Green Monastery A Miracle Hidden Deep in the Woods
03 December, 2015
Green Monastery A Miracle Hidden Deep in the Woods
Green Monastery, officially known as Chitakhevi St. George Monastery, is an IX century friary located in the village of the same name, in the Borjomi municipality. According to historians and archeologists, it was built by Christopher and Tevdore, students of St. Grigol Khandtstheli, a very influential figure in Georgian history. The monastery complex includes a basilica-type church and a bell tower, also built in IX century. It is built from roughly hewn stone, with little to no decoration. The bell
tower has two floors, with a prayer room on the first and a richly ornamented pavilion on the second. The place earned its loving moniker from the locals.

“In 2002, when we came here, the nickname was already adopted. I think it was coined due to the fact that there are trees and grass everywhere, and its rough walls have a greenish tint,” says the monastery’s abbot, Father Ioakime. At the moment, the place has five inhabitants – four monks and one acolyte – though there were periods when only one person lived in and maintained the monastery. In 1987-1988, the complex was repaired, giving it the look it possesses today.

Thanks to the monks’ efforts, its courtyard is in pristine condition, and nothing breaks the silence save the tweeting of birds. It is a very calm place, which makes one feel as if he/she really is close to God.


As rumors have it, the place was raided and robbed numerous times in the past; bones that one finds if poking about hard enough around the monastery are testament to that. All bones the monks find are taken into the church, put into caskets, given last rites and buried.
In the XVI century, during the invasion of Shah Tahmasp, the monastery was sacked and religious services that were conducted within ceased. It was restored only four centuries later, in 2002, when Father Ioakime arrived to consecrate and maintain the monastery. It is said that the invading shah’s warriors tortured and murdered the monks that lived here, which, as Father Ioakime explains, is the reason why people believe that stones in the nearby river have a reddish hue.

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It is noteworthy that the stones in the river maintain their coloring regardless of season or water temperature. Monks consider this to be a miracle, since any paint fades over time when exposed to direct sunlight or a constant water current.

The local parish frequently comes to look at these stones. One of them was fished out of the river and put inside the church for display purposes. When people first heard that these stones were covered in blood, some of them began taking them home, thinking that they bring good fortune and grace. It is noteworthy that the stones in the river maintain their coloring regardless of season or water temperature. Monks consider this to be a miracle, since any paint fades over time when exposed to direct sunlight or a constant water current.

Green Monastery is considered to be part of the Borjomi-Kharagauli forested park, which is why deer and fawns are not an uncommon sight in the monastery’s vicinity. “Unfortunately, two or three times local deer were attacked by wolves close to the monastery. Nevertheless, we frequently see deer here – less so when the parish is visiting, though. They are wary of people and do not like noise,” the monks say.

Nowadays the monastery is nice and welcoming. Thanks to the monks’ efforts, its courtyard is in pristine condition, and nothing breaks the silence save the tweeting of birds. It is a very calm place, which makes one feel as if he/she really is close to God.

First photo courtesy Giorgi Nikolava

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