

Easter Epistle|Source
Modernity and media
2004

The distance between human beings and morality has grown so big that so-called freedom has taken root, implying that anything goes. […] In the name of this unlimited “freedom”, we are now, unashamedly, offering the legalization of perversions, the corruption of children as early as preschool age, and indecent film products. One cannot help being scandalized by the propaganda of violence, robbery, and murder on television shows, also by the disrespect for universal, national, ethical, and spiritual values—all of which is indicative of our poor cultural level and provincialism. This cannot be called freedom. Because it is slavery to sin and vice, a road to self-destruction and spiritual death.

Easter Epistle|Source
National values
2005

Non-churchgoers have a different attitude toward freedom. Some people, alienated from God, believe that freedom stands for rights granted by authorities or one ideology or another […] Others think that freedom is the right to do anything, when nothing is prohibited. According to them, the word freedom as a notion incorporates foul language, slander, and propagation of an immoral way of life. In their world, free love, besides casual relations, also means promiscuous and perverse sexual relations, while the freedom of religion in their book stands for mentioning any totalitarian, pseudo-religious groups in the same breath as traditional religions. The fruits of this kind of freedom include personal degradation, despondency, suicide, AIDS, addiction, and other grievous forms.

Christmas Epistle|Source
Alternative religions and denominations
2005

Our Orthodox Christian Church and other confessions operating in Georgia enjoy peaceful coexistence, as evidenced among other ways by the joint statements of 2002. We support their claims on legal status, and we hope that it will become a reality soon.

Christmas Epistle|Source
Domestic policy
2005

The Georgian Church is one of the key guarantors of the country’s independence, national self-awareness, and unity, as demonstrated, for example, by the initiation of reconciliation with Abkhazians and Ossetians. This process was launched recently, December 25, and we hope that, despite problems, it will carry on irreversibly.

Christmas Epistle|Source
National values
2005

State-oriented thinking is, above all else, characterized by a sense of honor, freedom, and responsibility. It is impossible for society not to want to be free, choosing instead to depend on others. It is impossible for society not to feel responsible to ancestors and future generations—otherwise, it cannot create anything of value. It is impossible for a nation devoid of a sense of dignity to build a full-fledged state.

Easter Epistle|Source
Economics
2005

We must complete the following chain: I, you, we for one another and for Georgia. The initial steps in this direction must be taken in the army and the system of education. It is also necessary to employ the population, to develop SMEs, revive agriculture, supply our market with local products, and give priority to local production.

Easter Epistle|Source
Foreign Policy
2005

Life under the political and cultural influence of a foreign state has taken away these three key pillars [dignity, freedom, and responsibility] from our society. Post-imperial societies often suffer from a complex of inferiority pushing them to look for a new, “kind” master, instead of striving for independence. Conventionally, it may be called provincialism, when this inferiority complex pushes one to admit, mimic, and adore someone else’s unconditional primacy in slavish submission at the expense of one’s own values.

Easter Epistle|Source
Science
2005

Religion does not preclude science. On the contrary, it uses scientific achievements and evidence, and also strives for new discoveries (numerous discoveries in the 19th-20th centuries are tied to the names of believing scientists and cleric researchers). It understands that given theories or hypotheses may become unacceptable or replaced by better ones tomorrow. And that happens because the human mind and its capabilities are limited, a far cry from perfect.

Easter Epistle|Source
Territory
2006

Among other things, Georgian society stood up against the process of Abkhazian muhajir (resettlement), because Abkhazians have long been and remain an integral part of our culture and state. The same is true of Ossetians, who have lived peacefully in Georgia for centuries. Unfortunately, the latest generations of Abkhazians and Ossetians have been nourished by imperialistic historiography that has formed among them an unfriendly attitude toward Georgians. And that is an ideological time bomb, which has brought us where we are today, making us break up our brotherhood and unity. But, thanks to the blood, and the neighborly and friendly relations between us, the enemy has failed to succeed.

Christmas Epistle|Source
Foreign Policy
2006

We cannot simply imitate the lifestyle of one developed country or another believing this lifestyle to be a mere demonstration of its political and economic progress, because in reality the lifestyle of a country is largely a result of its culture, religion, and traditions. Different developed countries—such as Japan, Israel, South Korea, and Norway, for example—adhere to different lifestyles. We believe that we can learn a lot from the example of the State of Israel, a country that has achieved enormous political and economic progress in such a short time, a state building on both traditions and democratic values.

Christmas Epistle|Source
Modernity and media
2006

Lately, frequent attempts have been made to promote a nontraditional way of life through ideologically suffused television shows. […] Freedom of speech and democracy do not mean the right to do anything. I have been to many countries, and I know that in developed countries, official and leading television stations hardly ever show films or programs containing violence, addiction to drugs, and perversions. On the other hand, there is cable TV where this type of entertainment is primarily offered, though their users belong to lower social and cultural strata, and they also have to pay for these services.

Christmas Epistle|Source
Alternative religions and denominations
2006

Forces that rise up against traditional values are in opposition to the Church in that they are trying to vilify the Church both in the country and beyond as one violating the rights of other confessions, citing the Constitutional Agreement as one of their key arguments. Under the pretext of religious freedom, they demand equality for all, while no such model is found in any traditional state.

Christmas Epistle|Source
National values
2006

The Georgian people have been granted a special gift of love, which is probably why we have been honored with the world’s greatest holy relic, the Seamless Robe of Christ, a symbol of the indivisibility of the Church of Christ Whose teaching our nation has kept untarnished for twenty centuries. […] And these three treasures [homeland, language, and faith] we must cherish like the apple of our eyes, so that we may preserve our nation’s integrity and uniqueness.

Easter Epistle|Source
Economics
2006

Internal experts suggest that, in the next decade, drinking water will become one of the most vital resources for mankind. Georgia is one of the major owners of this resource, and the country’s further economic development is likely to be tied to water, namely to our ability to take up a place in the world’s water market. Today, however, the development of agriculture and SMEs should be prioritized. New jobs must be created to employ people and enable them to pull through their current dire social conditions.

