Iv.Javakhishvili INSTITUTE OF HISTORY. AND ETHNO.

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Vazha Kiknadze: Istanbul (Constantinople) and Hagia-Sophia in the Writings of Georgian Travelers

    Director, Iv. Javakhishvili Institute of

     History and Ethnology

    Full professor of Tbilisi State University

         Georgia 
 

     one of the most widespread in the Georgian writings. Although Georgians had already travelled on the Holly Land and Jerusalem in 5th-7th centuries, the traveler’s descriptions appeared considerably later, by the beginning of the 18th century.

    Istanbul (Constantinople) draw a great interest of Georgian travelers, being the city of ancient Christian traditions, located on the crossroad of Europe and Asia. Visiting the biggest Christian temple Hagia-Sophia, already transformed into the Mosque by that times, was a significant part of their journey. Besides, Istanbul served to be the center of the new Ottoman Empire, determining the fate of dozens of states of the Near East. Number of travelers of those times, in the midst of the Russian-Ottoman confrontation, entered into the diplomatic missions and intelligence service as well.

    Before discussing Traveler’s notes from 18th-19th centuries, some earlier documents should be revewed, containing valuable notes on Istanbul (Constantinople).

    In 1500-1501 someone, Ambrosi, brought up under the auspices of Atabag of Samtskhe – Khaikhosro – travelled to Jerusalem, being directed by the new Atabag Mzechabuki, brother of Khaikhosro. According to his notes, on his way to Jerusalem, he visited Constantinople, bringing lots of donation to the local churches and monasteries1.

    By the end of the 17th century the Georgian Nune Marta visited Jerusalem. She writes with great sadness that the Georgian Monasteries of Jerusalem were occupied by other nationalities (For example: The Monastery of St. Jacob was seized by Armenians, the Church of the Holy Sepulchre – by the “French” i.e. Catholics). Marta suggests to the church personalities and Georgian nobility to send mission to “Stambol” (the letter transcripts the name of the city in this way) visiting Khvantqar (Sultan) and make the deal over the Georgian Monasteries of Jerusalem with him. Besides, she urges to the Catholicos of Western Georgia that the problem should be solved personally by Georgians, and not to hope for assistance of others. She directly points to the “other;” As Marta writes, “Moscow did not manage to do something profitable”, thus not hope for Moscow (Russia) and make direct relations with Sultan of the Ottoman Empire, she argues.2

    By the beginning of the 18th century, in 1713, Sulkhan-Saba Orbeliani (1658-1725) famous Georgian writer, diplomat and lexicographer, left for Europe with a special mission. His route passed through Constantinople-Marsel-Paris-Rome and some other cities of Italy: Genoa, Pisa, Livorno; On his way back he passed through Constantinople to Georgia. Unfortunately the first part of his travelling was not preserved and his diary starts with the description of his way back to Georgia.

    Sulkhan-Saba visited the King of France Louis XIV, Pope of Rome Kliment XI and some other European leaders in 1714 -1716. His mission set as its task to help the king Vakhtang VI out of trouble, being imprisoned in Persia. Besides, the mission looked for the possibility of getting assistance from the side of the European Christian Countries and the Pope of Rome to Georgia. Both of the missions were not fulfilled. It seems Sulkhan-Saba got Catholicism in hope of the success of the mission (the rite of Basilian Order).

    As for Constantinople (Istanbul), the city is mentioned several times by Sulkhan-Saba Orbeliani. He spent 17 months in Istanbul on his way back to Georgia, but he shortly describes the city in his diary. It should be mentioned that Sulkhan-Saba Orbeliani, with the representative of France, Jan Rishard, visited Constantinople on November 15, 1713 very first time, but the case is not mentioned in his notes, rather preserved in European sources. The sources reveal that on January 28, 1713, Sulkhan-Saba Orbeliani sent letter to the imprisoned king of Kartli Vakhtang VI from Constantinople3. Approaching the city he wrote: “On January 27 [1715, V.K.] the side wind was blowing and the night was dark and foggy . . . we were at the entrance of Constantinople. We could not enter to the harbor as the wind was coming from there. As it was night, the captain of the ship could not determine the course and the ship set down on sandy shoal. God protected us that the shoal was not rocky, as our ship would be destroyed . . . with the sunrise the ship tiered away from the shoal and we entered to the Constantinople, camping near Iedi-Kule.”4

    Sulkhan-Saba Orbeliani goes on to describe his travelling, mentioning that “Ianichar’s” small ship met them at the entrance of the city . . .  Sulkhan-Saba and his accompanies rounded the city. As Orbeliani wrote, “It’s a big city with dozens of huge buildings but as arrived from France (Europe, V.K.) we did not like it.” Earlier, describing Genoa in his Diary, Sulkhan-Saba Orbeliani mentions that both cities Genoa and Constantinople have a huge fence, 6 “eji” or 18 miles in length (“Eji” was the ancient measuring unit; 1 Eji equals 4.5 Km), although mentioning that no beauty, wealth, law and calm could be found in Constantinople, like the one, in Genoa5.

    Thus, Sulkhan-Saba Orbeliani liked the city of Constantinople rather less than one of Europe, stressing that European cities were more impressive; Although he mentioned that Istanbul had a remarkable geographical location. The only restored and re-painted building in white was the fortress of Edi-Kule. Sulkhan Saba Orbeliani stressed that as at that time it was the residence of the Ambassador of Russia, the all 7 towers of the fortress were restored and renovated6.

    On March 6, evening the outskirts of Constantinople – Skudara, Pera, Galata and the nearby Minars were lightning. As Sulkhan Saba Orbeliani mentioned, the event was the part of celebration of the victory of Sultan (probably Sultan Ahmed II (1703-1730) is meant). At the same time, it was the night of birth of Muhhammed. The following days hosted the parade of ships as well. Sulkhan- Saba Orbeliani points to the one, with 120 cannons and some 1800 soldiers. The ethnic composition of Istanbul is also provided by Sulkhan-Saba Orbeliani. He mentions the portion of the population, paying contribution to the Sultan (Males aged between 15-60). As Orbeliani mentions, the city and the outskirts were inhabited by Greeks – 43 thousand, Armenians – 17 thousand, Jews – 12 thousand, “French” (Europeans) – 2 thousand; As well as visiting Christians – 4 thousand and prisoners from different countries – 2 thousand. The Turkish population comprised 475 thousand in city. Besides, Frenchs and Turks did not pay contribution to Sultan7. As we have mentioned, Sulkhan Saba Orbeliani spent 17 months in Constantinople and later was back to Georgia. He was accompanied by Catholic missionaries: three “Capuchins” (members of the Order of Capucins) and one Jesuit priest, to conduct his mission in Shirvan8. It is the information preserved on Constantinople in the writings of Sulkhan-Saba Orbeliani. As for Hagia Sophia, it is shortly mentioned by Sulkhan-Saba Orbeliani, while discussing sightseeing of the city Rome. Orbeliani wrote that he saw the grave of St. Sofia in one of the local Monasteries, explaining that Emperor of Byzantium Justinian built the temple of Hagia Sophia in Constantinople in the name of St. Sofia9. Although we should not trust to the note as long as Hagia-Sophia was built in the name of “Wisdom of Our Savior” (Sophia) and not in the name of St. Sofia.

    Timote Gabashvili (the end of 17th century – 1764) is the next author who comes with the valuable notes in the description of his travelling. Bishop Timote Gabashvili went through the hard life, like his own country. He was born in Kartli but left for the Western Georgia, Kutaisi from 30s of the 18th century. He got the rank of Metropolitan of Kutaisi. In 1738 he left for Russia with diplomatic mission under the auspices of King of Imereti, Alexandre V. It seems he carried with him the map of the Western Georgia, worked out by him. Not only geographic places and churches are depicted on the map (in shape of small drawings, rather then through conditional signs) but strategic locations and fortresses are also provided. The map brings the number and ammunition of Turkish soldiers, dislocated in the fortresses. Besides, Roads, harbors, rivers and minerals are also depicted10. It sems the main task of Timote Gabashvili, as set by the King of Imereti, Alexandre, was to get real military support and financial aid from Russia. Although the mission was not successful and Gabashvili was back to the Eastern Georgia in 1749. From 1753 he received the title of Archbishop of Kartli.

    In 1755-1759 Timote travelled to Mount Athos and Jerusalem via Constantinople. In 1759 he was back to Kartli and shortly left for Russia in 1761. He asked the Russian autorities to allow him  to live either in Moscow or St.Petersburg, but before getting the permission he died in Astrakhan, in 1764.

    Timote Gabashvili three times travelled to Istanbul: in May-July 1756, from Autumn 1756 to Spring 1757, and in Summer 175811. There are general descriptions of Stambul, although some interesting ideas could be found.

    Timote describes his first visit, mentioning that he left from Mount Athos by Ship ahead to Istanbul. He crossed through s. c. “lower Troada” and Bogaisar. As heavy wind was blowing, he spent that night visiting Archbishop of “Galiopolis”. “On the second day I passed through the place, where the stone of Communion Table of Hagia Sophia was sunk in the sea,” he wrote. Timote  further clarifies that the Communion Table was made of metal, ordered by the Emperor Justinian. After the seizure of Constantinople by Venetians (i.e. Crusaders) in 1204, the temple of Hagia Sophia was robbed and the Communion Table dropped in the sea. According to Archbishop Timote, the chrism is coming out from the place, the Communion Table was sunk12. Author goes on to describe the outskirts of the city – “Barutkhana” and “Demirkhafis” before entering the city, as well as the palace called “Daudpasha”. Timote writes that the buildings of the city were impressive, whereas describing the temple of Hagia Sophia, mentions that “it was seen as a “high mountain” in the midst of the surrounded buildings.”13

    Timote described Istanbul in the following way: “the meeting point of mounts, lands, and seas; the place where Asia and Europe meet.” Timote mentions the place called “Gold City”, named as Uskudara at that times, on the side of Anatolia. In the middle of the city there is Galata and some other places14. Going on to describe Istanbul, he writes: “this is the most beautiful city in the world, being founded by Sabaoth.”15 The both banks of the sea are covered with the cypress tress. Fortresses and towers are huge and colorful. Palaces are so colorful that the city looks like a Garden of Eden. Constantinople is described in the following way: “Palaces, arches, markets, all are gilded, some of them sparkling like a sun, other like a glazed tile. Purple color could be caught all around, resembling the red color of Magrib. Ships, near the city, swinging like the trees. The gardens of the city are full of different kinds of plants – fir-trees, cypress, pine-trees, covering buildings like curtain.”16

    Timote does not doubt to hide his feelings concerning the fact that Istanbul is no longer a Christian city. As he puts it, Christians were punished by God for their sins and taking away the city. As Timote writes, “Constantinople is the Venus among stars, rose among flowers. Its a rubby (sapphire) among precious stones, rainbow between clouds and Caesar Augustus among kings.”17

    As we could see, as different from Sulkhan-Saba Orbeliani, Timote refers to lots of artistic comparisons to describe the city. He compares Constantinople to the Biblical Garden of Eden, God drove out people for their sins. Although Timote does not refer to his diplomatic and secret service missions, probably set by the government of Russia and the kings of Georgia (Kartli-Kakheti and Imereti) in his diaries, but scholars confess that such tasks were set in front of Timote18. Timote’s contact in Istanbul with the inhabitants of village Ali, Kartli Region, could come as an indirect testimony of the statement. It seems Timote sent confidential information to the kings of Kartl-Kakheti (Teimuraz II and Erekle) with the help of these peasants19. There are testimonials of his interest towards Christian sights, but also towards military units20.  

