In his Easter Epistle, Patriarch Ilia II Speaks of War, Peace, Freedom and Polarization

In his annual Easter epistle, which Georgian Orthodox Church Patriarch Ilia II presented on the night of April 15-16 in the Holy Trinity Cathedral of Tbilisi, Patriarch spoke about the dangers of polarization and sharp rhetoric. He said, in particular: “In our society, unfortunately, there is a place for categorical thinking from many sides, with the motive of caring for the country, and aggressive speech is gaining strength, causing a sharp polarization of the population”. He lamented that “people do not realize how dangerous this attitude towards the word is” affecting everybody and the environment in general.

He also lamented that in our times there are many people with “atheistic mindset” who believe there is no God, no resurrection of Christ and no eternal life; they believe that human brain is able to find answer to any question “if not today, then tomorrow” and “replace God’s omnipotence.”

According to the Patriarch, this has been caused by the unprecedented successes of the natural sciences and the introduction of new technologies in our time; but “it is also a fact that for many great scientists it was precisely their scientific discoveries “that showed them the connection between creation and God, that showed that the universe could not be the result of chance”.

He also talked about freedom in his epistle and said that “the Christian life is, first of all, about having a correct idea of how to use the greatest gift God has given us – free will, that is, the possibility of our free choice in every situation” adding that “unfortunately, part of modern society sees freedom as a right to everything, which is categorically unacceptable to a believer”.

He said: “For us, freedom means self-knowledge, striving for perfection, finding our hidden self, created in the image of God, in the depths of our soul” adding that a truly free person “is free from selfishness and his life is based on love, morality and virtue. The abundance of such people is the strength of the country”.

Ilia II also spoke extensively of peace and war. He said: “We live in difficult times, explosive times, when the threat of a nuclear catastrophe is real; therefore, we reflect especially on peace, which is a priceless gift of God”. He said that “only in times of peace our purpose can be clearly realized and our divine ability displayed; and in an environment of enmity, violence and injustice, peace cannot rest”.

According to Ilia II, for centuries Georgia has repelled the invasions of enemies and has always cherished peace. He said: “Even today, the country is going through the most difficult period, and it is our duty to take care of our peaceful future, to take care of the development and well-being of the country, to create the basis for peaceful coexistence with our brothers – Abkhazians and Ossetians”. He concluded by saying he prays for peace in Ukraine and the whole world.

This post is also available in: ქართული (Georgian) Русский (Russian)


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