Georgian society at the call of Orthodox priests boycotted the mass of Pope Francis: the service at the stadium named after Mikheil Meskhi in Tbilisi served with almost empty stands. According to DW, the stadium was filled with about 3 thousand seats out of 27. On the eve of the Pope were met with placards with calls to repent and to renounce heresies.
For all of the 16 foreign trips of Pope it was the most uncrowded mass, notes Reuters.
The delegation from the Georgian Orthodox Church, as expected, had to come to the ceremony in Tbilisi, but in the end did not participate. As explained by the representative of the Vatican, the bishops of the Georgian Orthodox Church was prohibited from attending Catholic mass.
The Primate of the Georgian Orthodox Church Ilia II not only ignored the event, but called on the Orthodox to come to the service. However, as the Russian service of the BBC, in the same statement, the Patriarchate of Georgia called unacceptable negative public statements of the clergy of the Pontiff.
The secular leader of Georgia, President Giorgi Margvelashvili for mass came.
On Friday Pope Francis in Tbilisi met the protest action. Participants with posters “the Vatican is the spiritual aggressor,” “Stay away from Georgia, the Antichrist” in English and Georgian languages lined up along the road leading from the airport to the city.
According to the Vatican, live in Georgia 112 thousand people – about 1% of the population. 84% of the population call themselves Orthodox.
After Tbilisi, the Pope is expected to visit Azerbaijan, and then return to Rome.