Ethnic groups and religions in Georgia

Ethnic groups and religions in Georgia

Representatives of different ethnic groups, previously forced to leave their homeland due to economic or political reasons, have been living on Georgian territory for centuries. Both Caucasian groups, as well as other ethnic minorities from the near East, would head to Georgia as their new home. Currently, ethnic Georgians make up about 87% of the population, and 13% of people in the country are from other ethnic groups. Diversity and the harmonious cohabitation of various people over the centuries is something that Georgia is very proud of.
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Religions in Georgia

Orthodox Christianity constitutes the majority of the Georgian population. Most Ossetians, Russians, Greeks, Abkhazians, Assyrians, Udis, and some Armenians are also Orthodox Christians.

The vast majority of Armenians in Georgia are a part of the Armenian Apostolic Church.

A small percentage of Georgians, Armenians, Assyrians, Poles, Germans, and Russians are Catholic or Protestant.

Both ethnic Georgians (mostly Ajarians), and a large portion of other ethnic groups, including Azerbaijanis, Kists, Laks, and Abkhazians adhere to Islam. Some Kurds are Yazidis, while some were Christianized or converted to Islam. Jews in Georgia practice Judaism. Most Georgian Germans are members of the Lutheran Church (while some are Catholics).

The Jews 

Jews first appeared in the VI century BC. Fleeing from the aggression and invasion of Nebuchadnezzar, they came to Mtskheta and settled in different parts of Kartli. Jews also resided in  Akhaltsikhe, Kutaisi, Tskhinvali, Tamarasheni, Surami, Sachkhere, and Ozurgeti, according to historical records. Jews settled in Tbilisi in the 19th century.

Jewish synagogues are found in several of Georgia's major cities, including Tbilisi (Synagogue Sha'arei Tefila), Batumi, Kutaisi, Gori, Akhaltsikhe (men's mikvah, women's mikvah).


Islam was introduced to Georgia in the 730s and is currently Georgia's second-largest religion. It is estimated that 500,000 Muslims live in Georgia.

Currently, there are 286 functioning mosques and prayer houses in Georgia. Tbilisi is the only city in the world where Shia and Sunni Muslims pray together in one mosque.

In addition to the capital city, mosques throughout Georgia are in Samtskhe-Javakheti, Shida Kartli, and Ajara.

The Armenian church 

The Diocese of the Armenian Apostolic Orthodox Holy Church covers the whole territory of Georgia, with an Episcopal Palace in Tbilisi. 

Currently, there are two Armenian churches in Tbilisi: Echmiadzin Cathedral and Surfgevork St. George Armenian Church. 

Moreover, there are Armenian churches in Akhalkalake (Surb Khachi), Ninotsminda (Surb Sargis), Akhaltsikhe (St. Gregory the Illuminator Church), Batumi (Christ the Saviour Armenian Apostolic Church) and Marneuli (Church of the Holy Mother of God).

The Catholics

Catholic missionaries began to work in Georgian territory in the middle of the 13th century. Their efforts led to the expansion of Catholicism throughout Georgia and currently, Catholics make up 0.5% of the population in Georgia. The Georgian Catholic Church belongs to the Roman Catholic Church.

Earlier, Catholic Georgians were often referred to as French (just like Muslim Turks or Tatars).

There are functioning Catholic churches in the big cities of Georgia, including Tbilisi, Gori, Kutaisi, Batumi, Ozurgeti, Kakheti, and Samtskhe. 

The Protestant Churches

Protestants with European and Russian ancestry started to enter Georgia in the 19th and 20th centuries. Baptists, Old Orthodox, Malakanis, Lutherans, Doukhobors, and other groups immigrated to Georgia for a variety of reasons, bringing with them their characteristics and cultures.

Lutheran Church in Georgia

The Evangelical Lutheran Church in Georgia was founded at the end of the 19th century when ethnic German settlements appeared in the Caucasus. Many families from the Württemberg region relocated to the east from 1817-1818 due to the challenging political and economic environment.

The Evangelical-Lutheran Church of Tbilisi parishes includes the Tbilisi Reconciliation Church, Rustavi Peace Church, Gardabani Parish, Bolnisi Paul Parish, Borjomi Parish, and the Sokhumi Parish.

The Lutheran Church in Rustavi is called the Church of Peace. Parish houses are open in Bolnisi, Gardabani, Borjomi, Asureti, and Sokhumi.

The Yazidis 

The persecution of the Yazidi Kurds in the Ottoman Empire led to Yazidis fleeing to Georgia in 1918.

A sizable portion of the Yazidi community emigrated to Europe following the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991. Many Yazidis today identify, formally or informally, with a different faith.

The State Agency for Religious Issues

The State Agency for Religious Issues in Georgia aims to uphold religious freedom and strengthen the country's tolerance-based culture.

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