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Georgia celebrates Svetitskhovloba

By Tatia Megeneishvili
Tuesday, October 15
On October 14, the Georgian Orthodox church celebrated Svetitskhovloba. Svetitskhoveli is the cathedral in Mtskheta where, according to religious studies, the robe of Christ has been kept under the church since the first millennia. This annual holiday is celebrated in the town Mtskheta this is why it is also known as Mtskhetoba, or the day of Mtskheta.

Ilia II delivered a liturgy at Svetitskhoveli Cathedral on Monday morning. Politicians and diplomats attended the special service. After the ceremony several famous Georgian public figures including writer Guram Dochanashvili, sculptor Merab Berdzenishvili, film directors Eldar Sengelaia and Rezo Chkheidze, received Saint George Orders of Excellence from Ilia II for their devotion to the country through their art.

The U.S. Ambassador to Georgia, Richard Norland, also received a special golden bracelet from the Patriarch.

Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili congratulated the nation on the occasion. Calling Svetitskholeli a symbol of Georgia’s faith, the PM said the cathedral is also a symbol of Georgia’s centuries-old culture that keeps on developing even today.

“I am happy with the fact that I am a son of the nation with such ancient history and unique culture. I want to believe we live in a way that this church was not only a part of the history, but also our modern life too,” Ivanishvili said in his address wishing Georgian population peace, happiness and the prosperity.

Presidential Candidate of the Democratic Movement – United Georgia, Nino Burjanadze, also congratulated the Georgian people on Svetitskhovloba. "We hope that every citizen of our country in this difficult period will find courage and make wise decision and find a way for the country to once again bring it back on the right track of development," she said in her address.

Georgian cabinet members also spoke of importance of the date. The Minister of Regional Development and Infrastructure, David Narmania, wished that the Georgian people would “keep this special tradition that dispirits Georgia from the rest of world.”

Various events have been scheduled on this date in Mtskheta. According to the Ministry of Culture and Monument Protection, after the morning liturgy on Monday, the celebration went on throughout the day with various activities.

The events were attended by the Deputy Ministers of Culture, Alexander Margishvili and Badri Bagration-Gruzinski, Mtskheta Municipality culture and sport institution union members, the Patriarchate and other guests. The day ended with fireworks.