Ekvtime Takaishvili – The Man of God and guardian of Georgia’s treasure
20 January, 2016
Ekvtime Takaishvili – The Man of God and guardian of Georgia’s treasure
The historian, archaeologist and public figure - January marks Ekvtime Takaishvili’s 153rd birthday. His contribution in Georgian history is immeasurable.

Ekvtime Takaishviliwas born on January 5, 1863, in Likhauri, Guria region. In 1887 he graduated from History & Philology department of Saint Petersburg University and returned home as a Philosophy Doctor.

Ekvtime Takaishvili was pursuing an active scientific, pedagogical and public career and thought that his duty was to collect materials for historical and archaeological researches in Georgia.

In 1907, Ekvtime founded the ‘Historic and Ethnographic Society of Georgia’, which, in several years, collected a very significant number of materials.

Apart from that, Takaishvili fought for the restoration of autocephaly of Georgian Orthodox Church and made a great contribution in founding Tbilisi State University in 1918.
In 1921, when Soviet troops invaded Tbilisi, the Menshevik government of Georgia was evacuated to France and they took with them the historically and culturally valuable treasure, as well as manuscripts. The national treasure was accompanied by Ekvtime Takaishvili and that’s where his biggest mission began.

Treasure saved by Ekvtime Takaishvili

St. George icon. 11th century



Living in France, Takaishvili went on with his scientific activities. In 1922, he was elected a member of Paris Numismatic Society and in 1925 – a member of Oriental Society of France. In 1937-1939, Takaishvili was a chairman of a foundation that he himself founded. It was called ‘The Georgian Cultural and Archaeological Materials Publishing’. Apart from that, he was a member of editorial council of a magazine called Georgica. However, while living in France, Ekvtime Takaishvili’s main goal was to preserve the Georgian national treasure and the treasure really needed protection. British and American museums were interested in purchasing the items and the widow of Count Obolensky, Georgian princess, Salome Dadiani claimed she was the only true heiress of the treasure. She even started a legal action against Takaishvili. During WWII, the Nazis searched the apartment of Takaishvili but found nothing. Later, the French government claimed the treasure should have been given to the Louvre museum. In 1935, the Georgian government in exile officially entrusted the treasure to Ekvtime Takaishvili.

Takaishvili was living in very poor conditions. In 1931, his wife, Nino died. Already very old, Ekvtime was left alone. Many times he was on the verge of death, but the word given to God and his people gave him power to survive.
In 1945, when the allied
forces took victory in WWII, it was time to return to Georgia and bring back the treasure. After an agreement between France and the Soviet Union, the treasure was loaded to the American plane and was flown to Tbilisi. Takaishvili also returned to his homeland.

The plane touched down at Tbilisi airport on April 11, 1945. When Ekvtime stepped on Georgian soil, he looked at the sky, then kneeled and kissed the earth.

He was restored at the Tbilisi State University, was elected as a member of the Academy. In later years he made several public speeches. In 1951, the Soviet regime began to oppress Takaishvili. His adopted daughter, Lida Poltoiratskaya was arrested and in 1952 Ekvtime himself was fired from the university.
This made a serious negative impact on Takaishvili and in February 1953, just a month before Joseph Stalin’s death, he died of cardiac arrest.

In 2002, the congress of Georgia’s Holy Synod canonized him as Ekvtime the Man of God and a medal in his honor was founded. In 2008, the Ekvtime the Man of God Church was built in Tbilisi.

