Save Khujabi monastery!

23.02.24 23:29

An open letter to His Holiness and Beatitude Catholicos-Patriarch of All Georgia, Archbishop of Mtskheta and Tbilisi, Metropolitan Ilia II of Bichvinta and Tskhum-Abkhazia.


Your Holiness!


According to an agreement between the governments of Georgia and Armenia, the process of delimitation and demarcation of the Georgian-Armenian border should begin shortly. During the last years of the USSR and after the independence of Georgia and Armenia, significant areas of the border territory were unilaterally appropriated by the Khai side, taking advantage of the difficult political situation in Georgia.


As a result of Armenia's unilateral illegal "movement" of the border towards Georgia, Georgian sacred sites and Georgian cultural monuments have come under Armenian Khai control. The most important of these is the Khudajabi Monastery of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary.


According to scholars, the Khudajabi Monastery was built in the XII or the first half of the XIII century, during the greatest prosperity of the Georgian state, and is one of the most outstanding monuments of Georgian architecture.


Unfortunately, it is difficult to determine the exact date of the temple's construction. The inscription on the walls of the Khujabi monastery, which would have revealed the names of the monastery's founders and the date of its foundation, was destroyed in the 19th century. This was probably done by Khai forgers and settlers who, with the connivance of the authorities of the Russian Empire at that time, carried out mass confiscations and appropriation of ancient Georgian churches, passing them off as "Khai" churches.


Vakhushti Batonishvili mentions the Khujabi monastery as functioning at the beginning of the 18th century. Later, as a result of wars and enemy raids, the monastery was devastated and abandoned at the beginning of the 19th century. In 1905, Khujabi was reborn as an Orthodox women's monastery and operated until 1935, when the Soviet authorities persecuted the Orthodox Church and expelled the mothers from the monastery.


The monastery has always been located on the territory of Georgia. This is confirmed by the reference "Monuments of the Georgian SSR on the Protection of the State" published in Tbilisi in 1959 by the Department of Protection and Restoration of Cultural Monuments of the Ministry of Culture of the Georgian SSR and the Atlas of the Soviet Socialist Republic of Georgia published in 1964 by the Vakhushti Batonishvili Institute of Geography of the Academy of Sciences of the Georgian SSR. Vakhushti Batonishvili Institute of Geography of the Academy of Sciences of the Georgian SSR.


From 1987 the Khujabi Monastery was located on the territory of the Georgian SSR. This has been confirmed by documentation, in particular the article on Khujabi in the Georgian Soviet Encyclopaedia, vol. 11, pp. 5-21, Tbilisi, 1987. It explicitly states that the Khujabi monastery was located in the Marneuli district of the Georgian SSR.


In 1988, it was reported that the state border of the Armenian SSR was illegally moved 400 metres deep into Georgia in order to seize the Khujabi monastery. (K. Kharadze. The true heir of the monument. Akhalgazrda komunisti, 15 October 1988, in Georgian).


In this way, the holy shrine of the Georgian Orthodox Church was illegally seized by a neighbouring state. Georgians were deprived of the opportunity to even visit the Khujabi monastery.


Moreover, when people tried to approach the monastery from the Georgian side, the Khujabi border guards fired on them. reported on such an incident in 2005 in the article "Where is the border between Georgia and Armenia?" of 21.04.2005.(


Afterwards, a journalist from the Georgian television station 'Mze', Giorgi Kalandia, arrived at the monastery with his film crew.  But Khai border guards opened fire when they tried to approach the monastery, shooting into the air above the journalists' heads. The shooting continued for several minutes, and the border guards continued shooting until the journalists finished filming and left the monastery area.


The Georgian people are being denied the opportunity to restore and rebuild their sacred shrine. Armenia is also doing nothing to preserve it. As a result, the Khujabi Monastery is being destroyed. Photos of the current state of the Khujabi Monastery raise serious concerns that the temple could collapse at any moment without urgent intervention by restorers and work to strengthen the building.


The forest surrounding the monastery "swallows" the Khujabi temple. Its roof and dome are overgrown with trees. Tree roots penetrate between the stones and destroy the structure. Stone carvings are falling from the dome, and unique bas-reliefs are in danger of being destroyed. If we do not intervene now, it will be impossible to save the temple.


The Khujabi Monastery must be saved before it is too late! Once the border has been demarcated, the monastery must be returned to Georgia. However, while the border demarcation process is underway, it is necessary for the Hayes to immediately allow Georgian Orthodox clergy, Georgian scientists, archaeologists and restorers, as well as pilgrims, to visit the monastery. The Georgian monastery of Khujabi must be revived!


With deep respect to His Holiness the Catholicos-Patriarch


Editors of the Kavkazplus website



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