“Your entire life has been linked to the Georgian Orthodox Church – one of the oldest orthodox churches in the world. And for over 30 years, you have been its spiritual leader, the Catholicos-Patriarch of All Georgia,” the message reads. “The time of your service has been marked by an invigoration of Orthodoxy in Georgia, a genuine blossoming of the Georgian Orthodox Church, as can be seen in its high level of influence both within the country and the international religious community. You have become a true spiritual leader for the Georgian people.
It is in large part thanks to your personal efforts that the religious, cultural, and humanitarian ties between Russia and Georgia continue to serve as a strong basis for maintaining the warm-hearted tradition of friendship and understanding between our peoples. This is evidenced by the work on the “Orthodox Encyclopedia,” a multivolume publication that has become a well-timed and sought-after project.
We appreciate your invariably friendly attitude toward the Russian Orthodox Church and toward Russia, which was confirmed during our recent meeting. We are looking forward to continued dialogue and cooperation.”