Jvari Monastery

Copyright Keith Kenney, 2011

If you drive about 12 miles north of Tbilisi, you’ll reach Mtskheta—one of the oldest cities in Georgia. If you then drive to the top of a nearby hill, you’ll arrive at one of the “Historical Monuments of Mtskheta.” Jvari Monastery (along with Svetitskhoveli Cathedral) is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Jvari means Monastery of the Cross. It was here that Saint Nino converted King Mirian III of Iberia to Christianity in the early 4th century. According to traditional accounts, Saint Nino was born in Cappadocia (Turkey); she was a relative of Saint George; and she came to Georgia from Constantinople (Istanbul). After his conversion to Christianity, King Mirian erected a large wooden cross on the site of a pagan temple. This cross was reportedly able to work miracles and therefore drew pilgrims from all over the Caucasus area. People built a small church over the remnants of the wooden cross sometime around 545 and they named it the “Small Church of Jvari”. The church became too small to hold all of its visitors, so about 50 years later, people built the present building, called the “Great Church of Jvari.”

Copyright Keith Kenney, 2011

Copyright Keith Kenney, 2011


About keithrkenney
Keith Kenney is a professor of visual communication at the University of South Carolina. He is living in Tbilisi, Georgia, for a year. This blog is about several topics. "CSJMM-Journalism" is about the students, faculty and staff members of the Caucasus School of Journalism and Media Management in Tbilisi, Georgia. "USC-Journalism" is about the students, faculty and staff members of the School of Journalism and Mass Communications (SJMC) at the University of South Carolina in Columbia, SC. CSJMM and SJMC are recipients of a "Journalism School Partnership" program grant from the US Department of State. The purpose of this $750,000 grant is to improve CSJMM and ensure its sustainability. "Tbilisi, Georgia" is about Susanna Melo and my experiences in Tbilisi. "Columbia, SC" will be about our experiences in our home town--Columbia--when we return home. "Georgia" is about Susanna and my experiences when we travel in Georgia outside of Tbilisi. "United States" is about our experiences traveling in the US. "Films and Photography" is about two documentary films I'm working on in Georgia. One story follows how Adishi handles the rapid tourism that is being developed in Svaneti. The other story follows Tamaz Jalagania, who is a craftsman of swords and guns, an opera singer, and an extraordinary storyteller. "Scholarship" is about my current books, articles, reviews, and grants.

2 Responses to Jvari Monastery

  1. Allison says:

    Amazing pic Dad!

  2. sherry says:

    Jvari Monastery photos are just breathtaking. Phenomenal job, Keith.

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