Patriarch Ilia of Georgia to baptize another 600 children

The 49th mass Baptism to be celebrated by His Holiness Patriarch-Catholicos Ilia II of Georgia will take place today, reports Sputnik-Georgia.

Today’s feast of the Synaxis of the Twelve Apostles, known as “Svetitskhovloba,” is a greatly loved feast in Georgia, celebrated twice a year on July 13 and October 14. The October feast has been declared a national holiday. Georgia’s famous Svetitskhoveli Cathedral in the historic town of Mtskheta, Georgia is named in honor of the Twelve Apostles.

The mass celebration will again be held at Holy Trinity Cathedral in Tbilisi in the second half of the day. Nearly 600 children will be baptized this time, with the patriarch as their Godfather.

With the first mass baptism on January 19, 2008, Patriarch Ilia commenced his initiative to help improve the dire demographic situation in Georgia caused by post-Soviet abortion rates. Such mass celebrations are held four times a year in which the primate personally baptizes and becomes the godfather for the third and later children of married Orthodox couples.

To date, Patriarch Ilia II has become the Godfather for more than 32,400 Georgian children.