Dodo's Rka Monastery

One of the most significant components of the David Gareja complex is the Dodo Monastery, often referred to as the Dodo Rka (Dodo's Horn).

The Background of the Monastery 

The monastery was founded in the first half of the 6th century CE by Dodo Garejeli. Born in Kakheti, he was ordained when he was a young man.

After learning about Father David Garejeli's efforts aimed at promoting Christianity in Georgia, Dodo joined him in the desert and stayed there for the rest of his life. Back then, presumably, only three monasteries were functioning there: David Gareji's Lavra, Dodo's Rka, and John the Baptist (Natlismtsemeli) Monastery established by Saint David’s disciple, Lucian.

The Structure of the Monastery 

The cave structures that make up Dodo's Rka Monastery date from the sixth to the eighteenth centuries.

St. Dodo’s church, carved out of the cave, has a remarkable view. There is also a painting from the 8th-9th centuries depicting the enthroned Christ sending a blessing with his right hand, and holding an open book, with Georgian writing, in the left hand.

The Monastery of the Dodo's Rka and refectory were built during the 11th and 13th centuries, during a time of overall national and cultural-political advancement for Georgia and the flourishing period of David Gareja's monastery. Dodo's Rka served as a royal monastery between the 12th and 15th centuries. A fresco painting and architecture school was also established at David Gareja.

On the easter side of the main temple, is a hall-type chapel painted with images of saints. The artwork, dating from the 13th century, featured the Mother of God, a scene with bulls, saint’s stories, holy fathers, and several other saints.

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