Bütün Gürcüstanın Katolikos-Patriarxı Zati-Müqəddəsləri II İliya həzrətlərinin salamlama xitabı
Address of His Holiness and Beatitude Ilia II, Catholicos-Patriarch of All Georgia
to the Participants of the International Conference
“From Partnership Among Peoples of Diverse Faiths and Civilizations
to a Human Solidarity”
(Austria, 19-21 June, 2019)
Your Excellency, head of the Muslim Administration of the Caucasus, Sheikh ul-Islam Allahshuqur Pasha-zade, representatives of the diplomatic corps, Ladies and Gentlemen!
I greet you on behalf of the Autocephalous Apostolic Orthodox Church of Georgia and, personally, on my Behalf. With deep respect, we greet the representatives of different religious and non-governmental organizations, the people who have organized this conference.
This is the second time that our Church takes part in the International Conference which is conducted in one of the European countries, on the initiative of Azerbaijan and is dedicated to peacekeeping mission.
We consider these conferences to be gatherings of great importance; in our times, frequent dialogues between the representatives of different confessions and various cultures are becoming more and more significant since serious occurrences of terrorism, extremism, separatism, islamophobia, xenophobia, radicalism… create a basis for polarization between civilizations, posing a serious threat to partnership among peoples of various religions.
Sadly, today the world is insecure from actions of violence which are bound up with tremendous fatalities, while silence and inaction are becoming a more and more increasing factor for aggression and injustice. These circumstances are not entrenched locally in only one geographical place; therefore, it is a necessary step for everybody to join our efforts and find a peaceful solution to the global and local challenges; the involvement of statesmen and religious figures and, likewise, of scholars is indispensable in searching for relevant responses to these challenges.
I am the spiritual leader of one of the countries of most ancient and greatest history of Christian Orthodox life. Our entire culture, spiritual and material values are founded on the Christian worldview. Throughout centuries, Georgia could exhibit a wondrous example of how, along with the maintenance of our own identity, faith and state interests, it is possible to show tolerance to other ethnic and religious minorities. There has never been any instance of persecution on ethnic or religious grounds in our country, which has mainly been conditioned by none other than the Christian faith for this confession had defined the way of our life, our reason and our relations.
Faith has a tremendous significance in the life of any individual. The great Georgian writer and statesman, Saint Ilia the Righteous said: “Faith is the Truth of the heart… and either it is solely one in a human heart or the latter is entirely void of it…a human being unfalteringly worships in the belief which he confesses and bears in his heart; without it, faith is not faith but apparel which he takes off and puts on whenever he wishes to…”. If we are able to achieve a correct spiritual and moral standard of upbringing of human beings, to shape the true faith into the Truth of the heart, a peaceful coexistence will be guaranteed; and this achieved, neither shall we have to face an ecological catastrophe or terrorism nor there will be any other problems as dire as they are now. This is the most crucial issue which remains inconceivable for many.
I want to emphasize the attitude which exists between the head of the Muslim Administration of the Caucasus, Sheikh ul-Islam Allahshuqur Pasha-zade and me; despite our religious difference, we have had a fraternal friendship for many years. He has done much work with the objective of the maintenance and strengthening of the friendly attitude of the peoples of Azerbaijan and Georgia. Likewise, outstanding are the merits of the President of Azerbaijan, His excellency Ilham Aliyev and his father, Mr. Heydar Aliyev in the shaping of special relationships between our states.
It is no surprise that certain forces are making attempts to create disruptive problems for our relations, too. We should lead wider activities in order to prevent these goals from being achieved. This is a significant day for this conference unites people of this very commitment, they unite those individuals who seek contemporary answers to the problems and ways for their solution. I wish you successful and fruitful work in the direction of strengthening peace and friendship in the world.
May the Lord help you.
The Catholicos-Patriarch of Georgia,
Archbishop of Mtskheta and Tbilisi and
Metropolitan of Bitchvinta and Tskhum-Apkhazeti