Mtskheta, October 14, 2016
Today Orthodox Christians in Georgia are celebrating
Mtskhetoba-Svetitskhovloba, a celebration of
Georgia’s ancient capital city and its legendary
Svetitskhoveli Cathedral, known as the burial site of
Christ’s mantle, is a Georgian Orthodox cathedral
located in the historical town of Mtskheta, 20km northwest
of the nation’s capital Tbilisi.
It is one of the principal worship sites of the Georgian
Orthodox faith and the place where many local monarchs
have been crowned and laid to rest.
Each year on this day believers and guests traditionally
Svetitskhoveli has long been the principal Georgian church
and to this day remains one of the most venerated places
of worship. Svetitskhovloba pays homage to this Cathedral,
whose name means ‘Life Giving Pillar.
The current Cathedral was built in the 11th Century by
Georgian architect Arsukisdze, although the site itself
was even older and dated back to the early 4th Century and
was surrounded by a number of legends associated primarily
with early Christian traditions.
It is the second largest church building in the country,
after the recently consecrated Tbilisi Holy Trinity
Cathedral. It is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site
along with other historical monuments of Mtskheta.
The original church was built in the 4th Century AD during
the reign of Mirian III of Kartli (Iberia). Saint Nino,
Equal to the Apostles and the Enlightener of Georgia, a
woman who preached Christianity in Georgia, was said to
have chosen the confluence of the Mtkvari and Aragvi
rivers as the place of the first Georgian Church.