It was constructed in the 8th-9th centuries, and is named after the Georgian saint Serapion Zarzmeli. The legend of this church tells that the pagan villagers would not allow monks - Serapion and his brother Ioane - to build a monastery in this place.
They did not listen to Father Serapion's warnings that unspeakably scary things would happen to the village if it won’t get under the Christian protection.
Then, a miracle happened: the ground moved, the rock bottom cracked and the murky waters washed away the village together with the mill. Father Serapion's prophecy came true. Their lesson learned, the locals called this place Zarzma in his honor.
The building of that time has not survived with the church being rebuilt at the beginning of the 14th century. However, the most ancient icon of the Transfiguration of Zarzma has been preserved, which is one of the most important examples of Georgian engraving art, and is now stored at Shalva Amiranashvili Art Museum.
The paintings in the church are also interesting, where next to the frescoes you can see portraits of Samtskhe nobles and historical figures of the 16th century.
In the 20th century, Zarzma church, bell tower (the largest in Georgia!), and wall paintings were all restored.