One of the ways the Armenians made Georgian territories their own was to build Gregorian churches in and around Tbilisi or to convert existing Georgian Orthodox churches into Gregorian churches both near Tbilisi and in Kartli as a whole. This arrogant endeavor was one of the main forms of appropriation activities of Armenian nationalists.
Since the external architectural forms of the Georgian and Armenian churches are practically identical (there are slight differences only in the geometric proportions and the interior decoration of the churches), it was very easy to erase the Georgian traces in the Georgian churches, which were depopulated due to the vicissitudes of fate, and to take them over by the Armenians. This problem was easily "solved" by erasing Georgian inscriptions or at least destroying stones with Georgian inscriptions placed in the walls of churches. There are many examples and of course we cannot discuss them here. Georgian and foreign historians and researchers have published many works on the above issues. Similar processes, especially intensive, took place and continue in Kvemo Kartli and Tao-Klarjeti.
The "invasion" of the Armenian clergy to convert the population of Georgia to the Gregorian faith was massive, methodical and planned. Interesting information about the historical, ethno-cultural, religious and spiritual heritage of Kvemo Kartli is given by the newspaper "Georgia" of November 9, 1918, which connects the construction of churches and monasteries in the region with the name of Vakhtang Gorgasali:
"This corner from time immemorial was inhabited only by the Georgian tribe, and 400 people was considered more than a village. This place belonged to the Georgian nobility. This is evidenced by the fact that in the 5th century Vakhtang Gorgaslan built here several large churches-monasteries, as well as three bishop's cathedrals: the huge Akhtala Cathedral was built by Vakhtang Gorgaslan and he placed a bishop here, and 120 villages were under his possession. The bishop of Bolnisi owned more than 100 villages and his clergy, including Sion of Bolnisi, also a bishop's cathedral. The huge cathedral of Manglisi, the bishop's cathedral named Mangleli with the clergy of more than 15 Georgian villages and the church of Haghpat, a huge domed church, were built by Vakhtang Gorgaslan. Today it has been taken over by Armenia. The Sanahi temple, built by Vakhtang Gorgaslan's son, has been taken over by the Armenians".
The Armenian "seizure" of the Sanahin and Haghpat churches mentioned in the article does not refer to the location of these churches on the territory of the Armenian state in 1918, but to the transformation of these Georgian Orthodox churches into Monophysite churches and their belonging to the Armenian community living in the territories of Georgia. Interestingly, some of these churches still have Georgian inscriptions. Some of the Georgian inscriptions were scraped off by the local Armenian population and the stones with inscriptions were stolen.
Unfortunately, there are many such facts and they are widely known. On the same subject in № 217 of the same newspaper the well-known Georgian public figure and publisher, researcher, popularizer of history and writer Zakaria Chichinadze wrote in his article "Remains of Georgians in Borchala district":
"Borchala district has been an integral part of Georgia since ancient times - this is confirmed by many historical documents. In this region - ancient remains, made by Georgian hands.... Tsugrugasheni temple, monasteries, untouched, beautifully built, in a prosperous place, with arches. Mossy today.
The temple of Dmania, the cathedral of Tashira, a magnificent structure, immaculate. A bishop sat here and was called Dmanis. This temple is located on the Mashavari River, on the Orbeliani estate. Vakhtang Orbeliani dedicates the following lines to it: "Disappear, Dmanisi, and disappear into the abyss, lest it rise before my eyes and cause me torment". Today this temple and its surroundings are the property of a rich Armenian.
Tsalka Cathedral, a charming building, used to be the residence of the bishop who ruled the Georgian villages of Tashir and Trialeti up to Javakheti. Vardisubani Monastery, without a dome. It was built in a beautiful place. The monastery of Pirgebula, carved in the rock, decorated with large buildings. At the time of Vakhushti, in 1740, a Georgian archimandrite sat here. In the 12th century it was renovated by Queen Tamar. King Mirdat built two temples in the Ktsia valley, one of them is Gumbati - Lang Temur asked me. The second is a small monastery, which in the time of Vakhushti, in 1740, was called Khutsis Amar. Kober Monastery, a wonderful temple. Today it is the property of Armenians.
