The influential head of the Georgian Orthodox Church, Patriarch Ilia II, called on believers on October 3 not to send thier children abroad for education purposes, saying that "in most of the cases it will harm a child."
He made the remarks during his Sunday sermon in the Holly Trinity Cathedral in Tbilisi, while speaking about the problem of emigration.
"Almost half our our population has emigrated abroad and I am not sure that all of them will be back," Ilia II said. "People should not be leaving Georgia to earn a living... Those who love to work can earn a living here too."
"I especially want to touch upon one issue - when Georgians are sending thier young children abroad for education purposes; [young people] are not yet strong spiritually, culturally," he said.
"When I was in Canada, I was told there that if mother or father slightly slap [thier child], child calls police and brings police against parents; so this [child] is a betrayer of own parents. So we should refrain very much from sending young people, especially children, abroad. This practice in most cases will harm a child," he said.
He, however, also said that Georgia "should know the world" and "take what is useful for us and for our homeland." He said "locking up in own shell" would not help.
In the same sermon he condemned fascism and, what he called, "rude nationalism", saying that "it would harm the nation".