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Jvari (monastery)

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Jvari (monastery)

The name of this monastery translated as the "Monastery of the Cross". For the Georgian monastery in Jerusalem with the same name, see Monastery of the Cross.
Jvari Monastery
Jvari Monastery
Basic information
Location Georgia
Affiliation Georgian Orthodox
Architectural description
Architectural type Church
Architectural style Tetraconch
Completed 586-605 AD, by King Stephen I of Kartli (Iberia)
Official name: Historical Monuments of Mtskheta
Type Cultural
Criteria iii, iv
Designated 1994 (18th session)
Reference no. 708
Region Europe

Jvari Monastery (World Heritage site by UNESCO.

Contents

  • History 1
  • Architecture 2
  • Threats 3
  • Gallery 4
  • Notes 5
  • References 6
  • External links 7

History

Jvari Monastery stands on the rocky mountaintop at the confluence of the Mtkvari and Aragvi rivers, overlooking the town of Mtskheta, which was formerly the capital of the Kingdom of Iberia.

According to traditional accounts, on this location in the early 4th century Saint Nino, a female evangelist credited with converting King Mirian III of Iberia to Christianity, erected a large wooden cross on the site of a pagan temple. The cross was reportedly able to work miracles and therefore drew pilgrims from all over the Caucasus. A small church was erected over the remnants of the wooden cross in c.545 named the "Small Church of Jvari".

The present building, or "Great Church of Jvari", is generally held to have been built between 590 and 605 by Erismtavari Stepanoz I. This is based on the Jvari inscriptions on its facade which mentions the principal builders of the church: Stephanos the patricius, Demetrius the hypatos, and Adarnase the hypatos. Professor Cyril Toumanoff disagrees with this view, identifying these individuals as Stepanoz II, Demetre (brother of Stepanoz I), and Adarnase II (son of Stepanoz II), respectively.[1]

The importance of Jvari complex increased over time and attracted many pilgrims. In the late UNESCO World Heritage Site.

However, over the centuries the structures suffered damage from rain and wind erosion and inadequate maintenance. Jvari was listed in the 2004 World Monuments Watch list by the World Monuments Fund.

Architecture

Ascension of the Cross, bas-relief from the Jvari Monastery

The Jvari church is an early example of a "four-apsed church with four niches"[2] domed Georgian architecture and served as a model for many other churches.

Varied Asomtavruli script. The entrance tympanum on the southern façade is adorned with a relief of the Glorification of the Cross, the same façade also shows an Ascension of Christ.

Uncertainty over, and debate about, the date of the church's construction have assumed nationalist undertones in Georgia and Armenia, with the prize being which nation can claim to have invented the "four-apsed church with four niches" form.

Threats

Erosion is playing its part to deteriorate the monastery, with its stone blocks being degraded by wind and acidic rain.[3]

Gallery

Notes

  1. ^ Rapp, Stephen H. (2003), Studies In Medieval Georgian Historiography: Early Texts And Eurasian Contexts, p. 344. Peeters Bvba ISBN 90-429-1318-5.
  2. ^ J-M. Thierry & P. Donabedian, "Armenian Art" p67.
  3. ^ ICOMOS Heritage at Risk 2006/2007: Jvari (Holy Cross) Monastery in Mtskheta

References

  • Abashidze, Irakli. Ed. Georgian Encyclopedia. Vol. IX. Tbilisi, Georgia: 1985.
  • ALTER, Alexandre. A la croisée des temps. Edilivre Publications: Paris, - (novel)- 2012. ISBN 978-2-332-46141-4
  • Amiranashvili, Shalva. History of Georgian Art. Khelovneba: Tbilisi, Georgia: 1961.
  • Grigol Khantsteli. Chronicles of Georgia.
  • Rosen, Roger. Georgia: A Sovereign Country of the Caucasus. Odyssey Publications: Hong Kong, 1999. ISBN 962-217-748-4

External links

  • Georgian government site
  • Max Planck Institute
  • UNESCO site

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