    Iona (Gedevanishvili) bishop of Ruisi, is the next author who comes next among our targeted personalities. He was born at the end of the 17th century, in Kartli. From 1755 he is the bishop of Ruisi. In 1780, Bishop Iona was prohibited of ecclesiastical activities for unknown offence. In 1783 he leaves for a short tour to meet Eastern Patriarchs, asking them for restoration of religious rite. Than he traveled on Holly Land, Jerusalem, Mount Athos, Egypt, Venice, Europe, Poland, Romania, Moldavia, etc. Iona Gedevanishvili travelled for 12 years and spent his last years in Kiev and Moscow. He died in 1821, in Moscow.

    Among many other cities he visited Constantinople and made its description. The description of his travelling resembles much to the descriptions of Timote Gabashvili, although some differences could be easily caught. The chapter, dedicated to the description of Constantinople opens as follows: “There are lots of fortresses on the both banks of Bogaisar. The fortresses are lightning, to make the way for ships easily passed and securing them from crashing on to the cliff. These [lightings] are called “lanterns”.21 Then Iona goes on to list the districts and outskirts of Istanbul: Uskudara, Arnautqoi, Gaurqoi (my be “Giaurqoi”), Enisarqoi, Istanqoi, etc22. As Bishop Iona describes, in front of the Winter Palace of Sultan on a huge square, the high, quadrangle column of stone is constructed (Obelisk) and the column made of metal could be caught at a glimpse nearby23. The editor of “Pilgrimage”, the 19th century historian Platon Ioseliani, mentions that the case is on the obelisk, standing on the place of old hippodrome, by that times called “atmeidan”. As for the column made of metal, as he tells us, it is the column, brought to Constantinople from Rome by the Emperor Constantine the Great putting small piece of crucifix on it24.

    According to Iona Gedevanishvili there were 24 orthodox churches at that times in Istanbul25. One of Churches were owned by Armenians, whereas French Catholics were in disposition of non of them. Iona Bishop describes the process of getting out of Sultan from his winter palace, located at the shore of the Bleak Sea. As he puts it, “the small boat, the Sultan got out was covered with the small umbrella, the 24 sailors, with colorful oars were synchronically moving it on the sea, making boat resembled to the bird, moving his wings.”26 Coming close to arsenal Sultan was welcomed with the fire of cannons, the same fire of cannons met him at the entrance of the winter palace. Sultan was accompanied with his two sons. According to the norms set, he was met by the “Stambol Efendi” (head of city Istanbul) and “Milahor” (head of stable). They brought the horse of Sultan, with equipment covered with diamond and ruby. Sultan was dressed in a wealthy way, with a crown tied in the middle of the front side. Iona mentions, that the Serbian monks and himself met the Sultan dressed in ecclesiastical clothes, not rejected or opposed by the guards of Sultan27.

    Iona Gedevanishvili, according to the directions of Paisios, the exarch of Patriarch of Constantinople was hosted at the cell of the Church of Mother of God. He spent 4 months in Constantinople. During his stay in Constantinople Iona visited the Church of Apostols (residence of the Patriarch of Constantinople), St. George Church (residence of Patriarchate of Jerusalem). They were located in the Christian district, called “Paran”. Iona visited to the Temple of Hagya Sophia  as well, stating that, “no mosque could come close to it except the one, called “Sultan Baia.” Beyond the boundaries of Constantinople, on the way of Adrianopolis (“Adrana-Iapa”) Bishop visited the monastery of “Source of Life”, with a cold spring running nearby and a pool full of fishes. From this place Iona left for Khalkidon (“Kadi-Koi”). As Platon Ioseliani mentions, there could not be found the place, once hosting the 4th World Ecclesiastical Consil28.

    The next author who bringing long description of Istanbul of his “Travelling” is Giorgi Avalishvili (1769-1850). As different from other travelers he is a secular person. Besides “Travelling” some other literature genre type writings of him are well-known. Avalishvili is well known for his translating activities as well. His writings point to the fact that he was in service of the Russian state interests. He spent his last years and died in Russia. From Tbilisi Giorgi Avalishvili left for Sokhumi, coming to Constantinople (Istanbul) via Crimea. After Istanbul he crossed the seas of Aegian and Marmara and after visiting Egypt came to Jerusalem. On his way back he took another route. From Jerusalem he went to Iafa, visited island Cyprus and came to the Southern Anatolia, crossing it from South to the North-Eastern direction (Mersinia-Erzrum-Kars). Afterwards he went to Gumri and returned back to Georgia. Thus, he covered a huge area during his travelling.

    G.Avalishvili stayed in Constantinople for 40 days. Besides the description of the city, he left some valuable paintings of sightseeing’s of the Constantinople. Familiarization with the foreign and unknown countries, with their customs and traditions, as well as local systems of governance are set as the main tasks of his travelling by Avalishvili29. At the same time he does not doubt to mention the prosperity of the Russian Empire and its “liberating” missions. He even mentions the fact of receiving secret packages from the Patriarchs of Constantinople and Jerusalem to be delivered to the Russian ecclesiastical and secular personalities of Russia30.

    The language of Giorgi Avalishvili is not an easy one; On the one hand he artificially creates some new Georgian words, whereas simultaneously he refers to Turkish, Russian and some other terms from various languages. The description of Avalishvili’s “Travelling” has some peculiarities as well. He pays too much attention to his personal statements, provides the content of his dialogue with various personalities, occasionally meeting time to time, as well as bringing rumors and gossips.

    After seen Constantinople from the sea, Giorgi Avalishvili poetically referred to it similar to other travelers, writing that the streets of Constantinople is covered with different kinds of tress: Cyprees, Firtrees, Planetrees (Platanus), Laurel; And the springs are running between them.31 This is the mode of Avalishvili describing the city of Constantinople. He describes those days suburb of Constantinople, called Beiuqdara, where he spent some 40 days. As Avalishvili notes, the district was the residence of different ambassadors to Constantinople. The house of ambassador of Russia, Grigorii Stroganov was located nearby. There were the wells in the yards and the small springs were running between houses. Giorgi Avalishvili mentions that 500 Greek, 200 French (European), 5 Armenian and 12 Muslim families were residing in Beiuqdara at that time. Greeks and “French” had one church each in this district, whereas Armenians were in possession of none of them. Muslims had two mosques.32

    Avalishvili provides detailed description of the different districts of Constantinople. He mentions that the valley of “Chair” was located near Beiuqdara, entertaining place of the whole Istanbul. The colorful tents were placed between rows of plane trees. There was standing the precious throne, representatives of nobility women’s travelled with it. As Avalishvili mentions, the throne resembled to the travelling cart of Kalmyk and Nogais.33

    The oldest and biggest Planetree was standing, on “Chair” valley. It was 69 steps long all-around. According to the oral traditions it was planted by the Emperor Constantine the Great, although author mentioned that it could approximately 400 years old.34 As author mentions he saw the ancient Roman aqueduct (arch type building, crossed by the water pipes) on the valley. Aqueduct still functioned at the time, Avalishvili visited the place. Only one branch of it was not functioning, watering the roots of plane in ancient times.35

    In the district of “Ieniqoi” (“The New Village”) G.Avalishvili visited St. George’s Church, where author met, the local church autorities and among them Georgian archbishop and the newly arrived monk from David Gareja monastery – Iostoss. Author had a long dialogue with them, although he does not clarify its content.

    On his way back to Constantinople, G. Avalishvili described the Summer and Winter Palaces of Sultans of the Ottoman Empire, and the residence of Sultan’s women (“Sultanaa”).36 As Giorgi Avalishvili writes, the Summer Palace of Sultan was decorated with marble columns and some partes of bronze covered with gold. It was a two storey building, decorated with white and colorless marble as well and roofed with metal covered with gold. As for the Winter Palace of Sultan, as author puts it, the palace was built on the place of the palace of the Constantine the Great, at the Southern side of the meeting point of the Black and Marmara Seas. The golden frames of the windows of the first store of this building made the difference between them, whereas the roof was covered with silver. The small gate of the palace was covered with metal, golden plates, as well.37

    Giorgi Avalishvili poetically describes the boat journey of Sultan Mahmud (Mahmud II 1808-1839 is meant). According to him: “long and narrow boats, 32 in total were accompanied him, there surfaces were covered with gold and colorfully painted. Among them the boat of Sultan was floating. The Sultan’s boat had the red velvet shadow canvas in the midle of it. On each corner of the canvas there were clung the carved gilded bronze luminaires in which were inserted crystalls.”38

    The underground water container – masterpiece of Byzantine era, so called “Binbirdirag” is described by Giorgi Avalishvili. The huge underground hall was hosting 212 colourfull columns. At the times of Avalishvili’s visit, it was already made as a silk factory.39

    Avalishvili tries not to miss any valuable artifact of the past. The old Roman memorial column of Ereqtash is mentioned by him, although he could not fix the date of its construction.40 He also visited the old hippodrome (“Atmeidan”), where two Egyptian obelisks were standing. As some authors mention, they could read the name of Queen Cleopatra on the first of it.41 The second obelisk was 94 cubit high, located at the end of hippodrome. Among these two obelisks the metal column was standing, with metal snakes rolled around it. According to Avalishvili, presumably the column was standing in the Temple of Apollo.42

    One of the districts of Constantinople, Teqirsarai, is shortly described by Avalishvili, where the remnants of the palace of commander of the Emperor Justinian – Velisarius were preserved, by that time already transformed into the factory of cotton.43

    The house, called “Aslankhona”, full of animals, is also described by Giorgi Avalishvili. In this building, having a round shape, which looked like a circus, a lot of animals were brought together, among them lions.44

    The temple of Hagya Sofia is separately described in his work. The temple, made into mosque, was closed, so he could not say much on it. At the time of Georgian traveler’s visit to the temple (October 4, 1819) death penalty was set on the first personality at the door of the Sultan, Stephan Duz-Oglu and with his brothers. They had being executed on the square in front of the temple (between Hagia-Sophia and Treasury).45 Due to the reason, the whole space was full of the people, attending the execution of the will of Sultan.

