On the 20th of March the Catholicos-Patriarch of Georgia received religious leader of Tehran Ayatollah Kazem Seddiqi and Iran’s clerical delegation.
The Catholicos-Patriarch of Georgia in order to further strengthen the relations between the two nations and two religions called this visit important and noted that despite religious or ideological differences Georgia had always been a peacemaker for different religious people living in Georgia and the Muslim community is an integral part of multinational Georgian society: “We are the citizens of the same country and we equally want to live in peace. This relationship and respect comes from our past, from each Orthodox family. Muslims in Georgia feel safe and secure and they’ve got all the conditions to conduct their religious activities suitably”. The Catholicos-Patriarch of Georgia wished Christians living in Iran have the opportunity to pray in Orthodox churches. Ilia II of Georgia noted, that there were many mosques in Georgia while there was no Orthodox church in Iran, there were Russian, Armenian churches but not Georgian.
Ayatollah Kazem Seddiqi noted that he was honored to visit the leader of the Orthodox Church and spoke about the importance and need for peaceful coexistence between different religions in the light of the current events occurring in the world and Middle East. Ayatollah Kazem Seddiqi also noted that terrorism, hatred and war has nothing to do with religion and it is equally unacceptable for both the Orthodox Christians and Muslims.
In addition, the guest spoke about Orthodox people with special warmth and said that Christians were sincere and full of love people towards whom Muslims had always expressed a special respect.
The newly elected Ambassador of Iran to Georgia H.E Seyed Javad Ghavam Shahidi noted about religious diversity of Georgia and approved the state’s decision regarding the establishment of the State Agency for Religious Issues which was a proof of the government’s high attention towards religion and the creation of which would lead to the peaceful coexistence of different religions in this country.
The meeting was attended by the chairman of the State Agency for Religious Issues Zaza Vashakmadze.