Georgia Celebrates Svetitskhovloba – The Day of a Unique Cathedral

On October 14, Georgia celebrates Svetitskhovloba, a national holiday dedicated to the Svetitskhoveli Cathedral ("the Living Pillar Cathedral") located in Georgia’s historical town of Mtskheta. The festival is also referred to as Mtskhetoba (celebrating the day of Mtskheta).

A cathedral is a holy place for Georgians. According to tradition, the holy robe of Jesus is buried under the church. Elias, a Jew from Mtskheta, was in Jerusalem when Jesus was crucified. The story is that Elias bought the robe of Jesus from a Roman soldier and brought it back to Georgia. When his sister touched the robe, she was immediately overcome with emotion and died. The robe couldn't be taken from her grasp, so they buried her and the robe in the church.

Svetitskhoveli translates to "the Living Pillar". This name is due to a miracle that Saint Nino performed on pillars that were hewn from a cedar that grew at the location of the buried robe. 

The original church was rebuilt in the 5th century and the current structure was completed in the 11th century. 

Svetitskhoveli Cathedral is the second largest church in the country after the Holy Trinity Cathedral.

This holy masterpiece of architecture was inscribed on UNESCO's list of World Heritage Sites in 1994.

On October 14, Georgian Orthodox Church also celebrates the day of King Mirian and Queen Nana, who reigned in the 4th century. They were the first monarchs in the country, who converted to Christianity.

On this day, special religious services are held throughout the churches in Georgia.

Orthodox Christian pilgrims visit the country’s ancient capital city Mtskheta, just outside Tbilisi, to mark the annual day of the city and its historical cathedral.

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By Ana Dumbadze 

14 October 2019 10:09