    G. Avalishvili writes that he had only an opportunity to see the closed door of Hagia-Sophia. Author provides the description of the door of the temple, mentioning that there was nothing important in it to bring in his account, but it had very nice marble frame. Rather he refers to the quotation from one of the book he came across in Istanbul, according which the main dome of the temple was 85 ‘arshin~ (1 arshin = 24 inches). The dome had 24 windows. The temple had two stores and the upper part was supported by 100 columns. As Avalishvili mentions, the mosaic of saints were preserved on the wall from place to place.46

    It should be mentioned, that alongside the description of Istanbul (Constantinople) Avalishvili clearly mentions that he is the citizen of Russia (Moscow), defending its interests. He writes: “local Tatars (Turks) are cautious in their relations with Russians.” The main position of Avalishvili is set in the long monologue. The description of the city is ended by this monologue. The monologue is the praise of Constantinople, with a warning tone towards the Ottoman government. Avalishvili openly remarks that the Emperor of Russia is “the heroe from the North and his advancement could not be blocked in any means…”47

    Petre Konchoshvili (1836-1909) is another traveler to be mentioned in the paper. He was born in Kakheti, in a small village of Sabue (Kvareli Region). He was educated in a theological school of Telavi and theological seminary of Tbilisi. After becoming a priest, he served in different parts of Georgia (Kakhi, Java, etc).

    He started to publish numerous articles on ecclesiastical themes from the 70s of the 19th century. He made corrections to the different editions of the Old Testament and prepared them for publication. From 1868 he taught God’s Law at the Noble Women school of Tbilisi. In 1880-1905 he is an archpriest, in 1905 became a bishop and in 1907 he became the bishop of Gori and the first Vicar of Exarche.48

    In 1899 he travelled to Jerusalem and on Mount Athos. His impressions were published us a book in 1901.49 As different from other authors, his travelling was aimed at visiting the local sacred places. Besides, he was looking for the re-birth of patriotic feelings among Georgians. In spite of the sever censorship, in the text of the “Travell” book denouncing of the official course of russification is strongly felt. 

    Bishop Petre Konchoshvili visited Constantinople (Istanbul) on May 24, 1899. He paid visit to the temple of Hagia-Sophia and described it in details. He does not go on to describe some other place of the city, although mentions that he visited the residence of Patriarch of Constantinople (As we know from the book of I. Gedevanishvili, it was the Churche of St. Apostles), the Church of Most Holy Mother of God and others.

    Bishop Petre goes on to describe the temple of Hagia-Sophia: “On the one from the 7 hills of Istanbul the great temple of Hagia-Sophia is raised, the most advanced architectural sample of Byzantium, the norm of the Church Architecture.”50

    Petre Konchoshvili mentions that the first Christian praying was attended in this temple by the visitors from Russia, coming with a special mission as set by Grand Duke Vladimir (the 9th century). He wrote: “Everything in great temple of  Hagia-Sophia was so astonishing, that the representatives of Russian Grand Duke did not know where they are: on the Earth or in the Heaven.”51

    Detailed history of the temple is provided by Petre Konchoshvili. The first church was built by Constantine I on this place (beginning of the IV century), but as it had the wooden roof it was burnt. This happened when the Great Christian figure John the Chrysostom (356-407) was forced to leave the city (beginning of the V century). As author mentions only an altar was preserved and the throne of bishop, kept at the Residence of Patriarch of Constantinople during the time of Bishop Petre. The temple of Hagia-Sophia was renovated by Teodosius the Minor (401-450), but the temple was burnt in 532 again. After this the huge temple was built by the Emperor Justinian. The process of building started on February 23, 533 and was over after 5 years, 10 months and 2 days. The new temple was sanctified on December 22, 537, Justinian pathetically stressing that “Solomone was left behind by him.” The dome has 32 windows52 and the temple is 269 foot in length (109 Arshin) and 240 in wide (105 Arshin)53. In the temple there are hundreds of colorful columns. They are made of marvel. The dome of the temple is covered with different color of mosaics. The words of Sultan Abdul-Mejid are introduced by P. Konchoshvili, provided during the partial reconstruction of Hagia-Sophia. As he said, although the mosaic dating back to the Christian era should be covered with paint, it would be a tiny layer, being easily removed when needed.54 P. Konchoshvili writes that more then 1000 priests served to the Church in Justinian’s epoch and it was made as a mosque by Sultan Mahmud II (1453). Konchoshvili mentions that at his time 6000 candles and 120 lamps were lightening the temple, having the egg of ostrich on its top.55  

    * * * 

    Concluding, the writings of Georgian travellers contain some important notes on Constantinople (Istanbul) and Hagia-Sophia. Besides, authors differ greatly according to era and the viewpoints.

    If the mode and attitude of Sulkhan Saba Orbeliani is European and pro-Western, later authors – Timote Gabashvili and Giorgi Avalishvili – do not mind to hide their pro-Russian orientation. As for Bishop Petre Konchoshvili, his book, in spite of a sever censorship, actually contain critical remarks against the russification policy of the Russian Empire.

March 28, 2009 Posted by | Modern History | Leave a comment

Vazha Kiknadze: The Policy of the Russian Exarchate and the Prominent Georgian Spiritual Figures at the Beginning of the 20th Century

Director, Iv.Javakishvili Institute of History and Ethnology

Full Professor, Iv.Javakishvili Tbilisi State University 

Georgian state have century’s long history. After the declaration of Christianity as state religion at the end of 20s of the 4th century, Christianity became the main driving force of the statehood of Georgia and one of its ideological pillars. The Georgian church and state have come through a lot of hardships, but the “enlightening” 19th century brought the greatest danger to it, stemming from the Christian, Orthodox country – Russia.

    In 1801 the Russian Empire abolished the Statehood of Georgia and integrated the Eastern Georgia on an initial stage, and later the whole Georgia, into the Russian Empire. In 1811, the Russian state and the Synod of the Russian Church, under the pretext of reorganization of the Georgian church, abolished the autocephaly of the Church of Georgia.

    The position of the head of the Church of Georgia – Catholicos Patriarch – was also abolished. The Georgian Church was subjugated to the Synod of the Russian Church, entitled as the “Georgian-Imeretian Synodal Bureau”, having Exarch in its head in 1811-1917. Among them only the first one, Varlam Eristavi (1811-1817), was originally ethnic Georgian, while others were of Russian origins. The 13 eparchies were abolished in the Eastern Georgia by the Russian Synod and only 2 of them were left (except the Tbilisi eparchy); The two eparchy were left in the Western Georgia as well; although during the whole 19th century the Russian ecclesiastical leaders were merging or separating them continuously. By the beginning of the 20th century the following personalities served as exarches of Georgia: Alexei I (1901-1905), Nikolai (1905-1906), Nikon (1906-1908), Inokenti (1909-1913), Alexei II (1913-1914), Pitirim (1914-1915) and Platon (1915-1917), the last one witnessing the February Revolution and the October coup de etat of Russia. The policies of exarches were remarkably aggressive towards the Georgian parish and the Georgian clergy. The activities of Archbishop Pitirim (Oknov) could be considered as exception, starting to learn Georgian language and conducting spiritual service in Georgian. Due to the last fact, he was shortly called up from Georgia.

    The archpriest Ioann Vostorgov was appointed as the head of the Chancellery of Exarcate in 1902 (died in 1918), who also served as an editor of the official ecclesiastical journal of the Exarchate and as a priest-lecturer of God’s Law at the Women’s School. He was eminent for his anti-Georgian activities just from the very beginning. Under his guidance the Exarchate targeted at Georgian language, as all ecclesiastical rituals had to be conducted in Russian – being the official language of the Church.

    I.Vostorgov openly declared that according to his decree the Georgian language was eradicated from all 150 secondary schools of Samegrelo and Svaneti regions1. Ioann Vostorgov, impute  as a saint by the Synod of the Russian Church some years ago was so odious figure, that the premier of tsar Nilkolai the II, Sergei Vitte, wrote: “A great majority of the right-wing faction – Dubrovin, Konovnicin, Vostorgov (stressing is mine, V.K.) and dozens of other personalities, are swindlers as long as under the pretext of defending conservative principles, in sake of pursuing autocracy and the Russian principles, they only serve to their private interests, not posing any restrictions on their actions and are ready for any spuriousness and crime2.”

