2019-12-30 11:11:00

Georgian patriarch, cardinal from Vatican discuss challenges faced by Christian world

Tbilisi, December 30, Interfax - Catholicos-Patriarch Ilia II of All Georgia met with Cardinal Pietro Parolin, State Secretary of the Holy See, who is now on a visit to Tbilisi, on Sunday.

Ilia II and Cardinal Parolin discussed the need to preserve and deepen the relations between the two old churches, the public relations service of the Georgian Patriarchate said.

"The meeting addressed the problems and today's challenges faced by the entire Christian world," the patriarchate said.

Cardinal Parolin said in the meeting that he was passing on greetings to Ilia II from Pope Francis.

The visit is connected to several anniversary dates, the cardinal said.

Among these is the 25th anniversary of the visit to Georgia by Mother Theresa (a Catholic nun, real name Agnes Gonxha Bojaxhiu, who was canonized in 2016), and also the coming 40th anniversary of the visit by Ilia II to Rome, where he met with the Pope.

"That meeting reinforced our historical relations," he said.

The relations between the two churches are especially important amid the challenges that exist today, when "man has almost lost God in the period of secularism," the cardinal said.

Ilia II, for his part, said in the meeting that the relations between Georgia and the Vatican had lasted for many centuries.

In this regard, he said the cardinal's visit was very important and that it symbolized the continuation of these relations.

The Georgian patriarch called his relations with Pope Francis truly brotherly.

Ilia II also said there is a need to strengthen the relations between the two churches.

"We are living at a very difficult time, mankind has come close to the abyss and peered into it. So your visit is extremely important," the Georgian patriarch said.

The Georgian Patriarchate said last week that Pope Francis had invited Ilia II to visit the Vatican in 2020 to celebrate the 40th anniversary of his "historical visit" in 1980.