Thousands of Orthodox faithful processed through the streets of Tbilisi yesterday in honor of Family Purity Day, with the blessing of the greatly beloved Catholicos-Patriarch Ilia II.
The holiday was established by Pat. Ilia in 2014, and coincides with the International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia, and Biphobia, which propagandizes in favor of immoral lifestyles. In his homily on Family Purity Day in 2019, the Patriarch explained that the celebration is not an act of aggression against anyone, but emerges from genuine concern for Georgia.
The traditional mass procession was reduced to a convoy of priests the past two years due to the COVID pandemic, but the faithful made a strong showing again this year.
“Georgia is a traditional country, and as in other traditional countries, the strength of the family institution is of special significance for us. That’s why the society always celebrates it with great joy,” writes the Georgian Patriarchate press service.
This year’s procession was also dedicated to peace in Georgia, Ukraine, and around the world.
Last week, on May 11, a group of clergy crossed the Georgian-Turkish border with the Atskuri Icon of the Mother of God, headed for Tbilisi. Yesterday, the icon arrived at the Kashveti Church of St. George in central Tbilisi, where the Patriarchal Locum Tenens Metropolitan Shio of Senaki and Chkhorotsqu served the Divine Liturgy, after which the procession started, headed for the Sioni Cathedral, where an exhibition of works by children, dedicated to the themes of family and peace was displayed.
“We must do everything to preserve” the sanctity of the family, “because the destruction of the family is the destruction and extinction of the nation; as the condition of the family is, so is the condition of the nation,” Met. Shio preached.
Participants were blessed by Pat. Ilia from the balcony of the Patriarchal residence.