Metropolitan Shio Mujiri, the Georgian Patriarch’s locum tenens, joined the Family Purity Day celebrations in Tbilisi today, and spoke against the promotion of “anti-family values.”
The locum tenens addressed the parish at the Kashueti Church on Rustaveli Avenue, where thousands had gathered from early morning to mark the Family Purity Day, which was introduced in 2014 in an apparent attempt to counter the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia (IDAHOT).
“Divorce statistics have become alarming in the last few years: more and more calls are voiced about legitimizing the anti-family values, and this is, of course, worrying us, and we are here to protect the sanctity of families and of family values,” Metropolitan Shio told the parish.
He also emphasized family was not “a mere institution,” but “a creation of God,” and that going against families and family values was “a struggle against the Almighty.”
Later, Metropolitan Shio joined the march of the Orthodox parish towards the Holy Trinity Cathedral, where Georgian Patriarch Ilia II delivered a brief sermon.
Asked by a reporter on whether he was aware of IDAHOT, the Patriarch’s locum tenens said: “This day is marked, as far as we are aware, but we mark the Family Purity Day, because family values are under serious threat across the world.” He also stressed the church distanced itself from “any kind of violence.”
Gay rights groups and their partner organizations, who intended to mark IDAHOT in front of the Government building today, had to call off the event late yesterday, citing threats of violence from the Patriarchate and fascist groups.
The Georgian Interior Ministry said today that three persons were detained in Tbilisi on petty hooliganism and police disobedience charges. All of them were reportedly members of the March of the Georgians, who joined the Church events on Rustaveli Avenue. The police also said two members of the Georgian National Unity were called for interrogation prior to their event.