    Besides, I.Vostorgov claimed that in the regions of Georgia – Abkhazia and Inner Qartli (Tskinvali Region) – as well as in Samegrelo and Svaneti, the liturgy ought to be conducted not in Georgian – traditionaln ecclesiastic language, but in Russian, and partly in the local languages and dialects of the inhabitants of these regions. As Abkhazian and Ossetian languages, as well as Megrelian and Svanetian dialects of the Georgian language, did not have any ecclesiastical tradition and terminology, the translation of the Holly Books under the guidance of Vostorgov had an annoying consequences. The Russian scientist, Nikoloz Durnovo (1870-1937) was openly admitting: “Ossetians are residing in the district of Gori, conducting liturgy in Georgian language for a long period of time. Most of them have a strong command and practice of Georgian language. In order to divide and separate Ossetians from Georgians, exarchs initiated liturgy in Ossetian language in 50-60 churches, bringing serious damage to the Ossetian language and prompting parish not to go to the church”3. Other regions of Georgia faced with the same reality. Exarches started to openly rob the Georgian churches. The old manuscripts, icons and other ecclesiastical objects were taken out of the Georgian churches and monasteries. The less educated exarches ordered to cover frescos with slaked lime. The activities of exarches brought the Georgian Church and population to the split. The Georgian clergy found themselve in service of the Russian State. The fact does not come as a surprise as long as the Russian Church itself, from the times of the Emperor Peter I, was governed not by Patriarch, but by the Synod’s over-Prokurator, being an ordinary serviceman of state. The fact was recalled even by Jan-Jak Russeu4. As a result, the Exarchy confiscated the whole property of the Georgian church, although clergymen were provided with salary, but only the limited number of designated personalities, appearing in the special list, signed by the governing body of the Church, were paid. The fact increased the dependence of the Georgian clergy on the Russian State apparatus. The archival documents prove that the person, coming from the theological seminary and looking for a future career, should come through some 15 questions. The one among them obliged the future priest not to participate in any kind of local disorder (confusion) and inform the corresponding structures abouy such incidents (Point #10)5. The Russian Church targeted monasteries as well, transforming them into its ideological centers. The Monastery of New Athos (near Pizunda) served as a flagman of the Russian ideology in the whole South Caucasus. It was not meaningless that the special positions of district police-officer existed at this monastery6. As Ioann Vostorgov admitted, The New Athos Monastery was the place were “The whole Holly Russia will unite”7. Exarches were unaware of the Georgian ecclesiastical and secular traditions, language and literature. The abovementioned honest Russian scientist, Nikolai Durnovo, wrote: “Non of the Russian Exarch were capable to strive for the Georgian Church like the Georgian Patriarchs . . . before leaving for Georgia. Exarches knew no more about Georgian Church and Georgia, than there was existing common knowledge about it in Europe. In order to become the real head of the Georgian Church, the in-depth understanding and mastering of the local (Georgian, V.K.) spiritual literature is a must”8.

    Under conditions of the sever repressions of the Georgian Church and State the functions of the Church, at least part of it, were assumed by its progressive representatives. In the 19th century the activities of bishop Gabriel Kikodze (1825-1896) should be stressed in particular, alongside bishop Kirion (later Catholicos-Patriarch 1855-1918) and bishop Petre Konchoshvili (1836-1909) serving in the beginning of the 20th century.

    The representatives of the Georgian Church found themselves under sever conditions, like the population of Georgia in general, on the one hand being in the service of the Russian Church and State, meanwhile obliged to counterweight the destructive force of the Russian state apparatus, targeting originality of Georgians.

    Preserving Georgian language was set as a primary task by the Georgian progressive spiritual figures for the maintenance of the Georgian identity. Psychologists acknowledge the fact that language serves to be the main tool for objectification of people and nation.

    The opinion of bishop Gabriel became particularly apparent in his polemic with renegade Giorgi Mukhran-Batoni (Mukhranski) for defending Georgian language. Bishop Gabriel was annoyed by the small book written by Giorgi Mukhranski, arguing that the mixture of the language of small people with those of the big one (and the mixture of people as well) was unavoidable process and the resistance of Georgian people in this respect was meaningless. Bishop Gabriel was strongly opposing the abovementioned opinion, arguing that coexistence of different languages in one strong state is possible. He points to Switzerland as the case and asks Giorgi Mukhran-Batoni (Mukhranski): “In your opinion, is a federation or republic to be a state as well or not?”9 Bishop Gabriel quotes the work of philosopher John Stuart Mill “On Liberty”, stating: “Language serves to be the main element of individuality of people. Thus it is also necessary for the happiness of people.”10

    In the 20th century Bishop Kirion Sazaglishvili followed the course took by Bishop Gabriel. Kirion, known as Girogi Sadzaglishvili in his lay manhood, was born in 1855. According to his autobiographical written sources, he was born in the house of his grandmother, in Tbilisi (according to other sources he was born in Qvemo Nikozi (Tskinvali Region) or in the village Mleta were his father, Ioronime Sadzaglishvili, served as a missionary). Although, priority should be given to his autobiographical information11.

    Kirion took his secondary education in the mountainous village of the Eastern Georgia, Ananuri. In 1895, during his study at the school, he wrote several poems, enshrined in religious spirit (one of them concerns with the fact of transfiguration of Our Lord on Mount Tabor). In 1862-1869 he attended the Theological Seminary of Gori, pursuing his spiritual education in Tbilisi from 1869. He graduated from it in 1876 with honor. In he same year he left for the Theological Academy of Kiev, later leaving for the Theological Academy of Oddessa, getting position of vice-inspector there. From 1883 he is back to Georgia and assuming the position of teacher at different theological seminaries of the country (teaching Georgian language, God’s Law, etc). In 1896 he became a monk, getting the name Kirion and becoming the archimandrite of Kvatakhevi. In 1898 he was sanctified as a bishop of Alaverdi. He was elected as a member of the Archaeological Society of Moscow and editorial board of Theological Encyclopedia (1897). In 1902 he was called up to Russia. Kirion stayed in Russia till the Summer of 1917 with a short breaks. In 1906-07 he was transferred to the eparchy of Sokhumi, but due to the directions of Ioan Vostorgov and other Russian reactionaries, he was taken to Kovno (Kaunas) and in 1908 was sent to Kharkov and later to region of Tambov, at the Lavra of Sanakhsari, well-known for its heaviest climate conditions. He was also blamed for participation in the murder of Exarch Nikon, in May, 1908. Due to the last fact, he was lifted the right of spiritual activities till 1912. The year witnessessed his partial rehabilitation, getting right to move to Kherson. In the exile Kirion was very active in his research and scientific activities. Besides, he launched scientific contacts with leading scientists and figures of Europe – Aurelio Palmier, G.Berman, Baron de Bai, Pope of Rome12, etc.

    In the Summer, 1917, Kirion was back to Georgia. In September, 1917 he was elected as the first Catholicos-Patriarch of the Georgian Church, after 100 years of interruption. Although he did not last long on the position. Kirion, as he was called after sanctification, met severe challenges from one group of the Georgian priests. They published the oppositional ecclesiastical journal The New Word (Axali Sitkva), supporting agitation against the Catholicos-Patriarch. One could point to this fact, after finding him dead at his residence in Martkopi, near Tbilisi in late July, 1918. His death was shrouded with mist.

    Kirion’s written heritage is immensely important (among them epistoral heritage). Most of his writings are published, while others still remain on the archives shelves. Activities of Kirion could be divided into the two parts: From 1880 till 1905; and in 1905-1918. The writings of the first period mostly deal with the general issues, due to the sever censorship, while he took more sharp position from 1905. Although Kirion, according to the special decree of I.Vostorgov, was deportated to Russia from 1902, he was still thinking over timeless problems of the Georgian Church during his activities in different eparchies. Being influenced by the First Russian Revolution he openly demanded for restoration of the independence of the Georgian Church. In one of his earlier work on Georgian language Kirion wrote: “Mother tongue is the holly temple built by our ancestors, being blessed by God. Only the nation, defending its language, customs and traditions has the right to appear on the arena of history”13. In his another work he argues that language serves to be the main factor, preserving and maintaining the national character14. The fact that Kirion was concerned not only by the Georgian language should be stressed as well. He was also pointing to the necessity of defending and preserving the language and originality of Abkhazians. In his letter to Synod (1907), reflecting his one year long activities in the eparchy of Sokhumi, Bishop Kirion stressed: “Each true Georgian should defend Abkhazian language”15.

    Interesting, but quite contested opinion, was expressed by bishop Kirion in his book, written during his exile in Russia. The book, entitled “The Cultural Role of Iveria in the History of Russia,” was published in Tbilisi, in Russian, in 1910. According to Kirion the Georgian Christian culture had a strong influence on the Russian world of the 11-12th centuries. According to his idea, the influence was spread from Crimea (Principality of Tmutarakan had a strong ties with Georgia according to Kirion) and the Georgian Monasteries of Mount Athos and Petritsoni (Bachkovo). Kirion points to the Georgian traits in the architecture of the Russian church, chant, chronicle, vocabulary, etc16. Kirion’s argument is mostly hypothetical, although some interesting explorations could be grasped. Kirion reflected the problem of counter influence of small people over the great states and people anew. Number of problems posed by him are still waiting for a serious analyses.

    Among many of his writings, the one, pointing to the role of state in the history of nation and significance of great figures (secular figures are implied this time) for the development of nation, should be stressed. Kirion particularly valued a strong, united state, capable of defending nation from external aggression and managing internal problems and economy. He pointed to the peculiar role of personalities in the unity of the Georgian state, stressing the reign of David the Builder (1089-1125), Tamar (1178-1212), George the Brilliant (1318-1346), Alexander I (Great) (1412-1442) and Erekle II (1762-1798)17. Kirion stressed the role of churches and monasteries in state building process. On the activities of David the Builder he wrote “David knew in its best the enlightening role of church and monasteries in state building process, that’s why he rebuilt and renovated the destructed churches and monasteries, the places of education, adding to them significantly.” Overcoming the feudal anarchy and creation of a centralized state was considered as crucial aspects for the future of the country. Kirion commented on politics as well, stressing that the policy of the neighboring countries was determined not by their neighborly relations (even between those, with kindred dynasties), but rather due to their strength and might. The strongest one (Iran during Shah Abass I 1588-1629 was implied) tries to influence over its weak neighbor and aspires to its enslavement. As Kirion mentions, the weaknesses of the Georgian state (only the few centuries could be considered as exception in this respect) determined the impossibility of Georgians to pursue normal way of life under proper conditions: “Life and property have never ever been properly protected and guaranteed in Georgia, like those societies, adhering the civilian way of life.”18

    Thus, protection of life and property of humans is considered as significant duty and responsibility of the state. Protecting the man is considered as a primary concern for the society (i.e. organizational form of society – state). In his autobiographical notes these issues are addressed somewhat philosophically. As Kirion wrote: protecting one men matters for humanity as humanity is comprised of individuals19. Kirion hopes that the supremacy of love, basis for forgiveness, will bring this function of society to work in reality. The Christian love is implied in this love for sure. Kirion considered each individual to strive for the common task, expressed in the development and advancement of humanity. Besides, the principles and aims of state organization should not be violated.

    According to the conception of Kirion (his conception was fully revealed in 1918) only the free state is capable of pursuing and fulfilling the great mission, taken in front of its people. Enslaved state is not capable to defend and develop its citizens. In respect with the declaration of independence of Georgia, on May 26, 1918, Bishop wrote: “Our freedom was born with hardship. The bonds of slavery was unfastened … slavery previously unseen on earth. Freedom is in the heart of free men, it is (freedom, V.K.) the crown of our life; Freedom is the holly talent”20.

