1462208206TBILISI, DFWatch–Patriarch Ilia II has endorsed a controversial ‘pro family’ congress to be held in Tbilisi in May and is expected to deliver a keynote speech.

The leader of the Georgian Orthodox Church, the Catholicos-Patriarch of All Georgia, Ilia II gave his blessing to the 10th World Congress of Families which will be held in Tbilisi on May 15-18, the event’s official website announced.

The Patriarch is also expected to deliver a keynote address during the congress, whose main organizers are Protestant Evangelicals from the United States.

The international conference and festival will be held in Tbilisi on May 16-18, so it will coincide with the Day of Family Strength and Respect for Parents on the May 17.

The observance was established by the Patriarchate of the Georgian Orthodox Church in 2014 in order to silence activists campaigning for LGBT rights on the International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia, and Biphobia on the same day.

According to Christian News Wire, the Patriarch indicated that he ‘would pray to God that it may become a display of peace and love, of Christian values and culture’ in addition to confirming his participation in the congress.

The congress’s main theme has been confirmed as ‘Civilization at the Crossroads: The Natural Family as The Bulwark of Freedom and Human Values’.

The sessions scheduled for the congress include ‘Gender theory and sexuality education and how they undermine the family and parental authority’, ‘Parental rights to guide children’s education — Homeschooling’, ‘Culture of Live vs. Culture of Death: Family and Marriage Issues; The role of religion’, and ‘Demographic Winter; Abortion, euthanasia, surrogacy and other life issues’.

This year’s programme also includes a screening of the documentary about Ilia II called The Patriarch — The Most Trusted Man in the Caucasus.

The congress will close with a ‘concert dedicated to Family Day Celebration in Georgia designated so by Ilia II’ with traditional Georgian dances, polyphonic singing, and chants composed by the Patriarch.

According to Christian News Wire, the congress will be broadcast on Georgian public TV and will include events held in Tbilisi’s Concert Hall, the Radisson Blu Iveria Hotel, and the Rustaveli National Theatre.

The World Congress of Families is an NGO based in Illinois USA. Its mission statement reads that its aim is to ‘affirm that the natural human family is established by the Creator’.

The organization stands for the idea of marriage between a man and a woman and opposes ‘pornography, promiscuity, incest or homosexuality’ which it sees as deviations from ‘natural sexual norms’.

American NGO Southern Poverty Law Centre has included the organization in its list of anti-LGBT hate groups. It is also often accused for its alleged links with the Kremlin and its support for the 2013 Russian LGBT propaganda law.

The local organizing committee for the conference includes activists from the Demographic Renaissance Foundation of Georgia Levan Vasadze and Tinatin Khorbaladze.