Head of the Georgian Orthodox Church, Patriarch Ilia II said on September 15 that while there is a lot of talk about the need of protecting rights of minorities, “often the majority is more oppressed” in Georgia than minorities.
“We think less about our responsibilities, we are more focused on our rights and that people have various rights. Rights are good and are needed and rights should be protected, but everyone should also have the sense of responsibility,” Patriarch Ilia II said in his Sunday sermon in the Holy Trinity Cathedral in Tbilisi.
“Very often there is talk of protecting of [rights of] minority of population, that the minorities have their rights etc. and very rarely would someone think that the majority too has to be protected. Often the majority is more oppressed than the minority and that happens frequently to us,” he said.
In the same sermon the Patriarch also spoke about his recent meeting with PM Bidzina Ivanishvili.
“I want to tell you that batoni [a Georgian polite form of addressing a man] Bidzina is an optimist. He looks to our future with optimism and often presents such arguments, which convince others that everything will be alright,” Patriarch Ilia II said. “Batoni Bidzina pays a lot of attention to what will happen in the future and how to create new jobs, what should be done in order to revive agriculture. He has very concrete, very real plans about these issues.”
“I also think much about agriculture… We should not think that someone who came from China, India or some other foreign country, will cultivate our lands. They may cultivate land, but they will do it for themselves not for us. So we should love the land,” he said, adding that agriculture lands should not be left uncultivated in Georgia.
PM Ivanishvili and his family hosted the Patriarch in their private mansion in Tbilisi on September 13 during which the Georgian Church leader gave to the PM as a gift a luxury wristwatch, which stirred debates on social networking sites also involving criticism of the Patriarchate for making an expensive gift. Judging from photos posted on PM Ivanishvili’s official Facebook page, the gift presented by the Patriarch to the PM is a wristwatch by Ulysse Nardin, Swiss manufacturer of timepieces, which offers high-end watches that sell for an average price of about USD 17,000. The model in question seems to be Maxi Marine Chronometer 43mm with rose gold case, which costs more than Ulysse Nordin watches’ average price. If so, it might be in conflict with law as the value of this gift is more than an official has the right to take during the year; total value of gifts received by an official during the year should not be more than 15% of this official’s annual salary.