    The activities of Archpriest, Bishop from 1905, Peter Konchoshvili, should be stressed among other spiritual figures, mostly in terms of his struggle with the policy of exarcate Petre Konchoshvili was born in the village Sabue, Kaketi region, Eastern Georgia, located on the way towards the North Caucasus. His father, David, served as a priest at the local church of Jonne the Babtist, and his brother, Mate, was reading psalms at the same church. Thus, Petre got a good spiritual education form early childhood. He was raised as a patriot and men of a good character. He received his education at the spiritual seminaries of Telavi and Tbilisi.

    Peter married in 60s of the 19th century. He was sanctified as a priest at the same time. He was sent to the oldest province of the Eastern Georgia, Hereti (Saingilo) with his wife, and later transferred to Shida Qartli, in the village Java of Tskinvali Region21. (Some sources mention that he was first sent to Java and then was transferred to Saingilo. His biography still waits for further clarification).

    He was beloved by his parish both in Java, as well as in the village of Kaxi, Saingilo (Hereti), present day Azerbaijan. Some fragmented sources stand as reminders of these facts.

    From 1868 he moved in Tbilisi. He serves as a teacher of God’s Law at the Women’s Passionate (called as Passionate of St. Nino, later receiving the name of Nikolai the First). The Georgian versions of the Old Testament was prepared for publication by Father Petre. He was among the few Georgian ecclesiastical leaders who strongly demanded the restoration of autocephaly (independence) of the Georgian church.

    He was well-known benefactor as well. For example, he built churches in his native village Sabue (Kvareli district) and in the village Atsquri (Akhmeta district) and opened the 1st people’s library in the region of Kakheti as well.

    In 1899 father Petre travelled to the Holly places of Palestine and Mount Athos, observing and describing these holly places. His book, published in Tiflis in 1901 was entitled as “Journey to the Holly City of Jerusalem and the Holly Mount Athos.” The book was warmly received by the most part of the Georgian public. It was reviewed by well-known Georgians, teacher and essayist Iakob Gogebashvili, historian Al.Khakhanashvili and others.

    The “Kathexisis” of archpriest P.Smirnov was translated by Father Petre from Russian and from Slavic the psalm of Josef the Beautiful. Through his entire life Father Petre stressed the basic role of national language in progress of nation.

    In 1905 archpriest P.Konchoshvili was elevated to an order of bishop of Alaverdi (Kakheti). It is interesting that according to his personal will, Father Petre had not been consecrated in the monks as an exceptional case in the history of the Russian Church. Petre  Konchoshvili asked about this exception personally to the real head* of the Russian Church of that times metropolitan of St.Petersburg Antonin (Vadkovski). Father Petre motivated his ask by his weak health and illness.

    In 1907 Bishop Petre has been transferred to the another post. From that time he became a bishop of Gori. So he became the vicar of Exarch. Bishop Petre died on February 5, 1909 and was buried in Alaverdi temple.

    The deeds of bishop Petre Konchoshvili, first and foremost in terms of defending mother tongue, should be stressed as well. Bishop Petre stressed the importance of maintenance of the national language in particular. The famous English diplomat and writer, Ser John Oliver Wardrop, was informed regarding his activities. Bishop Petre met him and his sister Marjory on the ship during his travelling to the Holly Land and Mt. Athos. As O.Wardrop told to Bishop Petre, he was aware of the Georgian literature and he had some information about the deeds of Petre Konchoshvili in terms of editing Georgian translations of the Bible. “We part from Wardrops in the outskirts of Kerch, famous representatives of glorious, distinguished nation,” Konchoshvili wrote22. It should be mentioned also that the students of Oxford and Cambridge Universities also met with Petre Konchoshvili on July 5, 1899, on the Mount Athos, at the Greek Church of St. Panteleimon; although he does not mention their names23.

    In his interesting book bishop Petre dedicates whole chapter to the importance of conducting liturgy on national language:24 “According to the will of God different tribes and nations should exist on the earth and they should praise, glory and thank to God on their national languages”25. The fact that St. Apostles started to speak on different languages according to the will of God is also set as an example, supporting the following opinion in the eye of the Russian ecclesiastical and secular circles: the persecution of the national language and Georgian language in particular was the move against the will of God. The same is mentioned by Petre Konchoshvili in his report on the corrections of the Georgian translation of the Bible26 (Old Testament). The positions of Georgian language in Sokhumi region  (Abkhazia) and in the gorge of river Chorokhi, i.e. Adjara, is one of the main concerns of the father Petre. Petre Konchoshvili wrote: “Lot of people are concerned (in Sokhumi area, V.K.) with the lack of possibility of having liturgy on national language, encouraging the heart of the believer . . . this is the tragedy: the local Georgians are left without this holly consolation and joy”27.

    The same is mentioned in respect with Muslim Georgians of Adjara (Chorokhi Gorge). According to the opinion of the father Petre, the Muslim Georgians of Adjara will unite with their brothers and sisters with the force of the mother tongue: “liturgy on their national, Georgian language, will bring them back to the religion of their ancestors – Christianity . . . no other language could be more precious  than the mother tongue”28.

    The need of conducting God Law in Georgian language was officially claimed by Petre Konchoshvili, sending special beg to the Council of Eparchy School29; although, as expected, the council did not met with the demand of Petre Konchoshvili.

    From 1905, like Bishop Kirion, Peter Konchoshvili took more sharp position against anti-Georgian policy of Exarchate.

    After three days from his sanctification as Alaverdi Bishop, on November 16, Peter Alaverdeli signed the petition, demanding immediate restoration of autocephaly of the Georgian Church30. He made another appeal in 1906 as well31.

    There were couple of other spiritual personalities in the beggining of the 20th century, striving for the defence of the Georgian Church and its parish from the aggressive policy of the Russian Exarchate. Although the abovementioned personalities were renowned for their deeds and activities.

    Discussing and reflecting the activities of the Georgian spiritual figures, their role as intellectuals of those days society should not be missed from the wider picture. They had both, brilliant spiritual, as well as secular, education. The abovementioned spiritual leaders were also served as authors of numerous theological, philological, philosophical and historical writings. As great Russian historian Vasil Kluchevski mentioned, “The law and norm of the underdeveloped countries, in respect with the developed one, is as follows: The needs of reforms are caught much more earlier, then people becomes ready for it.”32 In order the educated portion of the nation to be successful in overcoming the task, it should meet at least with the two criteria: 1. Be aware of the condition of its people at any time. 2. Be familiar with the scientific resources of the world thinking33. In respect with the abovementioned issue, the famous Georgian teacher Iakob Gogebashvili wrote: “Nation, having no strong army of intellectuals in its advanced guard, will definitely lose its battle for existence and will lose its place among nations.”34 

March 28, 2009 Posted by | Modern History | 1 Comment

Vazha Kiknadze: The Russian Synod’s Ecclesiastical Policy and the Georgian Society at the Beginning of the 20th Century

Vazha Kiknadze

Iv.Javakishvili Institute of History and Ethnology

The Russian Synod’s Ecclesiastical Policy and the Georgian Society at the Beginning of the 20th Century

The Georgian Church was granted autocepaly (independence) in the 5th century, preserving it for centuries. The structure and organization of the Georgian Church is different from that of the Russian one.

The Emperor of Russia, Peter I (1689-1725), abolished the position of the governor of the Russian Church, the position of Patriarch, and introduced the collegial structure – holly governmental Synod – as a new governing unit of the Church. The new structure was governed by a secular personality – Over Procurator of Synod. The fact was remarked by the famous French enlightener Jean Jacques Russeu [29, 17]. The Russian Church was even more oppressed by Katerine II, declaring peasants and lands, formerly owned by monasteries, as a state property (1784). Thus, church was transformed as one of the bureaucratic structures in Russia, subjugated directly to the Emperor.

The Georgian Church, as different from the Russian one, was a big feudal organization, headed and governed by Catholicos-Patriarch. A vast territory of fields, forests, agricultural lands, were owned by the Georgian Church. It should be mentioned that notwithstanding some signs of political influences, secular sphere did not interfere in economic activities of the Church (the 60s of the 13th century, when feudals started to re-capture their lands, previously granted to the Church, could be termed as exception. Although the process coincided with the period of Mongol invasion, economic decline and extreme weakening of the secular government, and not vice-versa).

Besides, as different from Russia, every representative of each strata of the society could be ordained to the clergy in Georgia. In Russia the process had extremely complex nature. Unfortunately, the Russian Empire was aimed not only at annexation of Georgia, but interferring in the internal affairs of the Georgian Church; its total transformation occupied no the last role in its [Russian] imperial project. As early as 1783, the 8th Article of the Treaty of Georgievsk, signed between Russia and Georgia, stand for the norm of the future management of the Georgian Church, although all of them (Articles of the Treaty) were extremely vague [28, 74].

From 1811 till 1869 the property of the Church of Georgia was totally confiscated, the latter gradually resembling to the Church of Russia. Wages of clergy and other ecclessiastical personalities were paid by the state, enforcing their dependence on the secular sphere.

Thus, either through peacefull or sever repressions of rebellions (in this respect the great rebellion of 1819-1820, connected with the Russian ecclesiastical reforms in the Western Georgia, should be mentioned in particular) the aims of the Russian Synod and state were fullfilled: the Church of Georgia came into the service of the Russian State.

The Russian ecclesiastical and state politics became particularly aggressive from 1859, after the Russian Empire managed to defeat Shamil, the leader of the Chechen-Dagestan group of people of the North Caucasus, striving for their independence.

Thus, after the military conquest of the Caucasus, the religious subjugation of the space became on the forefront of the agenda of the Russian Empire. In this ideological war, the main place was occupied by Georgia and the governing structure of its church – Exarchy. The Exarchy created the missionary center in Tbilisi for spreading the Orthodox Christianity, at the same time being in service of the Russian state policy; whereas the Russia state policy was aimed at Russification of the Caucasus. The newly established theological schools of Tbilisi, Kutaisi, Telavi, Gori (in the last two cities the schools were established somewhat earlier, in 1818) Ozurgeti, Zugdidi, Senaki were in service of the abovementioned goal. Theological seminaries were also opened in Tbilisi and Kutaisi, with the same purposes. Besides, Synod permitted various personalities to run parish-ecclesiastical schools [25, 32]. From the second half of the 19th century language became the main target of the Russification policy, being the language of state education and liturgy. The anti-Georgian propaganda was particularly activated by the Synod in 1874, when inspector Kerski was sent to Georgia with a special mission. His reccomendations were not only aimed at enforcement of the Russian language, promoting its use as a sole language of education at each educational institution, but also suggested for prohibition of activities of the teachers, with Georgian origins [26, 3-4]. At the same time, Kerski opposed to the famous Georgian teacher – Iakob Gogebashvili, declaring his books as unacceptable for teaching process [13, 29].

