Today is the birthday of the Catholicos-Patriarch of All Georgia, the spiritual leader of the Georgian Orthodox Church, His Holiness and Beatitude Ilia II. He turned 88 years old.
He is officially styled as Catholicos-Patriarch of All Georgia, the Archbishop of Mtskheta-Tbilisi and Metropolitan Bishop of Bichvinta and Tskhum-Abkhazia, His Holiness and Beatitude Ilia II.
In 1967, Ilia was consecrated as the bishop of Tskhumi and Abkhazeti and elevated to the rank of metropolitan in 1969. After the death of the controversial Patriarch David V, he was elected the new Catholicos-Patriarch of Georgia on 25 December 1977.
Prime Minister of Georgia Giorgi Gakharia has congratulated the Patriarch on his birthday.
“I congratulate the Catholicos-Patriarch of All Georgia, His Holiness and Beatitude Ilia II on his birthday with love and great respect.
“His contribution to strengthening the spirituality of the Georgian nation, preserving its historical uniqueness and traditions is immeasurable. I especially appreciate his contribution to the restoration of our churches and the education of the nation.
“I wish our Patriarch health, courage and long life,” Gakharia says in his Facebook post.