TBILISI, DFWatch–Georgia’s Orthodox Church celebrated Easter May Day 5, as the parish attended traditional prayers at churches around the country and the Patriarch conducted midnight mass at Sameba Cathedral in Tbilisi.
The liturgy started at 11:00 pm Saturday night. Many government officials attended, including the energy minister, the prison minister, the Tbilisi mayor and others.
Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili attended prayers in Sachkhere, his home region, together with his wife. President Mikheil Saakashvili celebrated Easter in Kakheti, a region in Eastern Georgia. Both issued a short text of congratulation to the population. The defense minister celebrated Easter together with Georgian soldiers in Afghanistan.
Following tradition, Holy Fire was brought from Jerusalem to Sameba Cathedral, from where the fire is spread to other churches, and from there the parish will usually bring the fire to their homes.
The text of the Easter epistle of Patriarch Ilia II caused discussion among feminists and others who want abortion to remain legal in Georgia.
A large part of the text of epistle was dedicated to the necessity that state prohibits abortion. The Patriarch called on the government to establish a prohibition due to the difficult demographic situation in the country.
“According to official data, 36 000 abortions are carried out annually in Georgia, but in fact there are many more cases, the number of children born dead is about 1 400 a year,” the epistle reads. “Please do not commit this severe sin, if you cannot raise your child, the Church will take care of them.”
The current legislation allows abortion within the first 12 weeks of pregnancy.