It could be of no interest that the emigrated Russian writer, Nikolai Voeikov, in his book, published in the US, in 1983, evaluated the 19th century ecclesiastical and state policy of Russia extremely positively, mostly through the Soviet terminology, admitting:

“The European imperialists, the so called expluatators of the collonies, were made envy of the forsible interferrence of Russia in the eastern affairs. Although, the just, Christian gesture of them (Russians, V.K.) towards the alien nations of the great imperial family, as they (foreign nations, V.K.) were not limited in their religion, culture and traditions, brought the strong and grand prestige to the “White King”, i.e. Russian King in the Eastern countries, previously unseen by non of the Western monarch.” [31, 605]. In reality, the position of Russia towards the Georgian Church vizualizes in its best the stance of the Russian Empire towards other “nationalities, religon and traditions”.

The position of the head of the Church of Georgia – Catholicos Patriarch –was also abolished by Holly governmental Synod. The Georgian Church was directly subjugated to the Synod of the Russian Church, entitled as the “Georgian-Imeretian Synodal Bureau”, having Exarch in its head in 1811-1917. Among them only the first one, Varlam Eristavi (1811-1817), was originally ethnic Georgian, but deeply Russificated, while others were of Russian origins. The 13 eparchies were abolished in the Eastern Georgia by the Russian Synod and only 2 of them were left (except the Mckheta-Tbilisi eparchy); The two eparchy were left in the Western Georgia as well; although during the whole 19th century the Russian ecclesiastical leaders were merging or separating them continuously. By the beginning of the 20th century the following personalities served as exarches of Georgia: Alexei I (1901-1905), Nikolai (1905-1906), Nikon (1906-1908), Inokenti (1909-1913), Alexei II (1913-1914), Pitirim (1914-1915) and Platon (1915-1917), the last one witnessing the February Revolution and the October coup de etat of Russia. The policies of exarches were remarkably aggressive towards the Georgian parish and the Georgian clergy. The activities of Archbishop Pitirim (Oknov) could be considered as exception, starting to learn Georgian language and conducting spiritual service in Georgian. Due to the last fact, he was shortly called up from Georgia.

The archpriest Ioann Vostorgov was appointed as the head of the Chancellery of Exarcate in 1900. Some years earlier he also served as an editor of the official ecclesiastical journal of the Exarchate and as a priest-lecturer of God’s Law at the Women’s School. He was eminent for his anti-Georgian activities just from the very beginning. Under his guidance the Exarchate targeted at Georgian language, as all ecclesiastical rituals had to be conducted in Russian – being the official language of the Church.

I.Vostorgov openly declared that according to his decree the Georgian language was eradicated from all 150 secondary schools of Samegrelo and Svaneti regions [8, 9]. Ioann Vostorgov, impute as a saint by the Synod of the Russian Church some years ago was so odious figure, that the premier of tsar Nilkolai the II, Sergei Vitte, wrote: “A great majority of the right-wing faction – Dubrovin, Konovnicin, Vostorgov (stressing is mine, V.K.) and dozens of other personalities, are swindlers as long as under the pretext of defending conservative principles, in sake of pursuing autocracy and the Russian principles, they only serve to their private interests, not posing any restrictions on their actions and are ready for any spuriousness and crime [30, 184].”

Besides, I.Vostorgov claimed that in the regions of Georgia – Abkhazia and Inner Qartli (Tskinvali Region) – as well as in Samegrelo and Svaneti, the liturgy ought to be conducted not in Georgian – traditional ecclesiastic language, but in Russian, and partly in the local languages and dialects of the inhabitants of these regions. As Abkhazian and Ossetian languages, as well as Megrelian and Svanetian dialects of the Georgian language, did not have any ecclesiastical tradition and terminology, the translation of the Holly Books under the guidance of Vostorgov had an annoying consequences. The Russian scientist, Nikolai Durnovo (1870-1937) was openly admitting: “Ossetians are residing in the district of Gori, conducting liturgy in Georgian language for a long period of time. Most of them have a strong command and practice of Georgian language. In order to divide and separate Ossetians from Georgians, exarchs initiated liturgy in Ossetian language in 50-60 churches, bringing serious damage to the Ossetian language and prompting parish not to go to the church” [6, 11]. Other regions of Georgia faced with the same reality. Exarches started to openly rob the Georgian churches. The old manuscripts, icons and other ecclesiastical objects were taken out of the Georgian churches and monasteries. The less educated exarches ordered to cover frescos with slaked lime. The activities of exarches brought the Georgian Church and population to the split. The Georgian clergy found themselve in service of the Russian State. The archival documents prove that the person, coming from the theological seminary and looking for a future career, should come through some 15 questions. The one among them obliged the future priest not to participate in any kind of local disorder (confusion) and inform the corresponding structures about such incidents (Point #10) [8, 6]. The Russian Church targeted monasteries as well, transforming them into its ideological centers. The Monastery of New Athos (near Pizunda) served as a flagman of the Russian ideology in the whole South Caucasus. It was not meaningless that the special positions of district police-officer existed at this monastery [16]. As Ioann Vostorgov admitted, The New Athos Monastery was the place were “The whole Holly Russia will unite” [32, 49].

Exarches were unaware of the Georgian ecclesiastical and secular traditions, language and literature. The abovementioned honest Russian scientist, Nikolai Durnovo, wrote: “Non of the Russian Exarch were capable to strive for the Georgian Church like the Georgian Patriarchs . . . before leaving for Georgia. Exarches knew no more about Georgian Church and Georgia, than there was existing common knowledge about it in Europe. In order to become the real head of the Georgian Church, the in-depth understanding and mastering of the local (Georgian, V.K.) ecclesiastical literature is a must” [6, 14].

Under conditions of the sever repressions of the Georgian Church and State the functions of the Church, at least part of it, were assumed by its progressive representatives. In the 19th century the activities of bishop Gabriel Kikodze (1825-1896) should be stressed in particular, alongside bishop Kirion (later Catholicos-Patriarch 1855-1918) and bishop Petre Konchoshvili (1836-1909) serving in the beginning of the 20th century.

The representatives of the Georgian Church found themselves under sever conditions, like the population of Georgia in general, on the one hand being in the service of the Russian Church and State, meanwhile obliged to counterweight the destructive force of the Russian state apparatus, targeting originality of Georgians.

Preserving Georgian language was set as a primary task by the Georgian progressive ecclesiastical figures for the maintenance of the Georgian identity. Psychologists acknowledge the fact that language serves to be the main tool for objectification of people and nation.

The opinion of bishop Gabriel became particularly apparent in his polemic with renegade Giorgi Mukhran-Batoni (Mukhranski) for defending Georgian language. Bishop Gabriel was annoyed by the small book written by Giorgi Mukhranski, arguing that the mixture of the language of small people with those of the big one (and the mixture of people as well) was unavoidable process and the resistance of Georgian people in this respect was meaningless. Bishop Gabriel was strongly opposing the abovementioned opinion, arguing that coexistence of different languages in one strong state is possible. He points to Switzerland as the case and asks Giorgi Mukhran-Batoni (Mukhranski): “In your opinion, is a federation or republic to be a state as well or not?” [19, 94. 26, 1-31]. Bishop Gabriel quotes the work of philosopher John Stuart Mill “On Liberty”, stating: “Language serves to be the main element of individuality of people. Thus it is also necessary for the happiness of people” [19, 53; 26, 2].

In the 20th century Bishop Kirion Sazaglishvili followed the course took by Bishop Gabriel. Kirion, known as Giorgi Sadzaglishvili was born in 1855. According to his autobiographical notes, he was born in the house of his grandfather, in Tbilisi (according to other sources he was born in Qvemo Nikozi (Tskinvali Region) or in the village Mleta were his father, Ioronime Sadzaglishvili, served as a missionary). Although, priority should be given to his autobiographical information [21, 8; 9, 3-5].

Kirion took his secondary education in the mountainous village of the Eastern Georgia, Ananuri. In 1895, during his study at the school, he wrote several poems, enshrined in religious spirit (one of them concerns with the fact of transfiguration of Our Lord on Mount Tabor). In 1862-1869 he attended the Theological Seminary of Gori, pursuing his spiritual education in Tbilisi from 1869. He graduated from it in 1876 with honor. In he same year he left for the Theological Academy of Kiev, later leaving for the Theological Academy of Oddessa, getting position of vice-inspector there. From 1883 he is back to Georgia and assuming the position of teacher at different theological seminaries of the country (teaching Georgian language, God’s Law, etc). In 1896 he became a monk, getting the name Kirion and becoming the archimandrite of Kvatakhevi. In 1898 he was sanctified as a bishop of Alaverdi. He was elected as a member of the Archaeological Society of Moscow and editorial board of Theological Encyclopedia (1897). In 1902 he was called up to Russia. Kirion stayed in Russia till the Summer of 1917 with a short breaks. In 1906-07 he was transferred to the eparchy of Sokhumi, but due to the directions of Ioann Vostorgov and other Russian reactionaries, he was taken to Kovno (Kaunas) and in 1908 was sent to Kharkov and later to region of Tambov, at the Lavra of Sanakhsari, well-known for its heaviest climate conditions. He was also blamed for participation in the murder of Exarch Nikon, in May, 1908. Due to the last fact, he was lifted the right of spiritual activities till 1912. The year witnessessed his partial rehabilitation, getting right to move to Kherson. In the exile Kirion was very active in his research and scientific activities. Besides, he launched scientific contacts with leading scientists and ecclesiastical figures of Europe – Aurelio Palmieri, G.Berman, Baron de Bay, Pope of Rome [17, 126-129], etc.

In the Summer, 1917, Kirion was back to Georgia. In September, 1917 he was elected as the first Catholicos-Patriarch of the Georgian Church, after 100 years of interruption. Although he did not last long on the position. Kirion II, as he was called after sanctification, met severe challenges from one group of the Georgian priests. They published the oppositional ecclesiastical journal The New Word (“Axali Sitkva”), supporting agitation against the Catholicos-Patriarch. One could point to this fact, after finding him dead at his residence in Martkopi, near Tbilisi in late July, 1918. His death was shrouded with mist.

