Stunning 1500-year-old Georgain church mosaic discovered in Israel
24 November, 2017
Stunning 1500-year-old Georgain church mosaic discovered in Israel
Georgian mosaic that counts over 1500 years has been discovered in Israel. As Jewish newspaper jpost.com reports, the well-preserved remains of a 1,500-year-old colored mosaic floor from a Georgian church or monastery was unearthed during an excavation in the coastal
city of Ashdod.

The mosaic includes a fourline Greek commemorative inscription dedicated to the structure’s builder, Bishop Procopius, as well as the year of its construction, based on the Georgian calendar.

“By the grace of God (or Jesus)], this work was done from the foundation under Procopius, our most saintly and most holy bishop, in the month Dios of the 3rd indiction, year 292,” inscription on the mosaic reads.
geotv.ge
Notably, Dr. Leah Di Segni at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, who deciphered the inscription, said the date according to the Georgian calendar corresponds to the year 539 CE, making it the earliest appearance of the use of the Georgian calendar in Israel.

“This was many years before it was used in Georgia itself,” Segni said.

According to The Israel Antiquities Authority, the city of Ashdod is believed to be home to the largest community of Jews of Georgian origin in the world.

“Testimony to the presence of the actual Georgians in the Land of Israel as far back as the Byzantine period has been found dozens of kilometers from Ashdod, [as well as in] Jerusalem and its surroundings,” said the authority’s Ashkelon district archeologist Sa’ar Ganor.

“But this is the first time that a Georgian church or monastery has been discovered on the Israeli coast” - the authority’s Ashkelon district archeologist Ganor noted.

The archeologist added that according to historical sources, the famous Georgian prince and bishop Peter the Iberian lived in Ashdod-Yam before his death.

“And now, it seems that we have uncovered actual evidence of his influence on the Byzantine city of Ashdod-Yam,” he said.

According to Ganor, this public structure, which has only now begun to come to light, is part of an extensive archeological complex in the southern part of modern Ashdod. Now the archeologists are trying hard to raise additional funds to continue the archeological excavation of Ashdod-Yam.

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