His Beatitude Ilia II, Catholicos-Patriarch of All Georgia, conveyed a message on the occasion of the manifestations organised by the Romanian Patriarchate on the 300th anniversary of the martyrdom of St Anthimos the Ivirite, Metropolitan of Wallachia.
The message was read out by His Eminence John, Metropolitan of Rustavi, representative of the Georgian Patriarch, after the Divine Liturgy officiated Tuesday, 27 September 2016, in the outdoor altar next to the Patriarchal Cathedral in Bucharest.
Beloved brothers and sisters in Christ,
Three hundred years ago, one of the greatest saints, Anthimos of Iberia, the illustrious mediator for the Romanian and Georgian peoples before God, joined the ranks of martyrs.
When we study his life, Divine Providence amazes us: Why did it happen that a Georgian person laid the foundation for the revival of the Romanian Church and State on the national bases? Perhaps, because the true Christian love was to be revealed, for it is evident that, on the one hand, Saint Anthimos of Iberia led a selfless struggle for the national identity, and on the other hand, he demonstrated that true neighbor does not have nationality but ministry to God prevails over all. Obviously, this is completely different from the cosmopolitan world vision.
The humbleness of the Romanians, their love for God and their goodness strengthened Saint Anthimos to generously give out love throughout the twenty six years of his ministry – to build dozens of churches, work in various fields of art, be a philosopher, a theologian, an interpreter, and an organizer of publishing work in Romania, who made this country the centre of international publishing; it must be noted here that it was he who founded the first publishing house in Georgia.
His personality helps generate a unique latitude of relations between our countries and our Churches, draws us close to each other with a special power and grace, and once again reminds us all that, indeed, our lives should be truly dedicated to serving truth.
With the prayers of Saint Anthimos of Iberia, may God grand us peace and spiritual edification.
The Catholicos-Patriarch of all Georgia,
Archbishop of Mtskheta and Tbilisi,
Metropolitan of Tskhum-Apkhazeti