Religion
Religion

Today, 88.6% of Georgia's population is Christian; most of them are adherents of the Georgian Orthodox Church. According to Orthodox tradition, Christianity was first preached in Georgia by the Apostles Simon and Andrew in the 1st century. It became the state religion of Kartli (Iberia) in 337, as a result Georgia is the second country in the world to become Christian.

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The conversion of Kartli to Christianity is credited to a lady called St. Nino from Cappadocia, a close relative of St. George, who fulfilled the will of St. Virgin, spread and strengthened Christianity in this land. As a result, King Mirian and Queen Nana adopted Christianity. At the request of King Mirian, the Byzantine Emperor Constantine the Great sent clerics for the baptism of the king, his family and the people. Before the arrival of the clergy, the construction of the church in honor of the 12 apostles has started in Mtskheta on the place, where the robe of Jesus Christ has been buried. The cathedral is one of the most sacred places in Georgia. According to Georgian tradition, a Georgian Jew from Mtskheta named Elias was in Jerusalem when Jesus was crucified. He bought Jesus’ robe from a Roman soldier at Golgotha and brought it back to Georgia. Upon his return to Mtskheta, he was met by his sister Sidonia who upon touching the robe immediately died from the emotions engendered by the holy 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. Later, from her grave grew an enormous cedar tree. St. Nino ordered the cedar chopped down to build a church.From the cedar tree she had seven columns made for the church foundations.The seventh column, however, had magical properties and rose by itself into the air.After St. Nino prayed the whole night it returned to earth. In Georgian sveti means “pillar” and tskhoveli means “life-giving” or “living”, hence the name of the cathedral. A small stone church was built inside the Cathedral at the end of the 13th and the beginning of the 14th century. The church is a symbolic copy of the Chapel of Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem. It marks Svetitskhoveli as the second most sacred Christian place in the world (after the Church of Jerusalem).

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Today, 88.6% of Georgia's population is Christian; most of them are adherents of the Georgian Orthodox Church. According to Orthodox tradition, Christianity was first preached in Georgia by the Apostles Simon and Andrew in the 1st century. It became the state religion of Kartli (Iberia) in 337, as a result Georgia is the second country in the world to become Christian.

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The conversion of Kartli to Christianity is credited to a lady called St. Nino from Cappadocia, a close relative of St. George, who fulfilled the will of St. Virgin, spread and strengthened Christianity in this land. As a result, King Mirian and Queen Nana adopted Christianity. At the request of King Mirian, the Byzantine Emperor Constantine the Great sent clerics for the baptism of the king, his family and the people. Before the arrival of the clergy, the construction of the church in honor of the 12 apostles has started in Mtskheta on the place, where the robe of Jesus Christ has been buried. The cathedral is one of the most sacred places in Georgia. According to Georgian tradition, a Georgian Jew from Mtskheta named Elias was in Jerusalem when Jesus was crucified. He bought Jesus’ robe from a Roman soldier at Golgotha and brought it back to Georgia. Upon his return to Mtskheta, he was met by his sister Sidonia who upon touching the robe immediately died from the emotions engendered by the holy 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. Later, from her grave grew an enormous cedar tree. St. Nino ordered the cedar chopped down to build a church.From the cedar tree she had seven columns made for the church foundations.The seventh column, however, had magical properties and rose by itself into the air.After St. Nino prayed the whole night it returned to earth. In Georgian sveti means “pillar” and tskhoveli means “life-giving” or “living”, hence the name of the cathedral. A small stone church was built inside the Cathedral at the end of the 13th and the beginning of the 14th century. The church is a symbolic copy of the Chapel of Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem. It marks Svetitskhoveli as the second most sacred Christian place in the world (after the Church of Jerusalem).