The address of the president of Georgia from the restored Bagrati Cathedral

I have the honor to greet you from the second capital of Georgia – this magnificent cathedral behind me is the restored Bagrati Cathedral.

The construction of a church or its restoration is an honorable deed. A cathedral is a house of the Lord and its construction is the greatest deed for any Christian. But it is a special feeling, when a cathedral is not only the Lord’s house, but one of the crowns of history and culture of the entire nation, the chief symbol of its unity.

This is the very status of Bagrati Cathedral.

I am delighted that I, as a president of Georgia, was given an opportunity of modest contribution in its restoration. I am happy that just as you are, I am a son of Georgia, the representative of the generation and epoch, which managed to restore the Bagrati Cathedral. I would like to thank everyone, who took part in this grandiose construction; thank every worker and constructor, all engineers and architects. I am sure that each one of you joins this gratitude.

Also, on your behalf, I would like to particularly thank his holiness the Catholicos-Patriarch of Georgia Ilia Second, whose blessing and support has been instrumental in the crowning of this great deed.

Yet, the biggest hero of today is not amongst those who have restored this cathedral, but the man who built this cathedral back then. He is the author of the idea of Georgian national unity, the first fulfiller of our statehood, and perhaps the greatest among the greatest kings of Georgia –  King Bagrat.

It was precisely him who gave the basis and fulfilled of what is of vital importance for our national existence, for the progress and success of our state – it is our unity.

It is no accident that words “Strength is in Unity” is engraved on Georgia’s state emblem. Our unity, our national existence and our integrity is the only and the most principal force, which will condition the perpetuation of our small, but ancient nation.

I often say that we are a wise nation, not because we can think and reflect better than others, but because we have a huge experience. We are one of the world’s most ancient nations, which managed to sustain its identity, which managed to sustain its language, culture and identity, which, despite huge opposition, managed to sustain its statehood.

Our wisdom is in all of those numerous lessons, which our thousand year history has taught us, and if we have learned anything, primarily, it is the fact that our strength is in our unity.

Georgia would always go forward when we were united, and it always plunged in reverse when we did not manage to unite.

You are aware that it is the election period now, and the parties are forcefully competing with each other to obtain people’s confidence and trust. It is the achievement of our democracy – each politician and party has an unlimited opportunity to conduct campaigning and bring its own views regarding the development of the country to the scrutiny of the public.

It is also an achievement of democracy that parties’ views drastically differ from each other; that it is possible to completely disagree in our views on which direction we should take our country. But, regrettably, we often witness during this pre-election campaign the fact that people involved in politics, instead of sparring of ideas and healthy polemics, often resort to the language of hatred and intolerance.

They often leave an impression as if they are not offspring of one country, but the vicious enemies of each other. 

It is unfortunate, but some politicians, intentionally or unintentionally, often put the political and their particular success above the country’s success.

Not a single political goal, not a single political ambition is worth preferring the unity of a country – hence its prospect.

If we love our country, if we want a better future for our children, we have to realize that what differentiates us is very little in relation to what unites us.

The idea of King Bagrat unites us, what unites us is what King David the Builder had fought for; what Ilia Chavchavadze had died for.

This idea is about a united and strong Georgia; it is about the prosperity of our citizens.

We can have a different economic outlook, but we cannot disagree on the goal – to never return our country to the swamp of corruption. We can have different views regarding the security policy, but we cannot disagree on the common wish – to never surrender our country to legal thieves and organized crime.

We might have different views about Georgia’s foreign policy, but it is inconceivable to disagree on the common aspiration – to attain de-occupation and unification of our country.

We can have differences in liking or trusting (there are such people too) Putin’s regime, it is impossible not be united in the view that the relations with Russia should not by any means be maintained at the expense of national interest and the sovereignty of Georgia. 

We can have a different outlook on the world political map, but it is impossible not to be united in the centuries’ long aspiration of the Georgian nation towards Europe and say no to its referendum’s wish – for Georgia to become a member of NATO.

That is why today, precisely from the restored Bagrati Cathedral, which also is a symbol of restoration and unity of Georgia, I call upon all parties towards unity. Despite many differences between us, I call on each political party to be united, foremost, as Georgians and patriots of Georgia.

Let us unite around the common goal, so that corruption never returns to Georgia.

Let us agree that we are united by a common will to never allow the reign of legal thieves and organized crime in our country again.

That we will fight united for the withdrawal of Russian troops from Georgia and for the unification of the country.

Let us unite around the fact we will never conduct relations with Russia at the expense of our national interests and sovereignty.

Let us agree that we will be united in the commitment to the European aspiration of the Georgian nation and that we will together work on obtaining the NATO membership status for Georgia.

For the progress of our country, it is necessary that all political parties are united.

It is necessary for our people, to whom internal political divides and confrontations will not bring any good. 

What we need the most today is stability and economic development. It is no time for destruction now – it is only time for construction.

People have many problems anyways; many are unemployed, many still do not have access to good healthcare; villages need much support…

There are many difficulties anyways for more new difficulties to be added as a result of confrontations between the political parties.

Not a single personal ambition of a politician is worth the hindering the progress of even one family.

We should be united, my friends, so that people get more benefits as a result of the recent development, so that every family experiences the progress, which our country is clearly undergoing.

Let us not be afraid of unity, let us agree that we are united around the most important issues of our country and people, and with this state loudly for everyone – for the nation and the people, for the enemy and friend, - each one of us, first and foremost, is a patriot of Georgia and only after this we are Christian-democrat or a laborer, nationalist or a dreamer, a rightist or leftist.

The great Bagrati Cathedral is now restored – is restored as a symbol of the immortality of the idea of unity, as a symbol of reconstruction of the ruined and restoring the broken.

Let us now restore our national unity.

I join the Patriarch’s call for everyone together, regardless of party views, to come here on the blessing of this cathedral.

Perhaps, many things divide us, but there are issues, around which we should not draw and bring forward the line of division, as in the end, the defeat of our enemy and victory of our nation rests in one principal force, which has always been a precondition of Georgia’s survival – our strength is in our unity.

Thank you.






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