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In a recent sermon preached at Holy Trinity Cathedral in Tbilisi, His Holiness Ilia II, Catholicos-Patriarch of All Georgia, emphasized that only spiritual renewal will bring about societal change for the better. Problems such as domestic violence and juvenile delinquency represent a spiritual crisis in family life.
“Recently, the government, society and the Church worry because of violence in families. We should think of the reason for it. We might say that less belief causes it. It is not enough when we only tell young people that violence is unacceptable,” the Patriarch said. “We should think about the inner, spiritual world. There is evil in people’s soul and mind and then it is implemented among people. We give our children everything — high education, food and clothes. But we don’t think about teaching the true religion, we do not try to make them see the difference between good and bad.”
The Patriarch is Georgia’s most popular public figure, with extremely high favorability ratings (91 percent) and a significant voice in civil and political matters. Since 2007, he has promised to personally baptize any baby born to Orthodox Christian parents who already have more than two children, leading to a marked increase in Georgian birth rates.