About Celebrations – Restoration of Bagrati Church
The restoration of Bagrati Church (Georgian: ბაგრატი; ბაგრატის ტაძარი) in the city of Kutaisi was completed in August this year.
Named after Bagrat III, the first king of a unified Georgia, this early 11th century church is seen as a symbol of the unity of the Georgian state. Devastated by an explosion during an invasion of the Kingdom of Imereti by the Ottoman army in 1692, the church dome and roof were destroyed and this magnificent church lay in ruins for centuries.
Before the restoration, the church was open to the elements and in danger of further deterioration.
Earlier this year, President Saakashvili said, “It is very important to us to restore the Bagrati Church. Bagrati is a symbol of the unification of Georgia, and we need a functioning church instead of ruins; a place where it will be possible to pray and hold liturgies; a symbol of the rise and rehabilitation of Georgia.”
The most significant feature of the restoration is the construction of a dome and roof, which will protect the church from the elements.
The restored church was blessed by the Catholicos-Patriarch of All Georgia, His Holiness and Beatitude Ilia II in a ceremony in September.
At the opening ceremony, President Mikheil Saakashvili said, “Restoration of a church is the greatest merit for any Georgian”.