David – Gareji

David Gareji, a monastic centre located in the veldts of Eastern Georgia near the border of Azerbaijan, was founded in the first half of the 6th century by the Syrian monk St. David Garejeli. St. David was one of the 13 Syrian Fathers who arrived from Mesopotamia and played a crucial role in the Christianisation of Georgia. The Lavra of David, situated on the slopes of Mount Gareji and today enclosed by late 16th century military structures, formed the original nucleus and centre of propagation of the Syrian Father’s teachings. Very soon after its foundation, however, several other smaller monasteries were built in its vicinity, forming part of the same complex. Of these monasteries, a series of painted cave churches mostly dating back to the 11th - 13th centuries have been preserved. The Monastery of Udabno, which rises above the Lavra (a cluster of Heremitages) along the mountain’s crest, is one of the largest complexes in the semi desert area of David Gareji. Its great church is adorned with murals of differen chronological layers – wall paintings from the 10th, 11th and 13th centuries. Its Diaconicon in the apse is decorated with a Deesis, while in the vault four angels surrounded by Evangelists in medallions carry the Cross, typical iconography of Georgian medieval Art. Scenes from the life of St. Nino are also represented on the walls, as well as from that of David Garejeli, or Elijah ascending into heaven on a chariot. The Mocameta (or Church of the forty martyrs) and the Church of the Annunciation are other ecclesiastic nuclei of Udabno, which are also both decorated with frescoes. The frescoes of the former date back to the 11th and 13th centuries, while the latter were created in the 13th century. All these nuclei shared the great common refectory, which still preserves the remainder of two long tables with places for more than fifty monks.

General View of the Lavra with Fortification Walls

Udabno Monastery: General View of a Chapel with 13th century Murals (Photo: Dror Maayan)

Martyrs, 11th century, Udabno Monastery, Mocameta (Church of the Forty Martyrs), Northern Wall (Photo: Dror Maayan)

Udabno Monastery, Diaconikon of the Main Church: Eastern View with Murals from the 10th – 13th centuries (Photo: Dror Maayan)

John the Baptist (part of Deesis), 10th century (slightly repainted in the 13th century), Udabno Monastery, Diaconikon of the Main Church, Apse (Photo: Dror Maayan)

Ascension of Elia, 13th century, Udabno Monastery, Diaconikon of the Main Church, Northeastern Wall (Photo: Dror Maayan)

Udabno Monastery: External View of the Refectory with Murals from the 11th and 13th centuries (Photo: Dror Maayan)

Last Supper, 11th century, Udabno Monastery, Eastern Wall of the Refectory (Photo: Dror Maayan)

Resurrection of Lazarus, Entry into Jerusalem, Annunciation, end of the 13th century, Udabno Monastery, Church of Annunciation, Northern Vault (Photo: Dror Maayan)

Transfiguration, end of the 13th century, Udabno Monastery, Church of Annunciation, Western Vault (Photo: Dror Maayan)

© KHI in Florence | 15.05.2021 10:23:06