Easter Epistle|Source
Foreign Policy
2006

It is a historical fact that every great empire tried to carry out a process similar to globalization, but today this process is universal. Considering our past experience, we should not fear integration, because we know that—despite Georgian culture being influenced by numerous formidable empires for centuries—we, by the will of God and through the efforts of our ancestors, have succeeded in preserving our uniqueness.

Easter Epistle|Source
Science
2006

The country cannot afford losing its scientific achievements. […] Georgia boasts numerous researchers recognized throughout the world. In general, science plays a decisive role in the development of any country. And it takes investing a lot of money and time to put it in place. It would be a devastating mistake for the country to fail to use its current scientific potential.

Easter Epistle|Source
Modernity and media
2006

Mankind has come up with a new form of warfare, information warfare. Most of the confrontation between countries and political forces proceeds in this direction. It is poised to become decisive in the future. […] All of society, especially the Georgian diaspora, must do everything to provide the world with objective information on our history, culture, and ongoing processes. We believe it advisable to build multilingual websites, publish brochures and books, hold forums and conferences both in Georgia and abroad, with our compatriots presently living abroad to play a major role in this process. We will be delighted if they contact us, along with the authorities, so that we may take coordinated steps.

Easter Epistle|Source
Territory
2007

Territorial integrity is our country’s long-standing priority, and it remains the main concern of our government and each and every one of us. At this point, it is equally important to conduct international affairs and take an honorable place in the international community. Still, Georgia’s unity remains the ultimate issue of concern, and there is no value able to replace it.

Christmas Epistle|Source
Education
2007

Alongside science, education also plays a decisive role in the country’s development, as it is in the process of learning that future generations mature into personalities. This is why all types of schools should not only equip adolescents with knowledge, but also raise them and shape them into the country’s honorable citizens. And the roles of family and the Church are enormous in this cause. A school, as an institution contracted by the people, must conduct its work in line with public interests, and since society is in fact a unity of families and the Church—with its members making up a majority of our population—the system of education must be consistent with the values of the Church and family; those wishing to raise their children in a different environment can do so in private schools. This will guarantee that we protect future generations from such horrible disease as drug addiction and many other vices.

Christmas Epistle|Source
National values
2007

You must remember that the Georgian idea rests on two main pillars: spiritual values (which stand for the Orthodox Christian faith and its customs and traditions) and the rich repository of the country’s national/cultural values.

Christmas Epistle|Source
Economics
2007

Georgia owns a precious natural resource in the form of freshwater, with its importance and value promising to increase further in the nearest future; the reason why we believe that, in the process of universal privatization, this resource and its utilization should remain under the purview of the state sector, to be used for the purpose of the country’s economic development. It is common knowledge that the global demand on environmentally clean products has skyrocketed, and that the agricultures of countries focusing on genetic modification and engineering to make a big profit no longer meet high standards. We must offer environmentally clean products to the international market, to bring a considerable profit to our people and revive the country’s rural areas.

Christmas Epistle|Source
Science
2007

Some small nations—such as South Korea, Israel, Finland, and others—have developed advanced technologies to find a place in the sun. Our country too has enough intellectual resources to have a say in this branch of economy. Georgian fundamental scientific schools were recognized both in the former Soviet Union and abroad. Thus, our scientific potential can be used in practice with adequate conditions in place.

Christmas Epistle|Source
Modernity and media
2007

In light of the aforementioned, our people are facing a new problem, a challenge posed by the times. With no concrete force visible behind this process, the mind of our society, especially of future generations, is being influenced through false freedom and media outlets (series, low-quality television products), to plant in it a seed of antinational, non-Christian worldviews, consequently to alter our ethnic psyche and deteriorate and degenerate the unified Georgian nation.

Christmas Epistle|Source
Education
2007

Teachers play a decisive role in upbringing, which is why random people cannot work in schools. Unfortunately, this factor is neglected in our country to the detriment of future generations, above all. Teachers must love children and treat them like their own kids. And they should also make sure that children love them and the subjects they teach. It is equally necessary to go beyond their subjects and prepare their students for real life.

Easter Epistle|Source
National values
2007

It was thanks to our chivalrous and tolerant character that Georgians always evoked respect even from enemies waging war against us, such as the Arab, Persian, Mongol, and Ottoman political communities…. The same virtues enabled Georgians in the 13th-14th centuries to be the only Christians to be permitted by Jerusalem’s Muslim rulers to enter the Holy City on horseback and with flying banners, also to be exempt from taxes and be put in charge of the lock and key of the Tomb of the Savior. This honor, instead of being claimed in war, was a result of Georgian diplomacy underpinned by ecclesiastical relations, among others.

Easter Epistle|Source
Foreign Policy
2007

In light of national interests, the Church continues to work toward the mission of so-called people’s diplomacy and to serve as an envoy of peace in complex situations encountered by Georgia in our modern world. And the foregoing was the reason behind the recent visit to Moscow. It is the reason behind our upcoming visit to the Arab States. Open and warmhearted interaction with religious leaders evokes analogous sentiments among the population, resulting in positive attitudes toward Georgia.

Easter Epistle|Source
Modernity and media
2007

In every civilized world, mass media outlets make sure that, through state and private channels (with the exception of specialized broadcasting), the public is provided with television products and films fostering moral and, generally, positive values, something that, unfortunately, suffers from inattention here. In addition, our television space is designated mostly for political coverage and news. But the public also wants to watch historical, scientific, educational, cultural, and youth programs. And that was our goal when we supported the establishment of the independent broadcaster Iveria, with its trial programs already airing under the aegis of the International Fund of the Catholicos-Patriarch. It must turn into a family TV channel acceptable by all generations and, ideally, meeting the interests of all strata.

Easter Epistle|Source
National values
2008

What is the homeland? And how do we perceive it? Our homeland is our gene, our language, our love for God and neighbor, our past, present, and future.

