Thousands of miles need to fly from the U.S. state of Georgia to get to the tiny country, which is also called “Georgia”. We are talking about the ancient land of Georgia, where the deep roots allowed the culture and traditions of the people and, more importantly, his faith in Jesus Christ.
Famed novelist John Steinbeck during travels in the Soviet Union in 1947, called this land “the second Paradise”. And it is easy to understand why. In the last part of the Communist Empire, which is often called the “Soviet Riviera,” and now “Republic of Georgia”, is nestled between the Caucasus mountains and the Black sea. Turkey and Armenia lie beyond its southern borders. Azerbaijan in the East. Russia — in the North.
The inhabitants of this ancient land, speak a language which is more than two thousand years. Ethnographer Luarsab, Togonidze asserts that his country also suffered a number of setbacks: “the Georgians had to overcome a lot. The geographical position of our country has attracted many invaders and occupiers”.
The story here is not measured by centuries and millennia. For centuries the country was the Playground of numerous empires.
“Turks, Persians, Greeks, Byzantines, Romans, Mongols, Russians…” — lists of the conquerors of their country, Georgian businessman Levan Vasadze.
In the capital Tbilisi is a beautiful combination of antiquity and modernity, creating a beautiful portrait of the rich culture and traditions of Georgia.
One of the best ways to enjoy the sights and sounds of Tbilisi is to climb the mountain by cable car. Removing these types of Tbilisi and stunning countryside, the Georgian operator Giorgi Karmazanashvili said, “Every time traveling to different regions of my country, I feel like I transported back thousands of years ago.” Georgians are known for their hospitality. They believe that guests are a gift from God, and therefore provide them with great honor. Their kitchen is something unearthly. For example, this amazing dish called khinkali, as well as the famous khachapuri.
In this society highly appreciates friendship and family is paramount. But there is one thing that many Georgians cherish the most. It is their belief. According to Levan Vasadze, Christianity, like anything else, helped to preserve and defend his country: “Georgia is able to remain by itself it is because in our country I consider it my duty the preservation of age-old features of our national character, which, undoubtedly, rooted in Christian culture,” he says.
Georgia is one of the oldest Christian countries in the world. Her Christian heritage can be explored here, in the town of Mtskheta, where approximately 326 one woman named Nina began to preach the gospel.
“At the confluence of two main rivers of Georgia there was a mass baptism. This place is considered as Second Jerusalem. For Georgians it is Holy,” said Luarsab, Togonidze.
Christianity quickly spread to other parts of the country, and ten years later became the state religion. Five crosses, symbolizing the influence of Christianity, is decorated with Georgian national flag. Since the fourth century, the Church plays an important role in this society, and today about 80% of Georgians consider themselves the Orthodox Church.
“Georgians have always had to defend their faith, fighting to the last drop of blood”, — says Metropolitan John Gamrekeli.
He is a prominent leader of the Georgian Orthodox Church. According to him, over the centuries, many Christians became martyrs for refusing to renounce their faith. In only one year 1226 Muslim invaders beheaded more than a hundred of thousands of Georgian Christians.
“Invaders there have been numerous attempts to force us to abandon our faith, but we never give in,” continues John Gamrekeli.
Elena Kavlelashvili — curator of the Georgian national Museum. She has a collection of invaluable manuscripts, rare Bibles, and other historical artifacts testifying to the Christian heritage of Georgia.
“Today the role of Christianity further increased in connection with new challenges,” she says.
Kavlelashvili believes that today, her country is at a crossroads. Many of Central Asia, Russia, Europe and the Middle East are committed to providing Georgia’s cultural and religious influence, and because the tiny state has once again to defend his legacy.
“I hope that the example of Georgia with her selfless love and devotion to the faith will be a testimony for all mankind, — says Elena, Kavlelashvili. — People need to understand that unbelief is disastrous for the people. Thanks to Christianity, we survived in the past and we will survive in the future.”