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.
Azerbaijani media identified him as Bahram Hasanzada, a foreign citizen, and says he "was engaged in espionage according to instructions from foreign services, to the detriment of Azerbaijan's state security".
The report makes a number of recommendations that "aim to guide peace negotiators, policymakers, donors, and national and international civil society activists who work to promote mutual understanding and peace between the societies divided by the Nagorny Karabakh conflict".