Have Patriarchate, UNESCO and Ministry of Culture Reached an Agreement?
28 June, 2012

Bagrati Church to remain in the list of the world culture heritage sites

The restoration of the Bagrati church that was suspended after the Patriarch’s Sunday sermon will be resumed in full compliance with all rules and regulations. The monument will retain its original appearance but the restoration may incorporate modern and innovative details. Yesterday, the Ministry of Culture and Monument Protection of Georgia held a presentation of the ongoing Bagrati church project. There were three presenters: Minister of Culture and

Monument Protection Nikoloz Rurua, General Director of National Agency of Cultural Heritage Protection Nikoloz Vacheishvili and Italian restorer, author of JUNESCO projects and consultant Andrea Bruno.

 

Nika Rurua asserted that all UNESCO criteria are observed.

“Everything is done in accordance with the criteria from the practice of working with world monuments. As for the western side, the elevator is not important and can be easily left out. The glassy annex to the church will be just an exhibition corner to present the history of the Bagrati church. I would like to note also that the photos that are circulated in social networks are fake,” – noted Rurua.

Nika Vacheishvili says that everything that was done and is being done at the Bagrati church is in full compliance with the UNESCO criteria.

“It is a pre-requisite to bring peace of mind to the Georgian public because everything around the Bagrati church goes well. It can be said that all the high ranking criteria used in the world will be represented in the Bagrati Church,” –Vacheishvili said.

Several days ago Father Mikael Botkoveli, Representative of the Patriarchate Public Relations Service told the Resonance Newspaper that “it is not in the interests of the Church and it is not acceptable to install details defacing the church. The Hierarchy of the Orthodox Church cannot take it.”

However, after yesterday’s presentation Tamar Kvantaliani, a representative of the Press Service of the Scientific Council operating at the Patriarchate Centre of Architecture said to the Resonance Newspaper that a certain intermediary agreement has been achieved.

“The work has been suspended on the western side of the Bagrati church. Consultations are underway between the Patriarchate and the Ministry of Culture to come up with a compromise that would satisfy both the UNESCO criteria and requirements of religious services in the church.

“The Patriarchate proposed to retain the original form of the western side. In addition, the Patriarchate gave its consent on the use of modern material because it is required by the UNESCO criteria. But the glassy facade is not implied in it. Innovative material will be used to fix the restoration date of the western side,” –Kvantaliani told the Resonance.

In contrast, Tamuna Chikhladze, representative of the Press Service of the Ministry of Culture and Protection of Monuments says regarding the glassy facade that nothing has been decided so far: “The decision is still pending whether the glassy facade is to be removed or not. Certainly, the position of the Patriarchate will be taken into account. During all this time – be it the beginning or other stages – everything has been done in preliminary agreement with them. And now it goes the same way.”

Representative of UNESCO Andrea Bruno declared that the original face of the Bagrati Church will be kept intact and that this authenticity would be even more prominent after the restoration. According to him, the Bagrati church is in no danger of exclusion from UNESCO world heritage list.

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