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Georgia celebrates Svetitskhovloba – The day of historical cathedral
14 October, 2016
Georgian Orthodox Church celebrates the day of Christ’s Mantle, also known as Svetitskhovloba. In relation to this important religious holiday, holy masses were held throughout the country.   
On October 14, Georgian Orthodox Church also celebrates the day of King Mirian and Queen Nana, who reigned in 4th century. They were the first monarchs in the country, who converted to Christianity; this is also the day of Saint Sidonia and Saint Abiatar. 

As it is known, after Jesus Christ was crucified, his mantle was recovered by two Jews from the town of Mtskheta. They were Elioz and Longinoz. They brought the mantle to their hometown, where Elioz’s sister, Sidonia, took the mantle, embraced it and died. Sidonia and Christ’s mantle were buried together and a cypress tree grew on that place. 

In 4th century, the first Christian monarchs of Georgia, Mirian and Nana decided to build a church on that same place. As it is known, Saint Nino, who converted the royal family to Christianity and spread the religion throughout Georgia, chose the confluence of the Mtkvari and Aragvi rivers as the place of the first Georgian Church. As the legend says, one of the pillars of the church would never obey to the builders. Then, Queen Nana prayed and suddenly the pillar was raised from the earth and stopped in the air, 5 meters from the ground.The name of the church was then decided – Svetitskhoveli, which in Georgian means the Living Pillar.

After the first church was destroyed, in the 5th century, the King Vakhtang Gorgasali (the Wolf Head), ordered to build a new one - a basilica-type church and in 11th century, on the place of already very heavily damaged wooden basilica, the Catholicos of Kartli Melkisedek built another one, which stands to this day. The architect’s name was Arsukidze.Today the cathedral and the city of Mtskheta itself are considered of the most significant historical sites of Georgia. Svetitskhoveli cathedral is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Related stories:

Ancient Georgian Capital Back on UNESCO World Heritage List

Svetitskhoveli Cathedral among the most beautiful churches around the world

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