On Monday 13 February, the Holy Father received in private audience a delegation from Sulkhan-Saba Orbeliani University in Tbilisi, Georgia, led by H.E. Archbishop Giuseppe Pasotto, Apostolic Administrator of the Caucasus of the Latins.
In his address, Pope Francis recalled his apostolic journey to Georgia in 2016, in particular his meeting with His Holiness Patriarch Ilia II, Catholicos Patriarch of All Georgia: " I am reminded of Patriarch Ilia – a great man! You know, when I am a bit sad, I listen to his music, his songs: it does me good! He is good, a man of God whom I hold in my prayers and whose admirable musical compositions I like to listen to. I carry in my heart the meetings we had, especially in the Patriarchal Cathedral, when we stood side by side alongside Christ’s tunic, that tunic the Gospel describes as being “without seam, woven from top to bottom” (Jn 19:23), and which, according to tradition, symbolizes the unity of the Church, Body of Christ […] Also, I do not forget that bombino that Patriarch Ilia made me try: dangerous, isn’t it? Strong, but very good! Mentioning the ecumenical activity of the Sulkhan-Saba Orbeliani University, the Holy Father said: “Your university also represents a fine example of the fruitful collaboration between Catholics and Orthodox in the cultural and educational sphere”.
On 26 June 2022 at the Sistine Chapel, during an ecumenical concert offered by the Patriarchal Choir of the Holy Trinity Cathedral in Tbilisi and the Sistine Chapel Choir, pieces composed by His Holiness Ilia II were performed.
On Friday 10 February 2023, the same delegation from Tbilisi's Sulkhan-Saba Orbeliani University, which included the Revd Professor Akaki, Chairman of the Board of Trustees, and Professor Vaja Vardidze, Rector, visited the Dicastery for Promoting Christian Unity, where they were received by Bishop Brian Farrell, Secretary, and Revd Jaromír Zádrapa, Official of the Oriental Section.
Photos © Servizio Fotografico | Vatican Media