Svetitskhoveli Cathedral



(Literally the Cathedral of the Living Pillar) is an Eastern Orthodox cathedral located in the historic town of Mtskheta, Georgia, to the northwest of the capital Tbilisi.  Known as the burial site of Christ's mantel the cathedral is among the most venerated places of worship in the region. The present structure was completed in 1029, although the site itself dates back to the early fourth century. Georgia officially adopted Christianity as its state religion in 337.

                   The wall that surrounds the cathedral, from the outside.

According to Georgian hagiography, in the 1st century a Georgian Jew from Mtskheta named Elias was in Jerusalem when Jesus was crucified. Elias bought Jesus’ robe from a Roman soldier at Golgotha and brought it back to Georgia. Returning to his native city, he was met by his sister Sidonia who upon touching the robe immediately died from the emotions engendered by the sacred object. The robe could not be removed from her grasp, so she was buried with it.  The place where Sidonia is buried with Christ's robe is preserved in the Cathedral.

                   The ciborium containing Sidonia and the robe.

 Later, from her grave grew an enormous cedar tree. Ordering the cedar chopped down to build the church, St. Nino had seven columns made from it for the church’s foundation. The seventh column, however, had magical properties and rose by itself into the air. It returned to earth after St. Nino prayed the whole night. It was further said that from the magical seventh column a sacred liquid flowed that cured people of diseases.



Above is an interior view of the cathedral.