Antioquia Church

Antioquia Church

One of the earliest examples of Christian architecture in Georgia, Antioquia is located in the city of Mtskheta, and dates back to the 4th-5th centuries CE. You’ll find a number of other churches and holy places in Mtskheta that are also named after sacred places in the East, such as Betlemi, Tabori, Golgota, and Getsemania.

The History of Antioquia Church

The church is named after Ioane I, who was elected patriarch of Antioch at the Council of Nicaea in 325 and is a significant figure in Christian history. When Christianity was rooting in the country, King Mirian had requested that the Roman Emperor Constantine the Great send Ioane I to perform the baptism ceremonies.

As Kartlis Tskhovreba, the main source for the history of Georgia, tells us, the church was built by King Archil I after expelling the Persians, as a sign of thanks to God.

The Structure of Antioquia Church

In addition to the original church, Antioquia contains buildings from other time periods, including a hall church which dates back to the 7th-8th centuries and a vestibule with a tower built onto it in the 16th-17th centuries.

There was once a stone with a Greek inscription at the threshold of the church that stated the name of the architect responsible for the church’s construction, the Greek Averlios Akolios. It is now kept in the Mskheta Museum.

The church you see today is not quite as it was at the time of its construction, as it was burned down during Marwan II’s invasions of Georgia in the 8th century. The church was completely restored in the 15th - 18th centuries, however.

Antioquia Church in Modern-Day Georgia

Today, Antioquia Church bears the name of St. Stephen, and there is a working convent on site.

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