We talk about eating a lot in this blog. We have also talked about love. Now it’s time to talk about praying.
The Powerful Orthodox Church
Photo Source: blonde-gipsy.com
Georgians are obsessed with God, and in particular, Jesus. Our country is predominantly Christian Orthodox and we are very religious. A simple test you can do is stand anywhere in Tbilisi, look around and count the number of churches, you will be amazed at your results. You can also see people constantly stop in front of places of worship to cross themselves, showing their respect to their faith and its institution. Georgians donate over 10m USD annually to The Church. The Church doesn’t pay taxes and occasionally will be bequeathed free lots of land from parishioners’ estates. Also each of their personal services (such as baptisms or weddings) comes with a pricetag.
The Church wields enormous power over national politics. Recent polls have reported them to have an over 90% favorability rating, making it very hard for any politician to challenge the church on any issue or the privileges it enjoys. Although Georgia is known for the religious diversity, tolerance towards minorities has mostly become a history. In a neighborhood near Kote Apkhazi street in Tbilisi you can find Orthodox, Catholic, and Armenian Apostolic churches together with a Synagogue and a Mosque. Despite this, at present, religious minorities (around 15% in total) have almost no influence on Government and very low acceptance in the society outside their concentration areas.