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Speech by External Affairs Minister at the Handing Over Ceremony of St. Queen Ketevan relics

July 10, 2021

Metropolitan Shio, President, Prime Minister, Reverends, My Georgian brothers and sisters,

गमारजोबा (Namaskar)!

Today is a special day, not only for Georgia, but also for India. I have the honour to hand over the holy relics of St. Queen Ketevan to the people of Georgia. I consider myself blessed that the purpose of my first visit to Georgia is such an auspicious one.

The holy relics were preserved at the St. Augustine Church in Goa since the 17th century. Given the immense spiritual value that this relic holds for the people of Georgia, we had kept this sacred heritage as our own. Its return is a testimony to our warm and friendly relations. I particularly thank the good people of Goa who have been such reverential custodians of this holy treasure. They have done India proud by being true to our tradition of respecting faiths.

The martyrdom of St. Queen Ketevan is a story of courage and sacrifice. Her relics were taken to India by two devoted Augustinian monks who witnessed the last years of her life. One part of the holy relics still remain in India as a reminder of our shared past. But the part which has now come back permanently to Georgia due to a decision made by Prime Minister Modi will surely inspire generations to come in this land.

The presence of some of the relics in India and Georgia is a bridge of faith between our two countries. I hope that in the coming years, the people of both of our nations will traverse that bridge, of spirituality as much as of friendship. I once again thank Metropolitan Shio for allowing me to join this sacred occasion.

दीदी मादलोबा (Thank you)

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