Christmas Epistle|Source
Foreign Policy
2008

Kuwait and Israel are good examples of how to remain true to one’s traditions and principles while being able to build a modern state. Alongside material and technical progress, these states are strong in protecting their identities and occupy honorable places in the international community. God willing, we will also be able to preserve our unique image and make sure that Georgia remains Georgia amid the ongoing global political, economic, and cultural processes.

Christmas Epistle|Source
Modernity and media
2008

Many good deeds are also linked to the name of the mass media, but it is also a fact that TV shows and periodicals often demonstrate and legalize sin and usher in the idea as though those were normal human traits. Lust and abominations are presented as something not only acceptable, but also exemplary. Immoral false role models are created, encouraged, and rewarded for their antinational and anti-Christian deeds.

Christmas Epistle|Source
Education
2008

Providing children with an adequate education is especially hard for large families. For them and my godchildren, we will try to solve this problem, at least partially, by opening free kindergartens, schools, various centers, and sports clubs. Naturally, for that to happen, we will need facilities furnished with relevant equipment. And since our economy cannot afford it, we will fail without solidarity. We hope that the authorities will consider the national importance of this issue and will allocate the necessary assistance.

Easter Epistle|Source
Economics
2008

Especially beneficial are activities related to nature. Relations grounded in love for land, plants, and animals ennoble and heal human beings, because God intended us to be the crown of Creation and placed on us responsibility over it. People are obligated to cherish and bless the land, crops, and livestock through daily labor… and special prayers exist to that end in the Church. I hope that the authorities […] will take active steps to develop our agriculture through the production of organic goods, something that may emerge as a powerful tool for the country’s economic development, because the global demand on environmentally clean products continues to grow.

Easter Epistle|Source
Science
2008

Today, one may say that a person has lost his function and purpose because of material and technological progress, on one hand, and the spiritual degradation of mankind, on the other. In fact, a person has been robbed of what matters most, his freedom. A human being, having fallen prey to his own inventions, is bound hand and foot, and even his personal life is controlled by others. Nothing of this kind would happen in other eras. Another outcome of scientific and technological progress is the emergence of plastic surgery, a branch allowing for curing from many diseases with nearly full rehabilitation after serious injuries, and that is commendable. However, this branch’s achievements also make it possible to change one’s sex, a human interference in divine providence and, thus, totally unacceptable. The same is true of genetic engineering. We have amazing breakthroughs in disease prevention and diagnostics, but manipulating genes and creating genetically modified products is a horrible trend.

Easter Epistle|Source
Modernity and media
2008

People can change situations that they do not accept, and there is plenty of evidence to that. One such example is the genre of so-called reality shows which, despite enormous advertising and financial support, eventually failed to gain recognition among the population. The same is true of the attempts of sexual minorities to hold a parade in Tbilisi. Equally unsuccessful in gaining a foothold here was the method of avoiding punishment by becoming an informant. Our society was clear in expressing its negative attitude toward this kind of lifestyle.

Easter Epistle|Source
Territory
2009

We want peace with everyone, but not at the expense of our territories. I also believe that, sooner or later, Abkhazians and Ossetians will realize that their survival passes through unity with Georgia, and this day is around the corner—and the faster our and their spiritual advancement, and that of our society in general, takes places, the sooner this day will come.

Christmas Epistle|Source
Economics
2009

To avoid a systemic crisis, the West has channeled its economic policy toward the relative empowerment of the state sector, which means transitioning from free market relations to more regulated market relations—naturally, every state will start looking for its own ideal mechanism of effective management. We must find a way out of this situation. According to experts specializing in this field, it is necessary to ensure the rapid development of agriculture and processing on the level of SMEs, based on the right system of management. [..] Large transnational companies are eager to expand markets for their surplus products using artificial methods of manufacturing (genetic engineering, pesticides/chemicals, plant growth stimulators, and others) and to impede local natural product manufacturing in other countries. Such companies are also trying to incorporate Georgia into their spheres of influence by turning us into a country dependent on their food product import.

Christmas Epistle|Source
Modernity and media
2009

The word passion is often used in a positive context in our society, and televisions and periodicals are cultivating an idea that formication, lies, passing judgement on others, vainglory, pride, and even homosexuality… are human features and there is nothing wrong with them. That is a lie!

Christmas Epistle|Source
Economics
2009

Our population’s vast majority, for objective or subjective reasons, lives below minimum wage, below the poverty threshold. And yet Georgia has enormous potential to revive the economy and, especially, SMEs. Suffice it to say—and we have mentioned it before—environmentally clean agricultural goods, or processed food products deriving from them, will bring considerable incomes to the country. All it will take is assistance from the state, in the form of subsidies or long-term credits. […] The state’s steps toward lowering taxes since 2009 deserves praise, but announcing a tax amnesty—exempting all legal entities or individuals in Georgia from sanctions and fines—would probably be even more productive.

Easter Epistle|Source
Foreign Policy
2009

The country’s welfare largely depends on our relations with neighboring states. We must deepen our ties with them, an endeavor underpinned by intercultural dialogue. Exchanging our spiritual, scientific, and material values will help solve many other issues between us. Generally, the state must develop, and its ideology must rely not on external geopolitical factors, but on national interests. And these interests must be prioritized by the government, political parties, NGOs, and the media alike—also by each and every citizen of our country. We must protect our unique individuality, lest we blindly turn into weapons serving somebody else’s goals. That is a guarantee of the existence and development of any country.

Easter Epistle|Source
Territory
2010

Disinformation is floating around about our past and present, claiming that Georgian lands were historically home to our neighboring peoples, consequently planting the seeds of animosity and confrontation between our peoples who have lived for so long in peace and mutual understanding. For example, Ossetians live in compact settlements throughout Georgia, and these territories are just as Georgian, such as the Tskhinvali Region, that is, so-called South Ossetia, and other autonomies that were created artificially under the communist regime. Notwithstanding what happened, I still believe that Georgians, Abkhazians, Ossetians, and other inhabitants of Georgia will remain brothers, and a blessed day will come when we will forgive one another our fratricidal sins and will build a monument to reconciliation together, one that will serve as a warning to future generations against letting something like this happen again.

