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Pia, Murals of the Church of St. Theodore

Building: Pia, Church of St. Theodore
Layer of the Murals: One Layer
Date/Period: 10th c.
Donor(s): Unknown
Painter(s): Unknown
Building Gallery


of the Donor(s)
of the Painter(s)


Initially, the church was fully plastered. Presently, fragments of plastering have remained in the chancel, namely, in the conch and the window. Murals have been preserved fragmentarily in the conch and the west wall of the church that had suffered fire.



A monumental figure of Christ seated on a throne with pedestal and set with gems is depicted in the conch. His right hand is raised in blessing, while with the left hand He is grasping an open Gospel rested on His left knee at the top (John 8:12). Christ is represented without a mandorla. It is difficult to claim whether Christ’s figure had been flanked by hosts of angels or seraphim. In this regard it is important to consider interrelation between Christ’s monumental figure and the area of the conch. Considering this, it is less likely that two archangels/angels had been depicted next to enthroned Savior; presence of seraphim next to the throne seems more likely. Plastering on the chancel walls below the conch is fully destroyed which makes it impossible to say whether the composition of Christ in Majesty was represented only in the conch or was laid out in two registres.



A cross with elongated proportions and flared ends is outlined in red paint immediately on the masonry in the center of west wall, at a height at a height of about two meters.


Givi Gap’rindashvili, “995 ts’. khurot’modzghvrebis dzegli nasop’lar p’iashi” [“Architectural Monument of 995 in the Former Village of P’ia”], Sakartvelos metsnierebat’a akademiis moambe [Bulletin of the Georgian Academy of Sciences] XVII, №8 (1956): 761–2.

Tat’jana Shevjakova, Monumental’naja Zhivopis’ Rannego Srednevekov’ja Gruzii [Monumental Painting of the Early Medieval Georgia] (Tbilisi, 1983), pl. 111.

Zaza Skhirtladze, “P’reskis p’ragmenti p’ias ts’. t’evdores eklesiis sakurtkhevelshi” [Fragment of Fresco in the Church of St. Theodor in P’ia”], Sak’art’velos metsnierebat’a akademiis mats’ne: istoriis, ark’eologiis, etnograf’iisa da khelovnebis istoriis seria [Proceedings of Georgian Academy of Sciences: Series of History, Archeology, Ethnography, and Art History] 3 (1988): 171–8.

Devi Berdzenishvili, Irine Elizbarashvili, Nikoloz Vacheishvili, Javakhet’i: istoriul-khurot’modzghvruli gzamkvlevi [Javakheti: Historical-Architectural Guide] [Guide of Georgia: II] (Tbilisi, 2000), 108, pl. 333.

Nana Burch’uladze, “P’iis ts’. t’evdores eklesiis mokhatuloba” [“Murals of the Church of St. Theodor in P’ia”], in Valeri Asatiani ed., Akhaltsikhisa da tao-klarjet’is epark’ia [Diocese of Akhaltsikhe and Tao-Klarjeti] (Tbilisi, 2013), 608–9.