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Sulkhan-Saba – A person every Georgian and European should now
04 November, 2017
November 4 marks the birthday of Sulkhan-Saba Orbeliani, one of the first Georgian diplomats, known as the man who “paved the road to Europe.”

Sulkhan Saba Orbeliani was an educator of the King of Kartli Vakhtang VI. Together they contributed significantly to the development of Georgian culture. In 1709 the first printing-house was established, where for the first time the Gospel and “The Knight in the Panther's Skin” (12th century epic poem by the greatest Georgian poet and philosopher Shota Rustaveli) were printed.

King Vakhtang VI and Sulkhan-Saba

As a respected member of King Vakhtang VI’s court, he was sent as an emissary to the royal courts of 17th-century European monarchs, seeking help against common enemies – the Persian and Ottoman empires.

His journey to Europe carried immense significance for Georgia. His main mission was to reach out to  Europe and inform about the difficulties Georgia was facing. It was an example of Georgia’s European choice, made centuries ago.

In 1698 Sulkhan became a monk at the Monastery David Gareji in Georgia. Since then he was called Sulkhan-Saba. It is noteworthy that the monk was the first Georgian who  converted to the Catholicism in order to build strong relations with European countries.

Apart from being a diplomat, he also was a fable-writer and a lexicographer.

was At the age of  20–25 he wrote a collection of fables and tales named Sibrdzne Sitsruisa (A Book of Wisdom and Lies), containing the observations he had made about life. Orbeliani understood both the kind and the evil sides of a human natureand unveiled these features in his stories.

His next important work was The Georgian Dictionary, which combines both a lexicon and an encyclopedia.

Printed “The Knight in the Panther's Skin”

He remained in the history of Georgia as one of the greatest enlighteners, for his deeds, commitment and works that are integral part of Georgian literature.
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