Christmas Epistle|Source
Education
2010

I believe it necessary to introduce school subjects that primarily serve didactical purposes, and this subject must be taught just like any other, such as history, physics, literature, mathematics… to prepare future generations for real life. This subject should encompass the culture of relations within family and with relatives, interaction with friends and peers, younger and elder generations, also teaching rules of behavior in public areas and at the table, ways out of complicated situations and, of course, love for knowledge and work.

Christmas Epistle|Source
National values
2010

The homeland is more than its earthly, material form. Its uniqueness is largely defined by the size of the assembly of saints entreating God on its behalf. In this context, Georgia is nearly unmatched. Georgia will always have heroes with their hearts burning for the homeland.

Christmas Epistle|Source
Science
2010

As a result of mistakes in the implementation of educational reform, adolescents are now less eager to acquire knowledge and consider scientific endeavors not prestigious, because they see that the intelligentsia are not remunerated adequately (they cannot provide for their families even on a middle-class level). This situation must change. Without developing science, the country has no future, because scientists are one of the key drivers of the nation’s spirituality and education.

Christmas Epistle|Source
Modernity and media
2010

Fairly recently, foreign series were put to use to degenerate the people’s minds, and now our fellow citizens are pushed out there to demonstrate immorality. By inviting and embracing sin, people march headlong toward total debilitation. And everyone will be held responsible for that, especially those who push all this on a human being who was created in the image and likeness of God.

Christmas Epistle|Source
Alternative religions and denominations
2010

Georgians are naturally loving and tolerant. Tolerance is not something we learn from books; it is our feature, as clearly evidenced by representatives of various ethnicities and religious groups living comfortably here for centuries, living in friendship and love with the Georgian nation.

Christmas Epistle|Source
Territory
2010

In the foreign policy of a small country like ours, especially in relations with neighbors, diplomacy and peaceful problem-resolution must be the main weapon. It is also necessary to initiate direct dialogue with Abkhazians and Ossetians, to set in motion confidence-building between our peoples. They should be aware of the ongoing process of globalization, so we will have to live together in any case. I do not know if this is acceptable to them, but this is the guarantee of their survival. Equally noteworthy is the fact that if this conflict stems from a clash between international forces, it follows that this problem will be hard to solve without them. But everyone should know that nothing, no value outweighs our sovereignty, territorial integrity, and unity.

Easter Epistle|Source
National values
2010

In Georgia, similar to some other countries, Christianity has encouraged the centuries-old process of forging our people into one nation and transition to a brand-new phase of genuine freedom and care for our uniqueness. Consequently, for us protecting Christianity means protecting our homeland and genuine freedom.

Easter Epistle|Source
Domestic policy
2010

I appeal to the authorities to put in place a system with a better protection of the rights of inmates and patients. I think that emergency medical treatment should be financed by the state, to prevent people from dying because of financial need, also to free doctors and the state from moral responsibility to God.

Easter Epistle|Source
Territory
2011

In the late 19th century, the Tsarist Russian Empire developed a “scientific” concept based on the principle “divide and conquer”. This concept insisted on the independent existence of the Megrelian-Laz-Georgian-Svan languages and cultures in Georgia. This process, more or less covertly, continues to this day and, of course, only serves the interests of foreign countries. [...] The Holy Synod of the Georgian Church has appointed the Catholicos-Patriarch of All Georgia as First Hierarch of the Tskhum-Abkhazia Diocese. It is a reiteration of historical reality, a statement that Abkhazia has always been an integral part of Georgia […] What happened between us and the Abkhazians, between us and the Samachablo (Tskhinvali Region) Ossetians, is a result of political intrigues and has nothing in common with the relations between our peoples. Unfortunately, Georgia’s mountainous areas were depopulated under communist rule, and today not just individual villages, but entire regions remain desolate […] The Church, to the best of its ability, is trying to contribute to the revival of these areas by establishing monasteries to that end.

Christmas Epistle|Source
National values
2011

Among us Georgians, there have always been some people ready to do anything for wealth and power, and they now stand by the enemies of our country’s interests. […] I have said more than once that Georgia is under God’s special protection.

Christmas Epistle|Source
Economics
2011

Land resources, valuable ore deposits, water and forests, also museums and archives, are vitally important to a small country like Georgia, and they absolutely cannot be sold or alienated. It is necessary for laws adopted by the state to protect these treasuries.

Christmas Epistle|Source
Modernity and media
2011

It will take public effort to establish various NGOs and websites to counter those working against our territorial integrity and the unity of the Georgian nation.

Christmas Epistle|Source
Domestic policy
2011

We reiterate our suggestion to the authorities to build settlements and villages (with farms) for petty crime convicts in depopulated territories, this way partially solving the problem of unemployment and creating protected zones.

Christmas Epistle|Source
Territory
2011

For centuries, Abkhazians, among others, have been the co-creators of the Georgian idea and the Georgian state. And Abkhazia has always been an integral constituent part of the Georgian world, as evidenced by numerous ancient Christian churches and inscriptions found here, along with the titles of Georgian kings.

Easter Epistle|Source
National values
2011

To Georgians, patriotism is worship, as they protect their homeland and defend it at the expense of their own blood—because they see it as a responsibility put on them by God Himself. They do not claim someone else’s possession, but they always view temporarily lost territories and people as their own. Our spirit is best illustrated in these words: “We will not take away anyone’s homeland, but let no one claim ours either.” Yes, expansion and aggression are alien to the Georgian idea, explaining why our history in its entirety has been an expression of selflessness, honesty, valor, and moral high ground.

Easter Epistle|Source
Economics
2011

We believe that fostering agricultural development would pave the way for bettering the economic conditions in both the state and family. I have said it before and I repeat now that environmentally clean production is a must, and so is the preservation of local species, and reviving people’s interest in the land. Ideally, the government should support this process with dotation and multiannual affordable credits, something practiced in Western countries even today, despite their high levels of development.

