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Georgia’s National Achieve Investigates Country’s Church Treasure

Georgia’s National Archive is taking action to collect information about Georgian church treasure to determine if the goods remain in Georgia or are lost or destroyed. 

Today the National Archive’s leadership met with Georgia’s Catholics Patriarch Ilia II and other spiritual leaders in the Patriarchate in capital Tbilisi to discuss a project that will investigate the ancient treasures of Georgian churches.

Head of the Archive’s Scientific Department Ketevan Asatiani said the Treasure in the National Archive’s Foundations project launched last year and already researchers had used photo materials to gain information about the church treasure. Some treasures were destroyed or had disappeared but others remained intact and were accounted for.

While speaking about the end result, Asatiani stressed once the project was complete researchers and scientists would be able to create a renewed archive and catalogue of Georgian church treasure.

We have already studied up to 1,000 different materials including photo materials from the XIX-XX centuries and photos taken during various expeditions in many Georgian churches,” Asatiani said.

She added a major part of the treasure depicted in these early photos reflected in the photos were either destroyed or disappeared.

When we complete the project we will know which items were destroyed, preserved in Georgian museums or lost,” Asatiani said. 

During the meeting Patriarch Ilia II said the country required “a good museum and a good storage space” for church treasures. If this happened he believed Georgia could regain its treasure that was kept in foreign museums or private collections.