The Public Relations Service of the Georgian Patriarchate has released a statement which is presented below:
"Information saying that Georgia's Orthodox Church refused to admit that the virus existed and defied recommendations by the government and healthcare organizations during the first wave of the new coronavirus (COVID-19) disease has been actively disseminated to the public. This information is not close to the truth.
To better inform the public, as a counterweight to the issued accusations, below we present the excerpts from the statements by the Church, including the decisions by the Holy Synod and the address by the Catholicos-Patriarch of All Georgia, the Public Relations Service, the Georgian Patriarchate, and so on.
As for some religious servants' statements, they are far from showing the Church's unanimous and official position; moreover, these statements are against the Church's position.
For now, we present an important excerpt from the 1 April 2020 address by the Catholicos-Patriarch of All Georgia.
"Due to the existing situation, I am asking you, my spiritual children, to follow our advice: these are testing times for us, and before it passes, abide by the rules as follows:
Keep a safe distance from people, including in churches and their yards.
Religious servants will be provided with further advice in view of the existing situation.
Senior citizens, people at higher risk, and those who take extreme precautions as they are already infected must stay at home.
In the case of a desire or urgency, their spiritual fathers will visit them and render all necessary services."