Patriarch Ilia II (left) and Patriarch Kirill meeting in Moscow in July, 2013. (Interpressnews.)

TBILISI, DFWatch–Patriarch Ilia II joined other Eastern Orthodox leaders in Moscow on Sunday to attend the 70-year anniversary of the Russian Orthodox Church.

According to the Patriarchate of Georgia, Catholicos-Patriarch Ilia II was invited by the Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Rus to celebrate his 70th jubilee on November 20.

In the evening on his birthday, Russian Patriarch Kirill hosted Catholicos-Patriarch of All Georgia Ilia II and members of the Georgian delegation at his residence.

The 83-year-old Georgian patriarch mentioned the important role the church plays when it comes to mending ties between the Georgia and Russia on a political level.

“Georgian and the Russian Orthodox Churches have great importance for our countries and people. The relationship between us ought to be better than it is now, and we should do everything to improve the relationship between the political figures of our countries. I think we can do this. We need each other and we should help each other,” Ilia II said.
Patriarch Kirill talked about the deepening of ties between the two rival countries and called his Georgian counterpart’s visit “particularly valuable”.

“My biography is intertwined with your biography. We’ve come through so many things together, and we’ve been together in the sad and happy moments of our life in the Soviet Union. Since then, our relationship has been kind, reliable and open,” Kirill said.

The 83-year-old Georgian patriarch is also expected to visit a Georgian Orthodox church in Moscow and meet with representatives of the Georgian community there during his November 19-25 trip to Russia.

Georgia and Russia fought a brief war in August, 2008, after which Georgia broke off diplomatic relations.

The patriarch is the highest ranking Georgian dignitary who has maintained ties with Russia, also meeting President Vladimir Putin on one occasion in January, 2013.