Kirion’s written heritage is immensely important (among them epistoral heritage). Most of his writings are published, while others still remain on the archives shelves. Activities of Kirion could be divided into the two parts: From 1880 till 1905; and in 1905-1918. The writings of the first period mostly deal with the general issues, due to the sever censorship, while he took more sharp position from 1905. Although Kirion, according to the special decree of I.Vostorgov, was deportated to Russia from 1902, he was still thinking over timeless problems of the Georgian Church during his activities in different eparchies. Being influenced by the First Russian Revolution he openly demanded for restoration of the independence of the Georgian Church. In one of his earlier work on Georgian language Kirion wrote: “Mother tongue is the holly temple built by our ancestors, being blessed by God. Only the nation, defending its language, customs and traditions has the right to appear on the arena of history” [10, 7]. In his another work he argues that language serves to be the main factor, preserving and maintaining the national character [4]. The fact that Kirion was concerned not only by the Georgian language should be stressed as well. He was also pointing to the necessity of defending and preserving the language and originality of Abkhazians. In his letter to Synod (1907), reflecting his one year long activities in the eparchy of Sokhumi, Bishop Kirion stressed: “Each true Georgian should defend Abkhazian language” [7, 206].

Interesting, but quite contested opinion, was expressed by bishop Kirion in his book, written during his exile in Russia. The book, entitled “The Cultural Role of Iveria in the History of Russia,” was published in Tbilisi, in Russian, in 1910. According to Kirion the Georgian Christian culture had a strong influence on the Russian world of the 11-12th centuries. According to his idea, the influence was spread from Crimea (Principality of Tmutarakan had a strong ties with Georgia according to Kirion) and the Georgian Monasteries of Mount Athos and Petritsoni (Nowadats Bachkovo in Bulgaria). Kirion points to the Georgian traits in the architecture of the Russian church, chant, chronicle, vocabulary, etc [5, 6-71]. Kirion’s argument is mostly hypothetical, although some interesting explorations could be grasped. Kirion reflected the problem of counter influence of small people over the great states and people anew. Number of problems posed by him are still waiting for a serious analyses.

Among many of his writings, the one, pointing to the role of state in the history of nation and significance of great figures (secular figures are implied this time) for the development of nation, should be stressed. Kirion particularly valued a strong, united state, capable of defending nation from external aggression and managing internal problems and economy. He pointed to the peculiar role of personalities in the unity of the Georgian state, stressing the reign of David the Builder (1089-1125), Tamar (1178-1212), George the Brilliant (1318-1346), Alexander I (Great) (1412-1442) and Erekle II (1762-1798) [3, 2-8]. Kirion stressed the role of churches and monasteries in state building process. On the activities of David the Builder he wrote “David knew in its best the enlightening role of church and monasteries in state building process, that’s why he rebuilt and renovated the destructed churches and monasteries, the places of education, adding to them significantly.” Overcoming the feudal anarchy and creation of a centralized state was considered as crucial aspects for the future of the country. Kirion commented on politics as well, stressing that the policy of the neighboring countries was determined not by their neighborly relations (even between those, with kindred dynasties), but rather due to their strength and might. The strongest one (Iran during Shah Abass I 1588-1629 was implied) tries to influence over its weak neighbor and aspires to its enslavement. As Kirion mentions, the weaknesses of the Georgian state (only the few centuries could be considered as exception in this respect) determined the impossibility of Georgians to pursue normal way of life under proper conditions: “Life and property have never ever been properly protected and guaranteed in Georgia, like those societies, adhering the civilian way of life” [2, 20-21].

Thus, protection of life and property of humans is considered as significant duty and responsibility of the state. Protecting the man is considered as a primary concern for the society (i.e. organizational form of society – state). In his autobiographical notes these issues are addressed somewhat philosophically. As Kirion wrote: protecting one men matters for humanity as humanity is comprised of individuals [9, 32]. Kirion hopes that the supremacy of love, basis for forgiveness, will bring this function of society to work in reality. The Christian love is implied in this love for sure. Kirion considered each individual to strive for the common task, expressed in the development and advancement of humanity. Besides, the principles and aims of state organization should not be violated.

According to the conception of Kirion (his conception was fully revealed in 1918) only the free state is capable of pursuing and fulfilling the great mission, taken in front of its people. Enslaved state is not capable to defend and develop its citizens. In respect with the declaration of independence of Georgia, on May 26, 1918, Bishop wrote: “Our freedom was born with hardship. The bonds of slavery was unfastened … slavery previously unseen on earth. Freedom is in the heart of free men, it is (freedom, V.K.) the crown of our life; Freedom is the holly talent” [11, 2].

The activities of Archpriest, Bishop from 1905, Petre Konchoshvili, should be stressed among other spiritual figures, mostly in terms of his struggle with the policy of exarcate Petre Konchoshvili was born in the village Sabue, Kakheti region, Eastern Georgia, located on the way towards the North Caucasus. His father, David, served as a priest at the local church of Jonne the Babtist, and his brother, Mate, was reading psalms at the same church. Thus, Petre got a good theological education from early childhood. He was raised as a patriot and men of a good character. He received his education at the theological seminaries of Telavi and Tbilisi.

Petre married in 60s of the 19th century. He was sanctified as a priest at the same time. He was sent to the oldest province of the Eastern Georgia, Hereti (Saingilo) with his wife, and later transferred to Shida Qartli, in the village Java of Tskinvali Region [18, 4 -23]. (Some sources mention that he was first sent to Java and then was transferred to Saingilo. His biography still waits for further clarification).

He was beloved by his parish both in Java, as well as in the village of Kaxi, Saingilo (Hereti), present day Azerbaijan. Some fragmented sources stand as reminders of these facts.

From 1868 he moved in Tbilisi. He serves as a teacher of God’s Law at the Women’s Passionate (called as Passionate of St. Nino, later receiving the name of “Nikolai the First”). The Georgian versions of the Old Testament was prepared for publication by Father Petre. He was among the few Georgian ecclesiastical leaders who strongly demanded the restoration of autocephaly (independence) of the Georgian church.

He was well-known benefactor as well. For example, he built churches in his native village Sabue (Kvareli district) and in the village Atsquri (Akhmeta district) and opened the 1st people’s library in the region of Kakheti as well.

In 1899 father Petre travelled to the Holly places of Palestine and Mount Athos, observing and describing these holly places. His book, published in Tiflis in 1901 was entitled as “Journey to the Holly City of Jerusalem and the Holly Mount Athos.” The book was warmly received by the most part of the Georgian public. It was reviewed by well-known Georgians, teacher and essayist Iakob Gogebashvili, historian Al.Khakhanashvili and others.

The “Kathexisis” of archpriest P.Smirnov was translated by Father Petre from Russian and from Slavic the psalm of Josef the Beautiful. Through his entire life Father Petre stressed the basic role of national language in progress of nation.

In 1905 archpriest P.Konchoshvili was elevated to an order of bishop of Alaverdi (Kakheti). It is interesting that according to his personal will, Father Petre had not been consecrated in the monks as an exceptional case in the history of the Russian Church. Petre Konchoshvili asked about this exception personally to the real head* of the Russian Church of that times metropolitan of St.Petersburg Antonin (Vadkovski). Father Petre motivated his ask by his weak health and illness.

In 1907 Bishop Petre has been transferred to the another post. From that time he became a bishop of Gori. So he became the 1st vicar of Exarch. Bishop Petre died on February 5, 1909 and was buried in Alaverdi temple.

The famous English diplomat and writer, Ser John Oliver Wardrop, was informed regarding his activities. Bishop Petre met him and his sister Marjory on the ship during his travelling to the Holly Land and Mt. Athos. As O.Wardrop told to Bishop Petre, he was aware of the Georgian literature and he had some information about the deeds of Petre Konchoshvili in terms of editing Georgian translations of the Bible. “We part from Wardrops in the outskirts of Kerch, famous representatives of glorious, distinguished nation,” Konchoshvili wrote [23, 198]. It should be mentioned also that the students of Oxford and Cambridge Universities also met with Petre Konchoshvili on July 5, 1899, on the Mount Athos, at the Greek Church of St. Panteleimon; although he does not mention their names [23, 153].

In his interesting book bishop Petre dedicates whole chapter to the importance of conducting liturgy on national language: [18, 47-50] “According to the will of God different tribes and nations should exist on the earth and they should praise, glory and thank to God on their national languages’’ [18, 203-204]. The fact that St. Apostles started to speak on different languages according to the will of God is also set as an example, supporting the following opinion in the eye of the Russian ecclesiastical and secular circles: the persecution of the national language and Georgian language in particular was the move against the will of God. The same is mentioned by Petre Konchoshvili in his report on the corrections of the Georgian translation of the Bible (Old Testament) [22, 1-2]. The positions of Georgian language in Sokhumi region (Abkhazia) and in the gorge of river Chorokhi, i.e. Adjara, is one of the main concerns of the father Petre. Petre Konchoshvili wrote: “Lot of people are concerned (in Sokhumi area, V.K.) with the lack of possibility of having liturgy on national language, encouraging the heart of the believer . . . this is the tragedy: the local Georgians are left without this holly consolation and joy” [24, 205-206].

The same is mentioned in respect with Muslim Georgians of Ajara (Chorokhi Gorge). According to the opinion of the father Petre, the Muslim Georgians of Ajara will unite with their brothers and sisters with the force of the mother tongue: “liturgy on their national, Georgian language, will bring them back to the religion of their ancestors – Christianity . . . no other language could be more precious than the mother tongue” [24, 211-212].

The need of conducting God Law in Georgian language was officially claimed by Petre Konchoshvili, sending special beg to the Council of Eparchy School [24, 1]; although, as expected, the council did not met with the demand of Petre Konchoshvili.

From 1905, like Bishop Kirion, Petre Konchoshvili took more sharp position against anti-Georgian policy of Exarchate.

After three days from his sanctification as Alaverdi Bishop, on November 16, Peter Alaverdeli signed the petition, demanding immediate restoration of autocephaly of the Georgian Church [18, 110]. He made another appeal in 1906 as well [18, 112].

There were couple of other ecclesiastical personalities in the beggining of the 20th century, striving for the defence of the Georgian Church and its parish from the aggressive policy of the Russian Exarchate. Although the abovementioned personalities were renowned for their deeds and activities.

