Georgian Patriarch Ilia II, with the Georgian Orthodox Church delegation, left for Moscow on 23 July. "We are going to visit Moscow, Kiev and Minsk. The Russian Orthodox Church is marking 1025 years from conversion [to Christianity]. We will meet the Russian Patriarch and other leaders of the Church, as well as the [Russian] President. We hope to return back to Georgia with positive results," Georgian Patriarch said before departing to the Russian capital.
According to protopresbyter Giorgi Zviadadze, on 23 July the heads of local churches and the high-rank clerics will meet the Russian President, as well as the President of Ukraine on 27 July and the President of Belarus on 29 July.
Patriarch of Georgia last visited Moscow on 20 January, when he was awarded by the Russian Patriarchate and the International Social Unity Foundation. Patriarch Ilia II said during his visit in Moscow that Vladimir Putin would do his best for Georgia and Russia to "remain as brothers." The Patriarch also described Russian occupation of Georgia as a "mistake."
"The aim of my visit is to begin correcting the mistakes that we have made in abundance. I think we will be brave and wise enough to correct these mistakes. I met Vladimir Putin and we agreed that it should not continue like this. Russian President will do everything in order for us to stay as brothers. Whatever happened is neither fault of Russia, nor of Georgia. It was the fault of particular persons. Georgians are passionate in love and in doing good deeds. I thank all of you here for loving Georgia. Love between Georgia and Russia will stay forever," the Georgian Patriarch said when visiting sculptor Zurab Tsereteli's studio in Moscow.
The President of Russia described Patriarch Ilia II as a "real Georgian." "Russia and Georgia have a lot in common, left alone religious, spiritual links. I met the Patriarch. He is a very kind person, a real Georgian. There was not a single second when he did not talk about Georgia's and the Georgian people's interests. But he does all of it wisely, mildly, calmly," Putin said.