Easter Epistle|Source
Modernity and media
2011

cannot create a healthy environment, jeopardizing their families instead. And yet we see enormous efforts using the most powerful psychological tool, mass media, to give rise to an evil and sinful life, to establish a vulgar technological society enslaved by money, so that people, especially young ones, may lose the right orientation and come to believe that Christ’s commandments are remnants of the past. Of course, all this affects people, and today families break up, free relations are established, and homosexuality is passed off as something normal much more easily….

Easter Epistle|Source
Territory
2012

The truth about some of the key issues from our ancient history, those pertaining to the genesis of Georgians and our nation’s unity, remains somewhat unknown to modern society—because Tsarism and the Soviet empire always tried to portray it from a biased angle. They did not want the spirit of patriotism to be kindled among our people, because that threatened to turn into a demand of state independence. And based on biased historical data, in the early 20th century, autonomies were absolutely illegally and unfairly established by Russia in conquered Georgia.

Christmas Epistle|Source
National values
2012

The uniqueness of our nation’s unity lies in its amazing diversity. Every region is unique in its own way, with its own songs, dances, clothing, cuisine, speech, flexion. And yet they are all integral parts of the homogenous Georgian spirit. Yes, they are different in character, some have short temper, others are reserved, some are witty, others prissy, some laconic and others eloquent, some more ingenious, others more guileless, trusting… but, despite these differences, we share one key feature: our gift of love, a sense of gratitude, honesty, and integrity… Our nation has always been grateful to God, as evidenced by the abundance of churches and monasteries built throughout centuries, especially in times of sorrow.

Christmas Epistle|Source
Modernity and media
2012

If in the past military units fought on behalf of conflicting sides, nowadays the fight is for the human mind, the way of thinking, a type of warfare employing modern information technologies. And it is mostly via this route that pseudo-culture and systems of antireligious values—with egoism as their cornerstone and driver—are perpetuated. [...] Negative information is especially hard on future generations, who spend most of their time watching TV and surfing online, and there is no one to help them develop properly […] It is a fact that, along with negative information, electronic mass media also spread a lot of interesting information across all areas, one of the positive points of globalization, something we must use duly.

Christmas Epistle|Source
Economics
2012

A law must be adopted to cut taxes, especially in the area of agriculture, to make it more attractive. Ideally, assistance must be provided to farming, so that farmers may be able to work the land, plant seeds, buy fertilizers and pesticides, and grow and process environmentally clean products. And, given the high demand on such products globally, the state should have no problem finding a sales market. With all this implemented, progress will be visible soon, and people will once again embrace hard work.

Easter Epistle|Source
Modernity and media
2012

There is no more universal truth, but smaller, individual “truths”. Among these, especially successful are ones supported by information technologies and good advertising. […] Apparently, these “new ideologies” express themselves through the recently built Buddha Bar in a most sacred area marking the martyrdom of 100,000 Georgians, and also houses of sin erected in the heart of the city, casinos (including next to the Patriarchate) and betting facilities… where perpetrators of Sodomite sin and other “heroes” are promoted.

Easter Epistle|Source
Domestic policy
2012

Preferably, the state must pay special attention to making sure that mothers spend more time with their newborns by extending paid maternity leave to at least six months. […] Serious attention must be paid to the health of inmates, because prisons pose numerous factors conducive to such socially dangerous diseases as tuberculosis, for instance. […] It is a good idea to create jobs in prisons where inmates will be able to put to use their talents and skills. A fulfilled person is not as dangerous for society. A law on sentence deferral must be adopted, meaning that, based on a medical commission’s report, inmates suffering from severe or incurable diseases will be able to leave the penitentiary and remain in a family environment, under the care of their loved ones, until their recovery.

Easter Epistle|Source
National values
2013

It is also our transgression that we are not familiar with our past, our history, and yet its knowledge does help us stick to our roots, to know ourselves, and clearly see the meaning of life. I have also said repeatedly that today marks a time of information warfare, a time to fight with a pen or word. And it takes reasonable, knowledgeable, and God-loving people to engage in this war. We must find it in ourselves to grow stronger in spirit to emerge victorious in this era of dominating false ideals.

Christmas Epistle|Source
Modernity and media
2013

I would like to address younger people with this special request: Be strong against this information onslaught pouring forth like an avalanche from media outlets in an attempt to subject you to the influence of false values; do not share in their pseudo-culture that perverts one’s psyche, coarsens the senses, and voids the inner world. Love books, learn in-depth thinking, learn how to fear and love God, in order to become loyal guardians of our country, the lot of the Virgin Mary.

Christmas Epistle|Source
Education
2013

It will also take a commitment to revive the system of education, to encourage young people to read more, to usher in in-depth thinking, ensure scientific progress, cement law enforcement and military structures, to protect the country’s national interests and national ideology.

Easter Epistle|Source
Economics
2013

It will take a strong commitment to revive the rural areas and develop coastline and mountain regions. Of course, it is also necessary to attract investments, but commitment is key here.

Easter Epistle|Source
Modernity and media
2013

1920 marked the first time under Bolshevik rule that the atheist authorities officially allowed abortions. From 1936 to 1955, they were once again banned, though today abortions have come back and are even encouraged by mass media outlets and under the influence of liberal ideology—in the post-Soviet space, Europe, and many countries around the globe. […] Media outlets can play an enormous positive role, and reap abundant grace, by encouraging attitudes supporting the idea of having many children and denouncing abortions.

Easter Epistle|Source
National values
2014

Family is the major cornerstone of the state and society, a small country, or “a small church”, as it is known in the Christian world.

Christmas Epistle|Source
Gender roles
2014

Spouses must serve each other with love, though the hierarchy must be observed at all times. The fact that the man is the head of his family does not mean it is his dominion, instead standing for his self-sacrificial service and responsibility to his wife and children. He is their protector, bread-winner, and household priest in one. He must supplicate God’s mercy, love, and grace for his family members. Woman is responsible for the household and care after her family, bringing up children. She must be obedient to her husband in line with God’s commandments. [...] One of the key expressions of crisis lies in the threat of treating relations between sexual minorities and marriage between man and wife as equal, and in the danger of legalizing adoption by same-sex couples, a law that twists the whole idea behind marriage and turns a child into an item owned by all who wish so.

