His Holyness Ilya II, Catholicos Patriarch of All Georgians celebrated his 85th birthday on Thursday (4 January). Leading the well wishers was the President of Georgia, Giorgi Margvelashvili who hailed the life of the Patriarch as an example for all the people of Georgia.
Ilya II has been head of the Georgian Orthodox Church for forty years. He is held in very high esteem by Georgian society. Recent scandals that affected the Orthodox Church in Georgia have not diminished the veneration with which most Georgians hold Ilya II, who remains a symbol of Georgian national identity and unity.
photo: President Mergvelashvili congratulating Patriarch of Georgia Ilya II on his birthday.
Italian President Sergio Mattarella, currently on a tour of the South Caucasus, on Tuesday (17 July) addressed students at Tbilisi State University about his vision for Europe's future.