Posts Tagged Chiatura Church

Georgia’s Chiatura Church

Georgia's Chiatura Church

About 10 miles from Georgia’s small town of Chiatura, the Katskhi Pillar juts upward from verdant green hills. At nearly 140 feet, this towering monolith is a marvel in itself—but more remarkable still is the ancient church sitting at the top.  Known as Chiatura church, this ancient stone structure has overlooked the hills of Imereti province for over a thousand years—and it continues to have a place in Georgia’s culture and religion. It is believed that, before Chiatura church was built, the pillar was an ancient site for pagan rituals.  When Christianity took root in Georgia, a group called the Stylites took over the pillar.  Stylites were Christian ascetics who prayed, preached, and often lived for years at the top of pillars. The Katskhi Pillar provided a perfect natural site for their ascetic lifestyle.  Sometime between the 6th and 8th centuries, they constructed Chiatura church atop the pillar.  Ancient, weather-worn stones provided some shelter and comfort for the devotees living atop this natural monolith. Since the 15th century, the Stylite’s spiritual lifestyle has nearly died out.  The Chiatura church, however, provides one of the last sites where this type of pillar-dwelling asceticism is practiced.  An Orthodox Christian monk named Father […]

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