Christmas Epistle|Source
Foreign Policy
2014

Georgia, with its development and culture, is part of Christian Europe, the reason behind our people’s aspirations. But, in relation to this and other fundamental issues above, the EU and the European Parliament must take into account the traditions and mindsets of individual countries, and give them a freedom of choice, so that the local populations may have a sincere desire to join modern European culture. The Georgian Church welcomes the position of the European Union stating that the legalization of same-sex marriages is not mandatory for our country on its path to becoming a full member of the EU, as reflected in the December 2013 statement by Head of the EU Delegation Philip Dimitrov.

Christmas Epistle|Source
Science
2014

Scientific and technological advancement has brought up dire ethical issues previously unknown to mankind: artificial insemination, children consummated in vials, surrogate mothers, gene mixes, cloning, and others. “Humanists” support abortions, euthanasia, and suicide. […] Children born from artificial insemination will grow up to be problematic, because their lives are a result of the destruction of many embryos.

Christmas Epistle|Source
Modernity and media
2014

It is common knowledge that Earth, and the universe in general, has its own laws, and this is it. Yet modern thought is telling us that there is no overall given, being instead a figment of our imagination. It follows that we, on our whims, can recognize and not recognize one phenomenon or another, accept it as existent or reject it as nonexistent. Taboos must be broken! We must tear down the ethical boundaries of the past! Everything is good as long as I want it and take pleasure in it! Only one mandatory rule must be observed, though: The rights of others, especially of minorities, cannot be violated! That is the law. What we have as a result is the obliteration of the line between good and bad behavior, truth and lies. The truth is what I believe to be true, period! You have your own truth? Protect your truth, and I will protect mine. I will not violate your rights, but you do not violate my rights either. Things along these lines make up the mentality some are trying to introduce today.

Christmas Epistle|Source
Education
2014

The state is obligated to protect children from malicious influence, to offer them properly structured learning processes, and promote analytical thinking among children in school. Philosophy and literature clubs must be created to enable schoolchildren to read and discuss interesting books, write essays, and speak about various issues. Young people, and anyone for that matter, must develop in-depth thinking skills by reading spiritual books alongside fiction and works dedicated to philosophy, history, psychology, and science and nature. Otherwise, their worldviews will narrow to prevent them from making the right choice.

Easter Epistle|Source
National values
2014

If the country has pulled through the extreme need of the past two decades, it must have been thanks to the solidarity of friends, neighbors, and relatives. Ordinary people, who did not have much either, shared their piece of bread with those in greater need—of course, expecting nothing in return. And that is nothing short of heroism! You know that I have always urged Georgians abroad to return to their homeland and seek employment here, in the sector of agriculture, for example. At the same time, we must give due credit to most of them, especially women, and their selflessness in providing for their children, spouses, and loved ones.[...] It is impossible to be indifferent toward the enemies of your country, and to fail to protect your country, its past and future, both in deeds and words.

Easter Epistle|Source
Gender roles
2014

The Georgian woman has always been the pillar of the family; and even today, in the age of emancipation, she should be able to perform the balancing act in her family and engage every member of her family in the process of raising children (meaning family talks, discussions on exciting topics, and so on).

Easter Epistle|Source
Modernity and media
2014

Modern pseudo-liberalism wants to destroy the notion of sin. According to them, admitting sin “limits” human beings and deprives them of “freedom”, so they want to make morality and guilt disappear. They are attacking morality, which in today’s terms means fighting against not only religious notions, but also against universal values. In fact, they are offering the public a way of life lower than that of animals, urging people to degrade spiritually. [Television] shows films suffused with sadism and sexual perversions; and various “shows” and programs, under the pretext of “entertainment”, mock human dignity, culture, and traditions in order to “cure people of neurosis and phobias.”

Easter Epistle|Source
Gender roles
2015

The husband is the head of the family, because he is the bearer of the God-given responsibility of protecting his wife and children to the best of his ability and to be a faithful leader and bread-winner. Equally important is a woman’s role. Her main function is to bear and raise children, and to care for her household, which does not preclude her from social activities. [...] A woman’s role has always been and remains exceptional in our history. The magnitude of this attitude grew even further after Georgia became the lot of the Virgin Mary.[...] Aggression is especially big among younger people and a particular segment of males, notably among those who are idle and functionless, who have lost their bread-winning functions. And this burden is not borne by women, making their situation even harder, and finally breaking the balance between man and wife. Consequently, both sides are tense and irritated, and attempts on women’s lives are a frequent conclusion of this state of affairs.

Christmas Epistle|Source
National values
2015

The Georgian festive table was always about praising the homeland, friendship, love, solidarity, and courage, and also about commemorating the dead and praying for their salvation. Both types of dinners started and ended with God’s laudations. But now these gatherings often degenerate into endless feasting and disorder, with toasts turning into hypocritical obsequiousness. And that calls for corrective measures.

Easter Epistle|Source
Economics
2015

A few words about the dangerous and grievous problem of the gambling business. Although probably profitable for the state budget, this industry is still a negative phenomenon banned in many countries. Here, on the other hand, we recently saw the introduction of online casinos as well.

Easter Epistle|Source
Science
2015

Material and technological advancement, coupled with neglect for spiritual development, has been a major driver behind the rising pride among human beings and the formation of atheistic thinking, and the perpetuation of the idea that nothing is hidden from human beings anymore, and that they can now manage and control everything. But the most important thing remains hidden from ungodly people, and that is the purpose of life and the mystery of death. Consequently, good and bad, sin and grace, are very relative, hypothetical notions for them, and that is why a society adhering to this thinking finds no problem legalizing sin and perversions.

Easter Epistle|Source
Modernity and media
2015

Foul language has become a norm in political and social relations, in mass media…

Easter Epistle|Source
Domestic policy
2015

The numbers of online gambling addicts have grown in leaps and bounds, with many losing their properties and families, and others even committing suicide… I believe that the authorities must take action and protect the country’s present and future to the best of their ability.

