Tbilisi, January 21, 2016
On January 19, 2016, the feast of Holy Theophany, the 42nd mass baptism of infants took place at the Holy Trinity Cathedral in Tbilisi. 659 infants became new godchildren of His Holiness Catholicos-Patriarch Ilia II of All Georgia.
In 2008 Ilia II announced that he would become godfather of every third and subsequent baby born into a family whose parents were married in the Church. This decision was caused by the demographic crisis in Georgia at that time.
In connection with this, many Georgian residents recall the story once related by the saint of our days – St. Gabriel (Urgebadze): “I performed a supplicatory prayer service for the multiplication of the Georgian people. And at the night I had a vision: several men came to me and took me somewhere. We entered a white building. It was extremely dark in the room, I could not even distinguish the walls. But as soon as my eyes got used to the darkness, I saw a great number of infants stained with blood! They lay on the floor. I stood on tiptoe. Soon a thunderous voice was heard, saying: “Approaching, approaching!” I thought that the commander of those who had led me into that room was coming. The door opened and I saw the Mother of God with angels! She came up to me and said: “Are you asking for multiplication of the Georgian people?” Then She pointed at the floor and pronounced with a strict voice: ‘Gabriel! Do you really believe that the Georgian nation can multiply in this way?’ And She went out”.
It is known that following the vision elder Gabriel used to walk along the streets of Tbilisi preaching: “Do not have abortions! Do not have abortions!”
According to Patriarch Ilia II, many of the infants that he has baptized are babies who might have been killed as result of abortions.
The patriarchal blessing helps many people to change their minds about abortions. To become related to His Holiness is a genuine happiness for Georgian families, and an increasing number of them prefer to have many children.
At the present time the demographic situation in Georgia is improving. More than 27,300 babies became godchildren of Catholicos-Patriarch Ilia II in the past years.
Constantine Tsertsvadze, Koba Chikadze