Authorized Form of NameIlia II (1933-); Catholicos-Patriarch of All Georgia
ForenamesIlia II
EpithetCatholicos-Patriarch of All Georgia
ParallelFormsOfNameIlya or Elijah
OtherFormsOfNameIrakli Ghudushauri-Shiolashvili
ActivityCatholicos-Patriarch of All Georgia and the spiritual leader of the Georgian Orthodox Church. He is officially styled as Catholicos-Patriarch of All Georgia, the Archbishop of Mtskheta-Tbilisi and Metropolitan Bishop of Abkhazia and Bichvinta, His Holiness and Beatitude Ilia II.

Born in Vladikavkaz, Soviet Russia's North Ossetia. His parents hailed from Georgia, particularly, the Kazbegi district; his father, Giorgi Shiolashvili, was from the village Sno, and his mother, Natalia Kobaidze, from the village Sioni. The Shiolashvili were an influential clan in the highlands of Khevi.

Irakli Ghudushauri graduated from the Moscow Theological Seminary and was ordained, under the name of Ilia, a hierodeacon in 1957 and hieromonk in 1959; he graduated from the Moscow Theological Academy in 1960 and returned to Georgia, where he was assigned to the Batumi Cathedral Church as a priest. In 1961, he was promoted to hegumen and later to archimandrite. On August 26, 1963, he was chosen to be the bishop of Batumi and Shemokmedi and appointed a patriarchal vicar. From 1963 to 1972 he was also the first rector of the Mtskheta Theological Seminary—the only clerical school in Georgia at that time.

In 1967, Ilia was consecrated as the bishop of Tskhumi and Abkhazeti and elevated to the rank of metropolitan in 1969. After the death of the controversial Patriarch David V, he was elected the new Catholicos-Patriarch of Georgia on December 25, 1977.

The new patriarch began a course of reforms, enabling the Georgian Orthodox Church, once suppressed by the Soviet ideology, largely regain its former influence and prestige by the late 1980s. In 1988 there were 180 priests, 40 monks, and 15 nuns for a congregation variously estimated as being from one to three million. There were 200 churches, one seminary, three convents, and four monasteries.[citation needed] During the last years of the Soviet Union, he was actively involved in Georgia's social life.

The patriarch oversaw the publication of a linguistically updated, modern Georgian version of the Bible, which was printed in the Gorbachov-era.

The patriarch joined the people demonstrating in Tbilisi against the Soviet rule on April 9, 1989, and fruitlessly urged the protesters to withdraw to the nearby Kashueti Church to avoid the bloodshed. This peaceful demonstration was dispersed by the Soviet troops, leaving behind 22 dead and hundreds injured. During the civil war in Georgia in the 1990s, he called the rival parties to find a peaceful solution to the crisis.

From 1978 to 1983, Ilia II was co-president of the World Council of Churches (WCC), an ecumenical organization the Georgian Orthodox Church had joined with other Soviet churches in 1962. In May 1997, a vocal group of conservative Orthodox clerics accused Ilia II of participating in "ecumenical heresy" and threatened schism. The patriarch hastily convened the Holy Synod and announced withdrawal from the WCC. In 2002, the then-president of Georgia Eduard Shevardnadze and Ilia II signed a concordat whereby the Georgian Orthodox Church was granted a number of privileges, and holders of the office of patriarch were given legal immunity.
Source, viewed on 23/02/2017

Show related Catalog records.

related catalogue records
Runcie/EOC/1985/8Georgia: Patriarch Ilia II and Father Chikhladze1984-1985Runcie/EOC/1985/8
Runcie/EOC/1987/9Georgia: Ilia II1987Runcie/EOC/1987/9
Runcie/EOC/1983/16Georgia: Patriarch Ilia II1983Runcie/EOC/1983/16
CFR OC 125/1Individual Orthodox Churches: Georgia: Patriarchs1972-1977CFR/5/3/16/125-1
Runcie/EOC/1982/10Georgia: Patriarch Ilia II1982Runcie/EOC/1982/10
Carey/PHOTO/68Patriarch IIya in England, 1995June 1995Carey/PHOTO/68
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