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Ecumenical Patriarch celebrates enthronement anniversary of Patriarch Ilia II; Meets with Georgian President, Saakashvili

On October 12-15, 2007, His All Holiness, Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I of Constantinople joined representatives of various Orthodox Churches around the world, in Tbilisi, Georgia on the occasion of the 30th anniversary of the enthronement of His Holiness, Patriarch-Catholicos Ilia II of all Georgia. The celebration coincided with the 1400th anniversary of the establishment of the Djvari Monastery (Holy Cross Monastery) of Mtskheta, which was built in 584-605 A.D.

His All Holiness was greeted by Patriarch Ilia, Prime Minister Zuran Noghaideli, members of the Georgian Parliament and the municipal officials at the Tbilisi Airport on October 12.

On October 13, the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew met with Georgian President, Mikheil Saakashvili. President Saakashvili said during the meeting, "Our church is known not only for its loyalty towards the Orthodox faith, but also for its tolerance and very consistent policy of promoting European values."

On October 14, the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew and Patriarch Ilia celebrated the Divine Liturgy at the Svetitskhoveli Cathedral outside Tbilisi. President Saakashvili and other top level officials were in attendance.

On October 15, the Patriarchs traveled to the town of Sighnaghi, a historic city of the Kakheti Region. Following the visit, a Service of Thanksgiving was celebrated at the Bodbe Convent, where the hierarchs prayed at the grave of St. Nino. That evening, His All Holiness met with Nino Burjanadze, Chairwoman of the Georgian Parliament.


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