Today, at the Administration of the Government of Georgia, at the initiative of the State Agency for Religious Issues and the Evangelical Faith Church of Georgia, a meeting was held to introduce and share the world practice of chaplain service.
The meeting was opened by the chairman of the Agency, Zaza Vashakmadze, who noted that in the developed countries of Europe and USA, as a result of the cooperation between the state and the church, the chaplain service was formed. Thus, active involvement of Georgia in these processes is of great importance. Rather that the Agency began to think about the issue immediately after its creation and in 2015 signed an agreement with the Ministry of Penitentiary, the purpose of which is to facilitate the exercise of freedom of belief and confession of convicts and probationers. In order to achieve this goal, the chairman of the Agency, within the framework of his visit to Great Britain, met with the leadership of the chaplain program and a group of scholars working on relevant topics at St. Michael's College.
At the meeting, Guram Imerlishvili, the head of the Public Relations Department of the Evangelical Faith Church of Georgia, introduced the Chief Chaplain of the Armed Forces of Ukraine and the National Police, Advisor to the Minister of Defense of Ukraine in 2020-2022, Pastor Pavlo Tsarevsky, who shared the experience of Ukrainians with the invited religious leaders. The guest gave an extensive presentation and explained the important role and function of chaplains in the military, law enforcement, penitentiary and healthcare sectors. According to him, chaplains, representatives of various religious organizations, participate not only in solving the problems of soldiers, policemen, prisoners, employees of the penitentiary system and doctors, but also actively communicate with their family members, thus helping employees in a stressful work environment to solve family problems.
After an extensive and interesting presentation, there was online participation from the United States of America, Canada and Ukraine. The head of the Canadian Chaplains Association, Bruce Ivanyshyn, Toronto police chaplain, Pastor Hilary Alcock, the priest of the Mother of God, Central Intelligence Agency chaplain, Greg Young, the Head of the Human Rights Protection Department of the National Police of Ukraine, police colonel Ruslan Goryachenko, head of the Ukrainian Chaplains Public Organization, pastor Yaroslav Malkov introduced their experience to the participants of the meeting and by demonstrating specific examples, talked about the role and function of the chaplain's service. At the end, the representatives of the religious organizations asked the chaplains questions about topics of interest to them.
The meeting was attended by the representatives of the Georgian Orthodox Church, the Jewish Union of Georgia, the Administration of All Muslims of Gerogia, the Armenian Apostolic Orthodox Church, the Apostolic Administration of the Caucasus, the Evangelical-Lutheran Church, the Evangelical-Protestant Church, the International Baptist Church of Tbilisi, the Union of Baptist Churches of Georgia, the Evangelical Faith Church, the Spiritual Council of Yazidis as well as representatives of the Ministry of IDPs, Labor, Health and Social Protection.