The President of Georgia attended the ceremony of blessing the foundation of the new church at Makhata Hill
The President of Georgia attended the official ceremony of blessing the foundation of the church named after the Iverian Icon of the Holy Mary. Mikheil Saakashvili addressed the attending audience and noted that preserving, protecting, and restoring of the treasures of Georgia both locally and abroad is one of the most important duties of the government. According to him, 50 million GEL have been spent on Church construction and reconstruction from the budget resulting in the opening of several hundred churches across Georgia.
“Christianity is not just a part of our identity, but our passport to Europe and the civilized world. This is what we must use to prove that Georgia is fully European; a country of ancient civilization and it deserves to be a part of the modern civilized world” – noted Mikheil Saakashvili, and added that there are no other countries in the world, as small as Georgia, where so many churches are being built at the same time, “This is what our Generation should be proud of.”
The Head of State especially underscored the merit of His Holiness and Beatitude Ilia II before the Georgian Church and the Orthodox Churches of the world.
Additionally, Mikheil Saakashvili thanked the “Iveria” foundation founder Paata Burchuladze, the charity of whom has become contagious and the construction of the church has turned into a citizens’ movement.
The Patriarch of all Georgia His Holiness and Beatitude Ilia II, also congratulated the people on the beginning of construction. He focused attention on the importance of building the church and thanked Mikheil Saakashviil, Paata Burchuladze and all the persons who are involved in the process.
The official opening ceremony was held at the foundation of the alter, where the President symbolically placed a stone with the inscription “Holy Mary, unify all of Georgia!; the strength is in unity”.