Dzeli Tskhoveli Monastery, built by Georgians. Georgian kings swore allegiance to the Kingdom of Erekle on the Cross of the True Pillar. Today it is in the hands of Armenians. The small church of Rustavi, built by the Rustavians near the village of Arashenda in the Algeti Gorge, still stands with Georgian inscriptions. The Pitareti Temple, magnificent in its architecture, painting and location.
Another interesting monument of Georgian architecture is the monastery complex of Kirantsi (Korinji). It is located in the province of Tavushi, 12 km southwest of the village of Kirantsi. It was founded in the 13th century. Its components are 3 churches, several porticoes, a refectory, daroks and auxiliary buildings. The monastery was surrounded by a protective wall, now destroyed, in the southwestern part of which there is an arched gate. Most of the buildings are made of brick (which is rare in Armenia) and hewn stone.
The main church of the Kirantsi monastery complex dates from the 13th century. It is a rectangular domed hall. On both sides of the altar there are two pylons and a side chapel. At the top of the church there is an octagonal dome, the neck of which is decorated with watered tiles in the shape of a six-pointed star and a diamond. Through the two entrances of the church, the pilgrim enters the annex of the vestibule. Two one-nave cathedrals were built to the north and south of the main church. The refectory, built of rough sandstone and cobblestones, is located to the north of the main church. It is a vaulted hall built on three arches. The refectory of the Kirants Monastery is one of the important representatives of non-religious architectural monuments of the Middle Ages in the territory of modern Armenia. The main temple and the refectory were covered with frescoes from the inside, which is atypical for Armenian monastic architecture. Scenes of the Ascension are painted in the lower part of the dome, and the four evangelists are depicted on the sails. On the fragments of the frescoes there are Georgian and Greek inscriptions. This shows that the monastery was Chalcedonian-Orthodox.
The interior and exterior decoration of the church combines Georgian and Armenian architectural traditions. In addition to the remains of the monastery stables and outbuildings, an ancient cemetery has been preserved on the territory of the complex. Today the place where the monastery used to stand is named after the village near it.
Kobair (Koberi) Monastery is another Georgian temple in modern Armenia. The monastery seems to have been founded in the early Middle Ages. It is believed that for some time it was in the hands of the representatives of the royal court of Lore of Quiricae. In the middle of the 13th century, Shanshe's wife Mkhargrdzeli transferred the small maternal house from Armenians to Georgians again - at that time active and extensive construction works began in Kobair, a large temple decorated with frescoes, a burial chapel for representatives of the House of Shanshe, as well as a bell tower, dining hall and other buildings were built.
There are many extensive Georgian inscriptions in Kobair, as well as graves with Georgian inscriptions belonging to members of the Mkhargrdzeli (Dolgoruky) family and people who worked here (there is also a very interesting epitaph in verse). The Kobair monastery complex was of great strategic importance at that time. It is not visible from the valley, but the whole valley could be controlled from the monastery.
Today, the monastery is severely damaged, the complex is falling apart day by day, as evidenced by the scattered boulders from which the monument was once built. The road leading to the monastery passes through a semi-abandoned Armenian village. The remains of a stone staircase leading to the monastery are still preserved somewhere. The fact that the monument itself preserves historical material can be seen at a glance. The barely preserved remains of the walls and frescoes are still majestic and impressive. The Georgian inscriptions of Asomtavruli are still well preserved on the collapsed walls.
And Armenians came here from Turkey in the first half of the XIX century and are not the indigenous population of this region".
General Ilya Odishelidze wrote about this region in his historical work "The Borders of Georgia": As for Akhalkalaki or, in Georgian, Javakheti, this province belonged to Georgia for a very long time, for thousands of years, and was never part of Armenia, except for our very short periods of history, when Armenian princes, taking advantage of favorable circumstances, invaded Javakheti with their gangs.
There is not a single Armenian monument, church, etc. in Javakheti. This province, as well as the present-day Akhalkalaki district (Samtskhe or Meskheti in Georgian), Batumi district (Shavsheti and Adjara in Georgian), Ispira (Spera) province and Lazistan were conquered by the Turks in the 16th-17th centuries. These provinces were always part of Georgia, their common name was "Samtskhe-Saatabago" and they were ruled by one person whose residence was in Akhaltsikhe. The Turks also united these provinces into one province, which was semi-independent, its rulers belonged to the princely family of Jakeli, and its foreign policy was also independent. These rulers were Georgians, and one of their representatives, Riza Pasha Jakeli, is still alive and a member of the Turkish Senate...
