Echmiadzin 'captures' the Georgian Orthodox monastery of Kobairi

13.05.24 9:46

The Republic of Armenia unequivocally refutes the existence of any Georgian church on its current territory. Despite this, there are numerous Georgian churches in the region. Georgian inscriptions, frescoes and tombstones have been preserved in these churches, yet the Armenian falsifiers remain unconvinced. At best, they refer to these churches as "Armenian-Chalcedonian," suggesting that their predecessors lacked the time to transform them into Armenian churches fully. Such churches, where the falsifiers "tried their best" and destroyed all Georgian traces and inscriptions, replacing them with Armenian ones, are simply referred to as "Armenian."



One such unique example of Georgian cultural heritage is the Kobairi Monastery, which is currently in a state of disrepair and under the control of Echmiadzin. A video on the internet provides an insight into the condition of the monastery's main temple.



The peculiarity of this monastery is that the Echmiadzin community and Armenian historical falsifiers, who seized this Georgian holy site, have been engaged in a long-term project of "working" on it, to present it as "Armenian". In particular, Armenian sources indicate that Kobairi was originally Armenian and subsequently transferred to the Armenian-Chalcedonite community. The authors fail to mention that this monastery was originally Georgian.


For example, in the article about the Kobairi monastery in the Russian-language Wikipedia, which reflects the positions of Armenian falsifiers, the following is written: The principal edifices of the Kobair monastery complex date from the twelfth to the fourteenth centuries. These include a one-aisle central cathedral, two chapels, a bell-tomb, a refectory and a cemetery. Inscriptions in Armenian are to be found on the monastery's walls, which were made before its conversion into a Chalcedonian monastery. Following the transfer of Kobair to the Chalcedonian Armenians, the inscriptions on the monastery were already in Georgian.


For Armenian nationalists, the mere mention of the Kobairi monastery as having been part of Georgia is unacceptable. It is claimed that the monastery was transferred from one Armenian community to another, and then to the Chalcedonites. The presence of Georgian frescoes in the monastery is explained by the fact that "Chalcedonite Armenians" were forced to attract Georgian artists.


The monastery's ruins are notable for their distinctive wall paintings, which represent a synthesis of Armenian, Byzantine, and Georgian artistic traditions. The frescoes are preserved in both large and small churches, which are connected by a common passage. The paintings were created after the transfer of the monastery from the Shahanshah's wife to the Chalcedonian Armenians. The upper aisle of the church was likely painted in 1282, at the request of the monk Gregory, to complete the decoration of the two churches. Research indicates that the paintings in the smaller church were created following the death of Shahanshah, which occurred around 1261. The frescoes in the main church of the monastery complex are thought to have been created between 1225 and 1250, shortly after the monastery was handed over to the Chalcedonian Armenians. The primary focus of the church's iconographic program and the monastery's narthex is Byzantine, with minimal representation of Armenian and Georgian themes. The apse of the monastery depicts the Mother of God on the throne, while the small church has the "Deesis" and the "Communion". The subject of the Communion of the Apostles is a well-known motif in Byzantine and Georgian painting. This is a common motif in contemporary Byzantine frescoes, although it is a rare example in Kobayr. It can be posited that Armenian artists of the period were not fully conversant with this art form, and thus engaged Georgian artists to paint their temples.


The falsifiers are attempting to appropriate another monastery, which casts a shadow on the image of Armenians as "the greatest artists-painters". It is curious to consider whether the so-called "great", "ancient" and "most talented in the world" Armenians, even if they were "Chalcedonites", were unable to paint. Furthermore, they were obliged to invite artists from the relatively uncultured nation of Georgia. It has been established that the frescoes in the Kobairi monastery are Georgian.


The frescoes of Kobairi are currently facing the greatest threat to their survival. The dome of the cathedral has collapsed, and the unique frescoes, which were restored in 1971, require urgent assistance, as they are currently exposed to the elements. However, the authorities of the Republic of Armenia and Echmiadzin have prohibited priests of the Georgian Orthodox Church and Georgian restorers from visiting the Georgian holy shrine in their hands, thereby allowing the unique monument of Georgian culture to perish.


George Kvinitadze

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