Easter Epistle|Source
National values
2016

Our people have been full of love through the centuries: The reason why they have been selflessly protecting their loved ones, homeland, and true faith, while surrounding foreigners with warmth in their blood-stained soil. Our slogan quotes Rustaveli’s immortal words: “I am he who lays his life for loved ones like he plays or sings”; “Love will elevate us.” This attitude, and this way of life, has seen us through multifarious distresses. But how do we live now? Clearly, the world is losing the sense of love and replacing it with virtual feelings and fake love. We are no exception.

Christmas Epistle|Source
Modernity and media
2016

Our life has offered intrigues ample room for action, turning it into a way of life, in fact, and leaving a human being vulnerable in every way. And that will cost the country dearly. I absolutely must focus on one unfortunate fact. For quite some time, it has become a norm for some young men, and now even young women, to use foul language against their parents, without even realizing it. In doing so, they are cursing themselves and bringing a severe punishment upon themselves, because God is especially severe in punishments for insults against parents. In general, curse words are encouraged and sick ideas are promulgated. And that is a road to death, a road to the darkness of Hell.

Christmas Epistle|Source
Gender roles
2016

Although economic need has pushed both parents outside to earn a living day and night, caring for children is still paramount, and here both the man and woman are equally responsible.

Easter Epistle|Source
Economics
2016

Many problems are solvable as long as the population is employed, SMEs are developed, and agriculture revived. More opportunities must be secured for enamel, gold, and silver processing, sun and wind energy use, water export, also ceramic and glass production, pottery, construction of small HPPs, tourism, and others. Unfortunately, it is a fact that, presently, Georgia imports 80% of its agricultural food products, while the country is perfectly capable of meeting the population’s demands in full, and even consider exporting local goods. But to that end, family-run farms and other private initiatives must be encouraged, small processing enterprises must be built on the ground, and mechanized crews must be put together to serve villages. Preferably, each region should be allocated a certain amount of money, and the state, at the initial stage, should be in charge of developing sales-oriented directions profitable for a given region.

Easter Epistle|Source
Modernity and media
2016

Our modern times have brought to the fore the principle of “I” camouflaged as a major “innovation”, this principle stands for having fun, thinking unclearly, using vulgarities, with focus on a part, not the whole… that is, something devoid of meaning and depth. On the other hand, such notions as truth, dignity, reason, homeland, neighbors, and others are now considered offensive. Such trends shape young people not into personas, but into parts of a crowd, mediocre creatures adapting to pretty much anything, those living today and not caring about tomorrow.

Easter Epistle|Source
Domestic policy
2016

Universal healthcare, mountain law, and measures to be taken toward agricultural development are encouraging, but people must be informed better on the assistance secured through their implementation, so that they may tap into the opportunities offered.

Easter Epistle|Source
Modernity and media
2017

Television, mass media, social networks… often portray one abomination or another as something appealing and exciting and promote its propaganda.

Christmas Epistle|Source
Modernity and media
2018

One cannot help noticing the overwhelming trend of annihilating traditional values, cutting down the spirit of patriotism, and the disappearance of national identity. Equally strong are the attempts to present some grievous sins as natural conditions, including through media outlets. Willingly or unwillingly, aggression and immorality, drug addiction and gambling are often advertised. And foul language, lies, cynicism, public insults… have become the norm. There is a sense of vulnerability and fear of tomorrow. A spiritual void leads to growing suicides among the youth, and one of the reasons for that is that certain groups out there use various methods to push our young people to commit suicide. The quality of education has dropped; adolescents are glued to the internet while books are collecting dust. Respect for elders is long forgotten. Genuine shining examples are persecuted and replaced with personas championing new “values”.

Easter Epistle|Source
Domestic policy
2018

Although the Church and the state must be and are separated institutionally, they absolutely must cooperate toward the country’s building, an interaction resembling the union of the human body and soul. […] If we strongly disagree with relations and laws offered to us, our protest must be clear but decent, lest we jeopardize the idea we are protecting, lest we harm our own or someone else’s soul. […] It is necessary to instill negative attitudes toward abortion as a grievous sin, and a separate law for some large families must be developed at the initial stage to help such families through concrete action.

Easter Epistle|Source
Education
2019

It is exciting to hear that the authorities have decided to give teachers a raise and work toward enhancing their reputation. It is equally exciting that Deda Ena is back in elementary grades, though there is still much to do. [...] Due attention must be paid to raising students based on the spirit of patriotism. Unfortunately, works by our classic authors are nearly all removed from school programs, and no focus is made on the heroic past of our nation, and neither are important dates related to famous figures or events celebrated […] School hours must be allocated for personal hygiene, handcraft/handwork classes, interaction with nature, general introduction into agriculture, also music, fine arts, literary clubs… It is vitally important to equip schools with gyms and sports fields, to unite children under athletic clubs, so that they may use up their energy and develop into healthy and strong individuals.

Christmas Epistle|Source
Modernity and media
2019

By definition, freedom of speech is one of the core rights of society which enables any citizen to express his opinion at his own discretion, and even use media outlets or social networks to that end, all of which instills a sense of personal freedom and offers an opportunity to share with others what one has seen or thought. But, unfortunately, reality is often twisted, and freedom of speech is abused.

Christmas Epistle|Source
National values
2019

Our attitude toward our homeland measures how well we fight egoism and how advanced spiritually we are. The present reality shows that several types of attacks are waged in this direction. Some—encouraged by outside forces—nourish the spirit of separatism and develop theories to divide the country. Others lead astray in the name of patriotism by distorting this feeling. There are also those who appeal to universal values and consider patriotism to be outdated.

Easter Epistle|Source
Modernity and media
2019

Total freedom has been declared in relation to both believers and non-believers, but the brazenness of those denying God is visibly overwhelming in this area. They are actively propagating total unruliness in every way, in an attempt to tie such behavior to the notions of truth and goodness, so that the perversion offered by them may look more appealing to ordinary people.

