Saint George's Church

Tbilisi, Georgia

Saint George's Church was probably founded in 1251. The date was proposed based on an Arabic inscription on a khachkar over the western door of the church yard. According to 13th century chronicler Hovhannes Erznkatsi, the church was built by Prince Umek of Karin.

The church was given to the Persian garrison by Safavid Shah Abbas I of Persia in 1616 and returned to the Armenian community in 1748 by King Heraclius II of Georgia. It was burnt when Persians sacked Tbilisi in 1795. The church was thoroughly restored in the 17th century, and then again in 1832 and 1881.

It became the seat of the Georgian Diocese of the Armenian Apostolic Church after the Vank Cathedral was demolished by Soviet authorities in the 1930s.

The most recent renovation of the church began in 2012 and was completed in 2015.

Architecture and frescoes

The church is built on a traditional plan of a partitioned, open cross with a rectangular perimeter. Like most of the churches in Tbilisi, it is built in brick. The outer walls of the church are covered with stucco.

Late 18th-century paintings by Hovnatan Hovnatanian decorate the church's interior. Between 1922 and 1923 Gevorg Bashinjaghian decorated the church's internal walls, the altar, and the walls in front of it, creating four large murals.

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Details

Founded: 1251
Category: Religious sites in Georgia

Rating

4.6/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Rade V (3 years ago)
The church is old. There are lots of churches in Tbilis and this one is in old Tbilisi. It is an orthodox church. You can find this church if you are walking around the restaurants at the old Tbilisi.
ali abbasi (3 years ago)
Very big & nice
Mohammad Masoudi (3 years ago)
I just love this place.
Marina Azizian (3 years ago)
Saint George's Church is a 13th-century Armenian church in the old city of Tbilisi, Georgia's capital. It is one of the two functioning Armenian churches in Tbilisi and is the cathedral of the Georgian Diocese of the Armenian Apostolic Church.It is located in the south-western corner of Vakhtang Gorgasali Square (Meidani) and is overlooked by the ruins of Narikala fortress. According to the Tbilisi municipality website, the area where the church is located used to belong to the prison district during the Middle Ages, hence the occasional Georgian name, Tsikhisdidi. According to Armenian historians Hovsep Orbeli and Levon Melikset-Bek, the church was founded in 1251. The date was proposed based on an Arabic inscription on a khachkar over the western door of the church yard. According to 13th century chronicler Hovhannes Erznkatsi, the church was built by Prince Umek of Karin (Erzurum). According to Jean-Michel Thierry, Umek was a wealthy merchant who settled in Tiflis, and married Princess Mama Vahtangian, the daughter of Hasan Jalal Vahtangian, Grand Prince of Khachen (ruled 1214–61). However, the Diocese of the Armenian Apostolic Church in Georgia website claims that the church existed long before the 13th century and that Erznkatsi refers to the church being rebuilt and not being built by Umek.[5] According to Narek Kushchyan, the pastor of the church as of 2017, an Armenian Apostolic Church was built on its site in 631, called Berd Surb Gevorg ("Saint George [of the] Fortress"), following the final break between the churches of Armenia and Georgia. The church was given to the Persian garrison by Safavid Shah Abbas I of Persia in 1616 and returned to the Armenian community in 1748 by King Heraclius II of Georgia. It was burnt when Persians sacked Tbilisi in 1795. The church was thoroughly restored in the 17th century, and then again in 1832 and 1881. It became the seat of the Georgian Diocese of the Armenian Apostolic Church after the Vank Cathedral was demolished by Soviet authorities in the 1930s. The most recent renovation of the church began in 2012. Initiated and financed by Russian-Armenian businessman Ruben Vardanian, the renovation was supported by donations of philanthropists Albert Avdolyan, Sergey Sarkisov and Rusudan Makhashvili, Danil Khachaturov, and others. Some $3.5 million was spent on its renovation, which was completed in 2015.The church was reconsecrated on October 31, 2015 by Catholicos Karekin II, the head of the Armenian Church.
Avet Gevorgyan (4 years ago)
Saint George's Church is a 13th-century Armenian church in the old city of Tbilisi, Georgia's capital. It is one of the two functioning Armenian churches in Tbilisi and is the cathedral of the Georgian Diocese of the Armenian Apostolic Church. It is located in the south-western corner of Vakhtang Gorgasali Square (Meidani) and is overlooked by the ruins of Narikala fortress.
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