Zedazeni Monastery

Zedazeni Monastery

Built where a pagan idol once stood, Zedazeni Monastery is one of Georgia’s oldest monasteries, and takes its name from the name of the pagan god it supplanted - Zaden. Zaden was the god of the plentiful harvest, with “zeda” meaning “above”.

The History of Zedazeni Monastery

The monastery stands on the Saguramo Range, thirty kilometres away from Tbilisi. A grand worship place dedicated to the fertility deity Zaden once was there. Comparatively little is known about this ancient god, whose idol is purported to have been destroyed along with all other pagan idols by the prayers of St. Nino.

In the 6th century, a group of 13 Christian preachers arrived to Georgia from Syria. The leader of these men was Ioane Zedazneli, who established the monastery over the former pagan idol. Today, the monastery complex is composed of a number of buildings, including a basilica, a bell tower and vestibule, a defensive wall, and the triple-nave, 8th-century John the Baptist Basilica, which is the main church and the oldest building in the complex. Father Ioane is also resting in piece on the territory of the monastery.

The ruins of a wall and fortress built later in the site’s history show us that Zedazeni also served as a fortification during times of war.

The church’s holiday – Zedaznoba – is celebrated on the 20th of May, commemorating the 13 Syrian Fathers who left such an important mark on Georgian history.

How Do You Get to Zedazeni Monastery?

The monastery is located close to Saguramo Village on the mountain ridge. A paved road leads up the mountain, but you can also opt to walk through the beautiful hornbeam and beech forests and take in the views of the surrounding pastoral land. Those making the hike will find a spring along the way, and take advantage of the small tables that local woodsmen have put together for weary travelers.

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