Religion is so widespread in Georgia that about 82 percent of Georgians are Georgian Orthodox Christians, about 4 percent are Russian Orthodox Christians, about 1 percent are Armenian Christians, about 11 percent are Muslims, and about 3 percent are from other religions. It can be seen that Christianity is the official religion of Georgia. Georgia was the second country in the world (after Armenia) to adopt Christianity as the official state religion in 326 AD.
Freedom and respect for religions in Georgia:
There is freedom of religion in this country, and everyone can freely practice their religion. Although the official religion of this country is Christianity, it is easy to see that the government and the people have a lot of respect for other religions, and people with different religions live peacefully together in this country.
History of Religion in Georgia:
Georgian legends say that God chose the land of Georgia to spread Christianity. Georgians believe that the Mother of God remained in Jerusalem and sent a messenger named Andre the Holy to spread Christianity in Georgia to travel from town to town and village to village, displaying a picture of God to the people. In the city of Atskuri (near the new city of Akhaltsikhe), St. Andrew was able to bring a dead person back to life, thereby encouraging the people of the city to convert to Christianity, leaving a symbol of the Mother of God in the city every year at 3 p.m. Celebrations are held in honor of this symbol on August 28 .In the first centuries AD, Christians in Georgia were severely persecuted. Until the third century, thanks to a man named St. Nineveh, Christianity was accepted as the official religion. Saint Nineveh was born in the Roman part of Cappadocia (Turkey) and was sent to this region at a young age by God to guide the people of the land of Iberia (Georgia) and to spread Christianity. Holy Nineveh was able to persuade King Miriam and his wife, Queen Nana, to build an Orthodox Christian base in the then capital of Georgia..
In the fourth century, Christianity was established steadily and extensively in Georgia, yet it faced major threats from foreign enemies, including Iranians, Arabs, Turks, and Mongols. These enemies wanted to destroy the religious beliefs of Georgian Christians, and many people were killed along the way. In 1226, the citizens of Tbilisi refused to obey Sultan JalaluddinKharazmshah, and 100,000 people, including children, were massacred. And every year on October 31 and November 13, their memory is cherished. In the 13th century, the Mongols killed thousands, and in the 16th century, Shah Abbas Safavid killed thousands.
With the beginning of the 19th century and the domination of Georgia by the Russian Empire, the Georgian Orthodox Church was inevitably merged with the Russian Orthodox Church, and after Georgia's independence in 1917, the Georgian Orthodox Church was re-established. Sirion II was elected the first archbishop until 1977 after the re-independence of the Georgian Orthodox Church, and Ilia II has been in charge since 1977.
Despite the painful past and the many encroachments of foreigners, the Christian beliefs of the Georgian Orthodox Church have become stronger. Georgia has many churches and places of worship, many of which are religious education centers. All of these churches and religious science centers are some of Georgia's top attractions, attracting many tourists from all over the world.