Svetitskhoveli cathedral
Svetitskhoveli cathedral

Svetitskhoveli cathedral

History of the main Cathedral in Mtskheta :

Svetitskhoveli cathedral is a Georgian orthodox church situated in the ancient historical town of Mtskheta , 20 km northwest from Tbilisi.

Christians know that throughout history this cathedral is the burial place of Christ’s mantle.

According to Georgian hagiography, in the 1st century AD a Georgian Jew named Elias was in Jerusalem when they crucified Christ.

He managed to buy Christ’s mantle from a Roman soldier and bring it back to Georgia.

When he returned back to Mtskheta, his native town, his sister Sidonia met him and after touching the mantle she immediately died from the emotions engendered by the sacred object.

They couldn’t remove The robe from her grasp and they buried her with it.

Moreover, This place where they buried Sidonia the mantle is persevered in the cathedral.

Tree of St. Nino :

Furthermore it, Later on God create a cedar tree from her grave.

they chopped the tree down and St. Nino made from it seven columns for the church’s foundation.

The seventh column had magical properties: it rose itself in the air and returned to earth only after St. Nino prayed the whole night. (Hence the name “Svetitskhoveli”).

In Georgian Sveti means “pillar” and “Tskhoveli” means “living.”

History of svetitskhoveli cathedral :

Georgians built The original church in the 4th century AD during the reign of Mirian III of Kartli .

But, Several times during the history the invasions of Arabs, Persians, Timur damaged the original cathedral .

Also, noted that some earthquakes damaged The building along the history.

The church architecture :

Restoration period began in 1970 .

But, during the reign of Vakhtang Gorgasali he built base of basilica after they found St. Nino .

Basilica was the dominant type of the Georgian church architecture before the cross-dome style emerged.

When Georgians Svetitskhoveli rebuilt in the 11th century, the architect Arsakidze and Catholicos-Patriarch Melkisedek of Georgia have chosen this type of cross-dome .

During the reign of the king Erekle II, he built a defensive wall around the cathedral in 1787.

They designed the top storey for military purposes and that is why it has gun emplacements .

Also it is worth mentioning that archeological expeditions conducted there found the house of Patriarch of the 11th century.

Svetitskhoveli cathedral is the second largest church in Georgia after Tbilisi holy trinity cathedral.

UNESCO world heritage site listed the site as an along with other historical monuments of Mtskheta.

For visiting mtskheta city you can get a look for our excursion here

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