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Georgian Orthodox Church Leader’s Christmas Epistle
Civil Georgia, Tbilisi / 7 Jan.'17 / 18:31

“Divine law is so superior, that even the most coherent and rational state laws cannot be compared to it,” Patriarch of the Georgian Orthodox Church Ilia II said in his Christmas message in which he laid out the Church’s criticism to the state’s “perception of an individual” and spoke in defense of moral norms.

Patriarch’s Christmas epistle was read out by a senior Orthodox cleric in the Holy Trinity Cathedral in Tbilisi just before midnight on January 6, before the Orthodox Christmas mass. Prime Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili and other government officials attended the ceremony.

“The state law does not consider ambition, aggrandizement, judgment, wrath, envy, pride, selfishness, fear, enmity, hatred as crimes… unless they harm others,” it reads.

“But our Lord Jesus Christ has told us that a sin is not only in wrong-doing, but in the absence of love and goodwill to others, as well as in malevolent thoughts and evil intentions,” reads the message.

“Of course, both the state and divine law cares about humans, but the difference between the two manifests in the perception of an individual and the perspectives of vision with respect to it,” the address reads.

The message then continues by saying that this applies to those countries in particular, “where some state laws contradict to moral norms and there are attempts to officially allow the sin.”

“In parallel to that, television, mass media, social networks … oftentimes, present the wickedness as attractive and interesting and with that, are contributing to its propaganda,” the message reads.

It is not the first time the Georgian Orthodox Patriarch spoke about the harm of departure of the state laws from the Christian doctrine in his Christmas epistles.

In his 2014 Christmas epistle, which drew controversy mainly because of its wording on the issue of surrogacy and artificial insemination, the Patriarch said that “an all-out struggle is ongoing against traditional views, upbringing and moral” by minority groups, who “have privileges, advertisement,” as well as media support and protection of non-governmental organizations. “Laws are being amended for the purpose of implementing their goals,” the Patriarch added then.

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