The Icon of St Ekvtime the Man of God

Other Stories
Which Georgian films will hit the screen in 2017
International publications have been writing about various successful Georgian films lately.
Georgia named the best at Cannes Lions International Festival
On October 17-18, London hosted the 64th gathering of the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity.
New Georgian animation Lile to be completed soon
A new Georgian short animation named Lile will soon be completed.
Sukhishvili ensemble dancers open Tbilisi Fashion Week in extraordinary costumes
The members of Georgian National Ballet Sukhishvili have opened the Tbilisi Fashion Week with superb show.
8 Georgian designers at ‘WHITE Milano’ trade show
Eight talented Georgian designers showcased their latest collections to the most prestigious retailers in Milan – one of the world’s most important fashion capitals,
Levan Tsutskiridze on Creation & Inspiration
GEORGIA TODAY, together with BI Auction for Art, is introducing a regular monthly feature about famous Georgian painters.
Ornella Muti’s “Handsome Georgian Knight” – Otar Koberidze
In 1990s there was a magazine called New Films and its office was often visited by famous actors and directors like Otar Koberidze.
  'Tangerines' Director's New Film 'Monk' Gets Nabbed by Picture Tree International
Georgian director Zaza Urushadze, whose film Tangerines was shortlisted both for the Oscars and Golden Globe in 2015,
Katie Melua interview: 'The oddest thing about this job is the sense of superiority you get'
Having survived a breakdown, Melua is armed with a new perspective and releases her more leftfield album, In Winter, this week, the Independent informs.
Georgian director’s movie wins the main prize at Asian International Film Festival
A Feature film project MAY 17 by Georgian film director Rati Tsiteladze and written by Nino Varsimashvili won main prize at the Asian International Film Festival.
“Georgian Photographs” – Dutch photographer’s exhibition in Tbilisi
Maurice Wolf, a Dutch photographer, who has traveled a lot throughout Georgia and taken many inserting photos of its landscapes,
Sunken Treasure: Hamlet Gonashvili, ‘the voice of Georgia’
The history of recorded music only stretches back a century or so but the polyphonic singing of Georgia was reverberating
“Tbilisi’s underground music scene is “like Berlin in the 90s” – The Guardian
The Guardian has published an article featuring some of the most distinguished and tasteful underground clubs with good music after London and Berlin,
 Georgia lost a great artist: Famous monumental sculptor Merab Berdzenishvili dies at 87
A famous Georgian sculptor, painter and graphic artist, a holder of Shota Rustaveli State Prize, Merab Berdzenishvili died
A girl with a jar of fireflies – Georgian artist Ruso Margishvili
Georgian architect and illustrator Ruso Margishvili, who currently lives and works in New York
Georgian pianist who played at President Obama’s inauguration ceremony
Temur Akhobadze, a Georgian pianist who lived in America, is less known in his homeland.
89-year-old Georgian writer nominated for Nobel Prize
Giwi Margwelaschwili, a famous Georgian writer and philosopher is presented to the Nobel Prize.
Georgian modernist artist’s works presented at Google Cultural Institute
From now on 20th century progressive Georgian artist Petre Otskheli’s masterpieces can be seen at Google Cultural Institute
Unknown legend on Georgia’s Queen Tamar and poet Shota Rustaveli
This as yet unknown legend about Georgia’s Queen Tamar and outstanding Georgian medieval author Shota Rustaveli,
Georgian Jewelry-Makers Set for International Success
Some nine months ago, three Georgian girls, childhood friends Teko Urushadze, Natia Lagidze and Tamta Lazishvili came up with an ambitious plan
Georgian Sukhishvilebi Rejects Invite to Perform in Occupied Crimea
TBILISI - Georgia’s National Ballet Company Sukhishvilebi has refused an invite to perform in Crimea
Front Line Village in Georgia to Host International Animation Film Festival
NIKOZI, Georgia – Georgia’ small village Nikozi, located only 500 meters from the Russian occupied South Ossetia region
Georgian artist’s digital painting featured at ArtPeople Gallery
Georgian artist Irakli Nadar’s digital painting has been featured at famous international art page named Art People Gallery.
'Stalin sent grandad to Siberia': Katie Melua goes home to Georgia
The pop star behind Nine Million Bicycles left Georgia when she was nine years old.
Georgian artist’s works on Mount Athos monasteries
After 150 year break, Georgian liturgy tradition was restored on Mount Athos
Other Stories
20-year-old Georgian violinist Veriko Chumburidze has become the winner of prestigious Wieniawski International Violin Competition
Katie Melua’s new album recorded with the Gori Women’s Choir has been released.
Around 1000 Georgian films shot between 1916 and 1990 and kept in Russia’s Gosfilmofond, a  state-run fund, will be soon transferred to Georgia.
The performances of Georgian National Ballet Sukhishvilis always attract hundreds of people and receive storms of applause.
World-renowned Georgian pianist Khatia Buniatishvili was awarded with a prestigious musical prize Echo Klassik in Berlin, Germany.
Famous Italian duo from Berlin Tale Of Us used Georgian chant dedicated to the deceased in their track which they played at Afterlife, on Ibiza, on September 1.
Georgian model Ana Shelia took part in the fashion show of famous brand of women’s lingerie Etam
Georgian-born British star Katie Melua came back to her home country to record a new album called “In Winter” with the famous Gori Women’s Choir.
”Filmed at the lovingly restored Tbilisi Opera House, we’d like to present the brand new video for Dreams on Fire.
His friends told him many stories about Tbilisi and he was so impressed that he decided to visit this country.
GEL Exchange