|President Saakashvili kissing the hands of
Patriarch Ilia II at the Bagrat III Church in
Kutaisi. Photo: InterPressNews
In a symbolic ceremony in the ruins of an ancient Orthodox church in Kutaisi, President Saakashvili took a spiritual oath the day after he was sworn in as President.
The ceremony, led by Patriarch Ilia II, was held in the Church of Bagrat III – regarded as the first monarch of the united Georgia in the early eleventh century.
“We hope you will be able to fulfill the words you told the nation [at the inauguration on January 20],” Ilia II told Saakashvili after the ceremony. “And we hope you will be able to reunite Georgia and we all hope that Georgia will be reunited peacefully.”
In another symbolic gesture, before being officially inaugurated, Saakashvili traveled to Gelati Cathedral, close to Kutaisi, and visited the tomb of King Davit the Builder, who reunited Georgia in the twelveth century.
When first elected in 2004, Saakashvili made similar religio-historical gestures. Then he took a spiritual oath at the tomb of King Davit the Builder.