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Georgian Church Calls for ‘Family Day’ on May 17

Head of the Georgian Orthodox Church, Patriarch Ilia II, said Georgia should mark the “day of strength of family and respect for parents” every year on May 17 – the date when the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia is marked.

Last year an attempted anti-homophobia rally to mark May 17 in Tbilisi center was violently disrupted by thousands of demonstrators, led by Orthodox clerics.

LGBT rights groups said several months ago that this year they plan no outdoor event to mark the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia. 

In his sermon on May 11 in the Holy Trinity Cathedral in Tbilisi, Patriarch Ilia II, said that “for many years” the Church has been thinking about how “to pray, how to express our gratitude to our parents”

“And we have made the following decision: to make May 17 of every year as the day of strength of family and respect for parents,” the Georgian Church leader said.

“The entire nation should get united on this day… and pray,” he continued. “The clergy is blessed to hold church services at noon on this day and to spray their homes and families, as well as streets and churches with holy water. Secular people are also blessed to spray themselves and their families with holy water.”

“The first celebration of this kind marking parents’ day will be marked on this May 17. You will see and feel how strong your mind, spirit and body will get and how strong Georgia will become,” Patriarch Ilia II said.

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