Bishop Rusudan Gotsiridze

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Rusudan Gotsiridze (born February 8, 1975) is an Consecrated bishop of the Evangelical Baptist
Church of Georgia. She is the first female bishop in Both the Evangelical Baptist Church of
Georgia, and the first ordained female bishop in the country of Georgia And East Europe. She is
a champion of women’s rights in the area, as well as an interfaith advocate, and a strong
believer in the power of education. Bishop Rusudan Gotsiridze has spoken at the United
Nations counsel about the rights of ethnic and religious minorities in her area. She is also vocal
about protection and equality of LGBTQ+ people in her part of the world. For her strong
advocacy work she was awarded the 2014 International Women of Courage Award by Michelle
Obama The former First Lady of the United States. as well as the Order of Honor awarded by
the President of Georgia in 2016.


Rusudan Gotsiridze was born in Tbilisi, Georgia, on 8 February 1975. She was born as the oldest
of three children to parents Lado and Mzia Gotsiridze.She grew up in a staunchly Baptist family
during the Soviet Union. Her grandparents were heavily involved in the church with her
grandfather, Lado Songhulashvili, being a pastor and her grandmother, Natela Songhuslashvili,
being church ….. ….. Choir member as well. The oppression of religion in the Soviet Union meant
that her family’s activity in the church was pushed underground, and she grew up in a culture of
having to hide her faith. This allowed Gotsiridze to see things from a different perspective.
Growing up, Gotsiridze saw a stark difference between what she experienced at home and what
she was taught in school.
Gotsiridze got her bachelor’s degree in Western Europium Literature from Tbilisi State University.
She received a certificate in Theology from the School of Elijah International School for Ministers
and Counselors, and in 2011 she received Master’s in Theology from Ilya State University in


In 2004 Gotsiridze was a human resources manager at World Vision International, but by 2006

Gotsiridze had been ordained as a minister, and on June 15, 2008 she was ordained as a full-
fledged Bishop of the Evangelical Baptist Church. She has since served in many capacities

including as an Elected Member of Church and Society Committee of the Conference of
European Churches (CEC) in 2009 and an Elected Chairperson of the Synod of Evangelical
Baptist Church of Georgia from 2010-2014. From 2010-2014 She taught a New Testament
Introduction class at the School of Elijah the Prophet. From 2010-2011 Gotsiridze had been a
Member of the Georgian delegation in the Theological Dialogue of the Anglican Church and
Evangelical-Baptist Church of Georgia, as well as having been an elected member of the
Analytical Board of the Religious Council in the framework of the Tolerance Centre at Public

Defender’s Office from 2012-2018. She is also a founding member of the Board of the Interfaith
Peace Movement “Institute of Muslim-Christian Fellowship.”
Today Gotsiridze is responsible for overseeing the Gori and central Kartali regions of Georgia,
which includes traveling to these regions and delivering Eucharist every month. She has also been
a member of the Jury of the Annual Media Contest by the Tolerance Center since 2012.



Outside of the church, Gotsiridze is very active in cultivating her community. From 2008-2010
she acted as the coordinator of the UNFPA Project combatting gender-based violence in Georgia
for the International Center on Conflicts and Negotiations (ICCN). From 2009-2013 she was the
ICCN’s expert on gender and religious minority issues. In 2010 She coordinated the Ecumenical
Theological Conference on “Assyrian Fathers” at Ilia State University. From 2012-2015 Gotsiridze
was the Gender consultant of Mercy Corps Georgia. She was a founding member of the board of
the Society for Positive Change organization in 2013. In 2015, she became a Member of the Jury
of the Annual Media Contest by Media Development Foundation (MDF). From 2015-2016
Gotsiridze was assisted in coordinting and conducting diversity trainings for teachers with the
Society for Positive Change (SPC) and the Tolerance and Diversity Institute (TDI). In 2016 Bishop
Rusudan conducted trainings for minority women
“Women’s Rights in Diverse Society” for the same organization.
Today you can find her as an invited lecturer in the Master’s programs of Sulkhan-Saba Orbeliani
Teaching University leading a program on gender egalitarianism in the Scripture or at Ilia State
University leading a program on women’s ordination in Christian Traditions. She is also a huge
proponent of activism in her community. She is a staunch believer in the importance of interfaith
dialogue and religious minority rights as well as LGBTQ+ and women’s rights. She spoke at the
6th annual United Nations Forum on minority issues. She spoke about religious minorities in
Georgia. She is also an expert trainer for the International Center on Conflicts and Negotiations.
Gotsiridze also uses her spare time to give many public presentations and workshops in her home
country of Georgia and around the globe.


In 2014 Bishop Rusudan Gotsiridze won the International Women of Courage award given to
her by Michelle Obama. She won the award for her outstanding activism for minority rights.
She was the first Georgian to win the award since the award’s creation in 2007.

Gotsiridze was also awarded the Order of Honor by the Georgian President, H.E. Giorgi
Margvelashvili, in 2016.

Rusudan Gotsiridze, President Giorgi Margvelashvili
Rusudan Gotsiridze, President Giorgi Margvelashvili