The Cathedral Full of Treasures

The Cathedral Full of Treasures

[ July, 2018 ] On the morning of the third day of our holiday in Georgia, we checked out the hotel in Tbilisi and headed north on the Military Highway.

On the way, we stopped in Mtskheta and visited the Svetitskhoveli Cathedral, which we had not been able to visit the day before.

This cathedral has many stories and treasures and that is why our guide, Ana, had declared “We must not miss this cathedral”.

First, it is the story about the crucified Christ’s robe that is very important for this cathedral.

A Jewish man from this area went to Rome and bought a part of Christ’s robe from a Roman soldier.

He brought it back here and gave it to his sister.

The sister died in a passion of faith, holding this cloth firmly, so she was buried with the cloth.

Later, in the 4th century, King Mirian, who became a Christian, tried to build a church here using a ceder tree which grew from her grave.

However, the 7th pillar kept floating and people could not push it down.

Saint Nino, who brought Christianity here, prayed hard all day everyday and, one day, this pillar landed on its own so they could build this church.

Since then, this pillar was involved in many miracles and people started calling it the “Life-Giving Column”.

In fact, the name of this cathedral, Svetitskhoveli, means “Life-Giving Column”, apparently.

In the centre of the cathedral, there was an area for the column and the site of the grave of the sister of the Jewish man and there were some prayer books there, where a woman was praying the whole time we were there.

In the 5th century, King Gorgasali, who moved the capital city from Mtskheta to Tbilisi, rebuilt the original wooden church into the stone one.

His grave is in here, too.

Gorgasali means a wolf-man and that was what the Persian enemy called him, because he was wearing a wolf-like hat.

The current building of this cathedral was built in the 11th century, by the way.

Another important treasure was the bone of St. Andrew, one of the apostles. 

There is a theory that before Saint Nino came, St. Andrew came to spread Christianity and died here, so a part of his foot bone is enshrined here.

Also, there is a part of the cross that was built by Saint Nino and King Mirian on top of the hill in 327, when this country became a Christian country.

On the exterior wall, we saw an unusual sculpture of an arm.

There is a story about this, too.

The architect who built this church invited the King at that time to come and see it when it was completed.

The king was very much impressed by this church and he cut off the architect’s arm so that he could not build another one like this.

So, the arm is there.

There were many other things to see in this cathedral.

When we got out of the building, we saw a woman talking to a priest and she was crying.

Apparently, in the Georgian Orthodox Church, people confess anywhere without getting into the confession booth and Ana told us that she was confessing.

If you do not have enough courage to talk to a priest face to face, you can also write your confession on a sheet of paper.

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