Amrali Ismailov, an Azerbaijani scientist, chief researcher of the Azerbaijan Pedagogical University, Doctor of Philosophy, notes that Armenians are perhaps the only nation in the world that has been inspired throughout the centuries by the following ideas
a) superiority over the rest of humanity;
b) Extermination of peoples of Turkish origin;
c) Possession of a significant part of the territories of Europe, Asia Minor, as well as Turkey, Azerbaijan, Georgia, North Caucasus, southern regions of Russia, Ukraine and Moldova;
d) The appropriation of the historical culture of other peoples by all means;
e) "Aging" and falsification of Armenian history;
It went so far that the Armenian writer Suren Ayvazyan wrote that "the coming of God and the Armenians happened at the same time". The essence of these opinions is to declare the Armenians as the first masters of the earth. In Strabo's time, at the end of the first century (A.D.) and the end of the first century (A.D.), this corner was still in the hands of the Armenians. But already from 35 A.D., when, according to Tacitus, the Iberian kings were so strong that they fought against the Persians who had invaded Armenia, and when even in Armenia itself a Georgian prince reigned, the situation must have changed significantly. Pliny's words also prove that Tezi and Trialeti, which was also considered one of the constituent parts of Gugareti in the broad sense, already belonged to the Iberians in the first century A.D. (Natur, his. ch. VI. §26, History of the Georgian Nation, vol. I, 60). (с. 112)
From the reign of David Agmashenebeli (1089-1125) Georgia became such a powerful state that its growth was unstoppable until the first quarter of the 13th century. As the only powerful Christian state in Asia Minor, Georgia was the protector and savior of various Christian peoples enslaved by Muslims.
The settlement of Armenians in Gori and Shida Kartli, organized by the Georgian royal court, also belongs to the same period. The reasons for the settlement are clear - they had to contribute to the revival of the city life through hospitality, trade, handicrafts and petty trade. This was the second great wave of Armenian settlement in Georgia.
From 1118, the Armenians never again possessed the territories of historical Kvemo Kartli, and for the next eight hundred years, i.e. until 1918, the Armenians were constantly under the domination of the Seljuk Turks, Mongols, Central Asian Turkmen tribes, then the Ottomans, Persians and Russians, and the empires they created. At best - in full vassal subordination. During this entire eight-hundred-year period, the Armenians of Transcaucasia experienced only one century of national, religious, social and cultural prosperity. Having freed themselves from the yoke of Turkish-Seljuk rule in the 11th century through the great efforts of King David Agmashenebeli, they achieved a complete cultural and spiritual ascent during the era of the King Tamar.
Yes, "it was precisely at that time, during the reigns of David Agmashenebeli, Demetre I, George III and King Tamar, when Georgia bowed to the Sultan of Arzrum in Asia Minor and reached the cities of Qazvin and Gurgan in Persia, stretching from the Black Sea to the Caspian Sea, that the Armenians breathed free. They had a powerful patron. It is no coincidence that the cultural and civil prosperity of the city of Ani fell during the period of Georgian political domination.
In connection with the above-mentioned issue, Mr. Giorgi Gvazava, in an editorial published in the December 20, 1918 issue of the newspaper "Georgia" under the title "Formidable Message", wrote: "After the collapse of the Armenian state and after the defeated people were forced to leave almost all their lands, Georgia was their only refuge. Islam had conquered all of Asia Minor, and only two fragments of Christian culture remained - Georgia and Armenia. This cultural proximity gave rise to a moral proximity, and Armenians stayed in Georgia almost as if they were in their own country. The doors of Georgia were always open to them, and the Georgian people welcomed them with cordiality and kindness. Armenians often occupied the first place in the state. Without going too far, it is enough to remember that King Iraklius gave the Armenians some advantages in civil life, distributed lands, provided them with our churches".
From the book "Armenian-Georgian War" by Archil Chachkhiani
To be continued