Easter Epistle|Source
Economics
2020

At some point, certain states realized that they had to be self-sufficient, and that marked the moment when depending on others became unprofitable. Every country, including Georgia, now faces the revival of local production and agriculture as the number one task.

Easter Epistle|Source
Modernity and media
2020

It is strange when people unite against a life-threatening common danger, on one hand, but are locked up in their countries, cities, villages, or homes, on the other. In a moment of clarity, they now realize that many things that mattered much yesterday are absolutely unimportant today. Instead, directions overlooked in the past have come to the fore.

Easter Epistle|Source
Modernity and media
2021

Unfortunately, life here and around the globe resembles Babylon and Nineveh. Audaciousness, perversion, slander, lies, foul language, immorality, offenses against the feelings of believers, and atheism are promoted and praised as exemplary behavior.

Christmas Epistle|Source
Science
2021

Technological progress is now far ahead of the spiritual development of society, far enough to make a human being who introduces innovations, diminished compared to his own creation, eventually subjecting himself to the creation’s control. The chasm between the two will grow further in the future, and this is where one of the key problems lies. Otherwise, technological achievements are beneficial, of course. However, in the hands of ungodly people bereft of spirituality, they will surely bring about devastating results.

Easter Epistle|Source
Modernity and media
2021

The traditional meaning of society is gradually vanishing, a sense of vulnerability is growing among people, and the human factor is taking a back seat. Add to that the drastically negative attitude toward religion—and, in particular, toward the Orthodox Christian Church in Georgia—as exhibited by a certain part of society and some media outlets throughout the world, also hate speech, support for organized attempts at personal and institutional character assassination, and encouragement of those engaged in these activities.

Easter Epistle|Source
Domestic policy
2021

The more the authorities support spiritual revival, the stronger the country will grow, as clearly evidenced by the era of Saint David the Prophet King.

Easter Epistle|Source

Territoriality of the Georgian Orthodox Church

Territoriality of the Georgian Orthodox Church is Indigo’s project led by Dr. Tornike Metreveli (PhD in Sociology). The project was created in 2021 with financial support from the University of St. Gallen. This database describes churches and monasteries in the country’s territory, lists the immovable property owned by the Orthodox Christian Church of Georgia, and thematically categorizes the epistles of the Catholicos-Patriarch of Georgia. Given the limited access to information, the data do not cover the occupied territories of Abkhazia and South Ossetia.

Churches and Monasteries

This project is the first in Georgia to have inventoried the churches and monasteries in the territory of the country. The data encompass 3,407 structures built from the 5th century to 2021, both operating and functionless churches or sites of cultural heritage. Buildings where no divine services are held or held only on great feasts, are listed as functionless in the database.

At the project’s outset, we requested information from the Patriarchate of Georgia, though it turned out that there was no centralized database, explaining why we used Google Maps to identify churches and monasteries. The collected data were verified with municipal representatives, local clerics, and others, via telephone communication. A total of 1,335 individuals provided us with information on churches in 3,633 villages. Information about 88 churches in Tbilisi and Kutaisi was collected on the ground. Information about the churches and monasteries in Batumi was provided to us by the local diocese, while data on the buildings in Sighnaghi, Mtskheta, Tianeti, and Dusheti Municipalities was offered by local city halls.

Consequently, we came into possession of information about churches missing from Google Maps. The received information was checked against the database of the National Agency for Cultural Heritage Preservation that lists churches treated as monuments of cultural heritage and contains dates of their construction. Given our limited resources, it proved impossible to visit every village and inventory every monument on the ground, while Google Map does not offer pictures of all of them, the reason why some structures may be missing. If you have any information about churches and monasteries missing from the map, please contact us at info@indigo.com.ge.

Immovable Property

Information about the immovable property owned by the Patriarchate of Georgia relies on official data retrieved from the Public Registry. Legally, property rights must be registered with the Public Registry. As a starting point of reference, we used The Patriarchate’s Capital, an initiative published by Indigo in 2017, also relying on data from the Public Registry and bringing together categorized information on lands owned by the Patriarchate prior to 2017. The information from this database was rechecked to identify possible changes of ownership since 2017. To identify immovable properties registered after 2017, we analyzed applications filed by the Patriarchate with the Public Registry, with cadaster codes of relevant territories subsequently defined. Using these codes, we requested documentation from the Public Registry to confirm property rights. Information about forests transferred to be owned by the Patriarchate relies on the relevant decrees by the President of Georgia. The database lists 1,556 parcels of land owned by the Patriarchate.

Demographic Data

Our demographic data were retrieved from the website of the National Statistics Office of Georgia which covers the results of the latest census of 2014.

Patriarch’s Epistles

The map’s narrative section thematically categorizes the epistles of Catholicos-Patriarch Ilia II of the Orthodox Christian Church of Georgia, studying his every epistle since his enthronement in 1978 until 2021 as published on the website of the Patriarchate of Georgia and the Orthodox Christian website www.orthodoxy.ge.

After the texts were processed, 10 topics most frequently addressed by the Patriarch were identified. Based on inductive and deductive approaches, thematic categories were defined, with categories identified in processing added to predefined themes. Next, the content analysis came into play to identify both latent and manifested meanings. A standard unit for analysis was defined as one paragraph (division by paragraph was in order to the texts incorporating several categories).

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To cite (APA):

Metreveli, T., Bakradze, N., Asatiani, I., Yusubova, A., Ghoghoberidze, M., Bregadze, N., Basilaia, E. (2021), Territoriality of the Georgian Orthodox Church, Indigo/ University of St. Gallen, 2021, http://toc.ge/.

To cite (Chicago):

Metreveli, Tornike; Bakradze, Nino; Asatiani, Ia; Yusubova,, Aydan; Ghoghoberidze, Manana; Bregadze, Nanuka; Basilaia, Ekaterine, Territoriality of the Georgian Orthodox Church, Indigo/ University of St. Gallen, 2021, http://toc.ge/.

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