This past Sunday the holy Myrrhbearing Women were celebrated in all Orthodox churches throughout the world, and on the day of these holy women who became the first witnesses and heralds of the Lord’s Resurrection, more than 1,000 Georgian children were united to the risen Lord in the holy Sacrament of Baptism, reports Romfea.
The latest in the regular mass Baptisms was celebrated in Tbilisi’s Holy Trinity Cathedral by His Holiness Patriarch-Catholicos Ilia II. 1,173 children were baptized on Sunday, while over 800 were baptized at the previous celebration on the feast of Theophany in January.
The patriarch blessed all of his new Godchildren, giving each one a baptismal cross.
With the first mass Baptism on January 19, 2008, Patriarch Ilia commenced his initiative to help improve the dire demographic situation in Georgia caused by post-Soviet abortion rates. Such mass celebrations are held four times a year in which the primate personally baptizes and becomes the godfather for the third and later children of married Orthodox couples.
Patriarch Ilia has been the beloved leader of the Georgian Orthodox Church since the 1970s and is perhaps the most trusted public figure in the ancient Orthodox nation. Many parents have been overjoyed to have children and entrust them to the spiritual care of their pious archpastor.
Patriarch Ilia has to date acquired more than 30,000 Godchildren.
This is really great but I just have one query- I thought that children of the same Godparent could not marry? Therefore, if the Patriarch is the Godfather of so many children is this not going to cause any problems long-term?
Fr. John says
As Patriarch, I’m sure he can suspend that rule as appropriate via economia, and no one will squawk.
I have read a case a long time ago, where a young engaged couple where baptized in the Church by the same Godparents and then were refused to be married because of this. So I was always led to believe that it was very serious and not allowed. Oh well, I am very glad it is not so important.
Fr. John says
It is indeed important, but it is, like all things, important in its context. Clearly 30,000 godchildren will not be associated with each other in any other way. Again, it may happen, it may not, but Georgia is a country big enough to make it work, and I’m sure the Church will handle the rest with grace, like she always does.