Discussing and reflecting the activities of the Georgian ecclesiastical figures, their role as intellectuals of those days society should not be missed from the wider picture. They had both, brilliant spiritual, as well as secular, education. The abovementioned spiritual leaders were also served as authors of numerous theological, philological, philosophical and historical writings. As great Russian historian Vasili Kluchevski mentioned, “The law and norm of the underdeveloped countries, in respect with the developed one, is as follows: The needs of reforms are caught much more earlier, then people becomes ready for it” [20, 419-429]. In order the educated portion of the nation to be successful in overcoming the task, it should meet at least with the two criteria: 1. Be aware of the condition of its people at any time. 2. Be familiar with the scientific resources of the world thinking [14, 19]. In respect with the abovementioned issue, the famous Georgian teacher Iakob Gogebashvili wrote: “Nation, having no strong army of intellectuals in its advanced guard, will definitely lose its battle for existence and will lose its place among nations [20, 347].

Since 60s of the 20th century the Georgian intelligentsia and patriotic movement, called tergdaleulebi as pursuing higher education in Russia (crossing the river Tergi on their way to Russia), followed to the abovementioned principles.

Tergdaleulebi were guided by the famous public figure, writer and poet Ilia Chavchavadze (1837-1907) paid too much attantion to the problems of the Georgian Church alongside with the clerical affairs. The fact that the movement took care on the adharents of other religions, as different from the Orthodox one, should be mentioned as well. The movement was promoting the idea that different groups of Georgians, adhering to other religions (Islam, Catholisism) due to the past hardships of the country, still remained to be Georgians. They pointed to the need of agitation over the matter among the targeted groups [27, 15-16].

According to their will, in 1905 I.Chavchavadze visited to vice-roy Ilarion Vorontsov-Dashkov, discussing various problems of the Georgian Church with him. Restoration of autocephaly of the Georgian Church stood as the first one among many others [1, 15-18]. Although, as expected, the visit was fruitless.

The answer of Ilia Chavchavadze to the appeal of the rector of Spiritucal Seminary of Tbilisi deserves particular interest (1898).The answer was written in Russian language. Its Georgian translation was published long after Ilia’s death [15, 161-163]. The main idea of the author is provided by the end of the letter, while the rest stands as a sample of diplomatic approach. Ilia stressed that the local eccelsiastical and clerical officials were not aware of the true sense of the Russian state and statehood. Ilia wrote: “The idea of Russification, aimed at transformation of humand into one variety of people, being extremely alike, is antireligious in its essence as it is the negation of the will of God, experessed in the creation of different tribes and people. Is this diversity a mistake of God and humans is capable to make corrections in it?” Concluding his letter, Ilia wrote: “All humans are equal infrpont of God and law, as the equality serves as a basis for the strong and righly organized state.” Concluding his letter, Ilia wrote: “All humans are equal infront of God and law, as the equality serves as a basis for the strong anmd rightly organized state” [27, 6-13; 15, 163].

The Russian Synod and its local governing structure – exarchy – was jointly opposed by the Georgian clergy and intelligentsia in their anti-Georgian activities. Obviously, the struggle was unequal, although the Georgian society’s dream for restoration of independence of the Church and the country came to the truth in 1917-1918, when Georgia restored its independence and the autocephaly of its church. Although the newly gained independence was lost in February, 1921, when Georgia was exposed to new dangers after Sovietization. The autocephaly of the Georgian Church was acknowledged by the Russian Church only in 1943.

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Annotated Bibliography

  1. Badridze Sh., Ilia Chavchavadze and the problem of autoccccephaly of Georgian Church, Ecclesiastical Journal “Jvari Vazisa” Tbilisi, 1987, #1. (In Georgian)
  2. Bishop Kirion., St. David the 4th the Builder, King of Georgias (1089-1125) Tbilisi, 1899 (In Georgian)
  3. Bishop Kirion., The 12th Century Struggle with Islam, Tbilisi, 1899 (In Russian)
  4. The National Principle in the Church, Newspaper “Otgoloski” S/Pbg, 1906 #16 (August) (In Russian)
  5. Bishop Kirion., The Cultural Role of Iveria in the History of Russia, Tbilisi, 1910 (In Russian)
  6. Durnovo N.N., Fate of the Georgian Church [Batumi, 2004] (Translation from the Journal “Ruski Stiag” Jenuary-May, 2007)
  7. Gamakharia J., St. Kirion II (Sadzaglishvili) and Abkhazia, Tbilisi, 2006 (In Georgian and Russian)
  8. Georgian Central Historical Archives, fund 488 act 26487
  9. Georgian Central Historical Archives, fund 1458 act 33
  10. Georgian Central Historical Archives, fund 1458 act 77
  11. Georgian Central Historical Archives, fund 1458 act 40
  12. Georgian Central Historical Archives, fund 488 act 27107
  13. Gogebashvili I., The Stronghold of Nationality, Tbilisi, 1903 (In Georgian)
  14. Gogebashvili I., Are we ready? Collected Pedagogical and Publicistical Essays, Part I, Tbilisi, 1910 (In Georgian)
  15. Gozalishvili Sh., Ilia Chavchavadze’s unpublished letters to the rector of Theological Seminary, monthly journal “Mnatobi” Tbilisi, 1957. N9 (In Georgian)
  16. Kiknadze V., The New Athos Monastery as the Stronghold of Rossian Sinod in Transcaucasia, ecclesiastical journal “Logos” Tbilisi, 1983 #1 (In Georgian)
  17. Kiknadze V., The relations of Catholicos-Patriarch Kirion the 2nd with the Secular and ecclesiastical figures of western europe, scientific journal “Historical Etiuds”, Tbilisi, 2002 (In Georgian)
  18. Kiknadze V., The life and deeds of Bishop P. Konchoshvili, Tbilisi, 2003 (In Georgian)
  19. Kikodze G., Letter to G.Mukhran-Batoni (Mukhranski), Monthly journal “Moambe” Tbilisi, 1896 #3 (In Georgian)
  20. Kluchevski V.O., Aporisms and ideas of history; Diaries and diary notes, works in the ninth volum, Vol. 9. Moskow, 1990 (In Russian)
  21. Kokrashvili Kh., The National, Social and Historical viewpoints in the writings of the Catholicos-Patriarch of all Georgia Kirion the 2nd; Synopsis of the Ph.D. dissertation (with the right of handwriting). Tbilisi, 2001 (In Georgian and English).
  22. Konchoshvili P., The Georgian versions of Old Teshament, monthly journal “Moambe” Chapter VI.Tbilisi #2, 1896,
  23. Konchoshvili P., Travelling to the Holly city of Jerusalem and Holl Mount Athos, Tbilisi, 1901 (In Georgian)
  24. Konchoshvili P., Small remark, newspaper “Iveria” Tbilisi, 1901a, #259
  25. Kutishvili M., The Social and Political Position of the Georgian Church in the 19th and 20th centuries, Tbilisi, 1987 (In Georgian)
  26. National Center of Manuscripts. G.Kikodze’s personal fund, act 49
  27. National Center of Manuscripts. Chavchavadze’s fund act 482
  28. Paichadze G., The Treaty of Georgievsk, edited by Paichadze, Tbilisi, 1983 (In Georgian)
  29. Ruseau J.J., Du contract Social, Georgian translation, Tbilisi, 1997
  30. Vitte S.U., Selected Memoirs, Moscow, 1991 (In Russian)
  31. Voeikov N., Church, Russia and Rome, the Second edition, Minsk, 2000 (In Russian)
  32. Vostorgov I.I., Notes from the History of Simon Canaanite Church of New Atos Monastery, second edition, Saloniki,1995

March 28, 2009 Posted by | Modern History | Leave a comment

Vazha Kiknadze: The New Archive Data from the Family Biography of Vazha- Pshavela

 Summary

 The archive documents concerning the biography of a great Georgian poet Vazha-Pshavela’s father- Pavle Razikashvili are discussed in the article.

Mentioned documents are kept in the funds of the office of Exarchs of Georgia. All of them are published and analyzed at the first time in the article.

Most of the analyzed 15 documents are in Russian and only two of them are in Georgian.

The unique sources give us opportunity to elucidate many unknown details from the early period of the biography of Pavle Razikashvili. For example: it comes clear how this selfeducated person had been enabled to occupy the position of psalmchanter in Kvara’s church (1853) and then in his native village Chargali (1855).

It comes clear that the role of priest Iow Tsiskarishvili was great in the career of Pavle Razikashvili. Iow Tsiskarishvili was quite educated person who was in friendly terms with famous kartvelologist Mari Brosset. Later on, I. Tsiskarishvili became the Godfather of Vazha-Pshavela.

According to the published documents Pavle Razikashvili’s first examiner was the greatest Georgian ecclesiastical figure bishop Gabriel Kikodze. At that time Gabriel occupied the position of bishop of Gori and the first vicar of Exarch of Georgia (By the decision of Synod of the Church of Georgia Gabriel Kikodze was reckoned among the saints in 1995). Pavle was examined in chanting, kathexisis, history of church, reading of prayer book etc. 

Thus, one can conclude that bishop Gabriel blessed Pavle Razikashvili’s way in clergy circle.        

February 2, 2009 Posted by | Modern History | Leave a comment

Vazha Kiknadze: Ilia Chavchavadze and the 19th century Georgian Clergy

1.      In the article some little known episodes of the great Georgian poet and thinker Ilia Chavchavadze’s relationship with the bishops Gabriel (Kikodze), Kirion (Sadzaglishvili) and Petre (Konchoshvili) are examined.
2.     For the first time, poetic works of clergyman Iona Brikhnichev created in Georgia at the end of the 19th c. and related to Ilia Chavchavadze are presented and analyzed (in particular, vast poetic work devoted to Ilia havchavadze’s tragic decease).
3.       The text of Ilia Chavchavadze’s letter – 1898 – addressed to the Head of Tbilisi Theological Seminary Seraphim is anew interpreted and specified. The letter was composed in Russian and is presented in five variants. Only once, in the 50′ies of the 20th c., the letter was translated into Georgian, without giving parallel Russian text, therefore some its parts need more precise definition.
4.     We draw a conclusion that Ilia Chavchavadze had private, business and friendly relationship with both Georgian and other clergy. At the same time, the presented material gives grounds for a conclusion that Ilia Chavchavadze made an important contribution to the fight for reestablishment of the Georgian Church autokephaly.

February 2, 2009 Posted by | Modern History | Leave a comment