1500 Year Georgian Church Mosaic Discovered in Israel

“Stunning 1500 year Georgian Church Moisaic Discovered in Israeli Port City” the Jerusalem Post article by Daniel K. Eisenbud reads. “The well-preserved remains of a 1,500 year old colored mosaic floor from a Georgian church or monastery was unearthed during an excavation in the coastal city of Ashdod, the Antiquities Authority announced this week”. It appears the mosiac was found in August, under the direction of Dr. Alexander Fantalkin of Tel Aviv University’s Archeology and Ancient Near Eastern Civilizations Department, and Prof. Angelika Berlejung of Leipzig University. 

The discovered mosaic includes “a fourline Greek commemorative inscription dedicated to the structure’s builder, Bishop Procopius, as well as the year of its construction, based on the Georgian calendar, saying: “[By the grace of God (or Jesus)], this work was done from the foundation under Procopius, our most saintly and most holy bishop, in the month Dios of the 3rd indiction, year 292”. 

As the article states, according to Dr. Leah Di Segni, of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, the date following the Georgian calendar goes back to 539 CE, making it the earliest appearance of the use of the Georgian calendar in Israel. 

“This was many years before it was used in Georgia itself,” Segni, who deciphered the inscription, is quoted as saying. 

Ashkelon district archeologist Sa’ar Ganor noted that Ashdod is believed to be home to the largest community of Jews of Georgian origin in the world, the article says. “Testimony to the presence of the actual Georgians in the Land of Israel as far back as the Byzantine period has been found dozens of kilometers from Ashdod, [as well as in] Jerusalem and its surroundings,” said Ganor. “But this is the first time that a Georgian church or monastery has been discovered on the Israeli coast,” the recently published piece says, further noting that according to information from the archeologists, and according to the historical sources Peter the Iberian, is believed to be living in Ashdod–Yam before his death. 

“This public structure, which has only now begun to come to light, is part of an extensive archeological complex in the southern part of modern Ashdod. We are now hard at work to raise additional funds to continue the archeological excavation of Ashdod-Yam.” Sa’ar Ganor said. http://www.jpost.com/Israel-News/Stunning-1500-year-old-Georgian-church-mosaic-discovered-in-Israeli-Port-City-515032

By Nino Gugunishvili

24 November 2017 13:21