The Day of Svetitskovloba is annually celebrated on October 14. It is dedicated to celebrating the construction of the Svetitskhoveli Cathedral — the first Christian church in Georgia.
The holiday appreciates the significance of the cathedral to the people of Georgia and recognizes its impact on Georgian culture and tradition.
History of Day of Svetitskovloba
Christianity is the largest religion in the world, practiced by more than 2.4 billion people. But it did not become the largest overnight. The spread of Christianity was a gradual event. The religion developed in the first century in Judea and spread from there to other parts of Europe, such as Armenia, Georgia, and Rome, over the next few centuries.
The religion came to Georgia riding in the hearts of the Apostles Simon and Andrew, who visited the country in the first century to spread Christian beliefs. However, it wasn’t until Saint Nino came from Constantinople that Georgia became a Christian country. She was pivotal in converting the Georgian monarchs, who proclaimed Christianity as the state religion. St. Nino also selected Mtskheta, the capital of Kartli, as the location for the Svetitskhoveli Cathedral.
According to Georgian hagiography, there is an interesting story behind the cathedral’s construction. It goes like this: at the time of the crucifixion of Jesus, Elias, a Georgian Jew from Mtskheta, was in Jerusalem. He left the city and brought Jesus’s robe to Georgia. However, when his sister touched the robe, she was overcome with extreme emotion and died immediately. He could not remove the robe from her dead hands, so he buried her with it. Over time, a great cedar tree grew from her grave. When St. Nino came to Georgia, she heard about the legend, so she chose the tree’s location to build the cathedral. She ordered that seven columns be created from the tree to build the foundation of the Svetitskhoveli Cathedral. The last column is said to have secreted a fluid capable of healing all illnesses.
Day of Svetitskovloba timeline
Armenia becomes the first country to adopt Christianity as its state religion.
Georgia proclaims Christianity as its official religion.
King Mirian III of Kartli orders the construction of the Svetitskhoveli Cathedral.
The Svetitskhoveli Cathedral becomes a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Day of Svetitskovloba FAQs
What was Georgia’s religion before Christianity?
Before converting to Christianity, Georgian people mainly followed Zoroastrian and pagan beliefs.
Which apostle went to Georgia?
The Apostle Andrew was tasked by the Holy Mother of God to preach Christianity in Georgia.
Who built the first church in Georgia?
Mirian III of Kartli built the first church in Georgia.
Day of Svetitskovloba Activities
Visit the cathedral
Georgia is a European nation with a rich culture and beautiful architecture. If you’re an architecture buff, take a trip to Georgia and pay a visit to the Svetitskhoveli Cathedral during the Day of Svetitskovloba.
Research the history of the cathedral
The Svetitskhoveli Cathedral has a long history. So, go to Google and learn how the cathedral has stood guard over Jesus’ robe for more than 900 years.
Pray to St. Nino
St. Nino is associated with converting the Georgian monarchs to Christianity. Pray to her for peace and prosperity.
5 Interesting Facts About Georgia
The birthplace of winemaking
Georgia is considered the birthplace of winemaking.
Marvelous ecological diversity
The Georgian biosphere is one of the most ecologically diverse regions on Earth.
Europe’s highest permanent human settlements
Georgia has Europe’s highest permanent human settlements in Bochorna and Ushguli.
The deepest cave on Earth
The world’s deepest cave is Veryovkina Cave, located in the Gagra Mountain range of the Western Caucasus region.
The seventh safest nation
Georgia was rated as the seventh safest nation to visit in 2017.
Why We Love Day of Svetitskovloba
It is beautiful
We love Georgia. It is a biodiversity hotspot and home to majestic mountains, deep caves, green hills and glens, and medieval fortresses.
It houses the robe of Jesus
The Svetitskhoveli Cathedral is one of the oldest cathedrals in Europe. The robe worn by Jesus is believed to lie under a square pillar beneath the central nave.
It has one of the oldest communities
Georgian history is rich and ancient. It even predates the fall of the Roman Empire!
Day of Svetitskovloba dates