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Catholicos-Patriarch of All Georgia
His Holiness and Beatitude Catholicos-Patriarch of All Georgia is the head of the Georgian Orthodox and Apostolic Church. The Catholicos-Patriarch is also Archbishop of Mtskheta and Tbilisi and head of the Holy Synod. His Holiness and Beatitude Ilia II has been Catholicos-Patriarch since 1977.
Catholicos-Patriarch has been the title of the heads of the Georgian Orthodox Church since 1010. The first Catholicos-Patriarch of All Georgia was Melkisedek I (1010-1033). In the 15th century the Georgian Orthodox Church was divided into the East and the West parts and accordingly they were ruled by the Catholicos-Patriarch of East Georgia and the Catholicos-Patriarch of West Georgia.
In 1801 the Kingdom of Kartl-Kakheti (Eastern Georgia) was occupied and annexed by the Tsarist Russian Empire. In 1811, the Autocephalous status (independence) of the Georgian Church was abolished by Russia and the Russian Orthodox Church took over its administration.
In 1917 the autocephaly of the Georgian Orthodox Church was restored. The first Catholicos-Patriarch of All Georgia since the restoration of autocephaly was His Holiness and Beatitude Kirion II (1917-1918).
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