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  4. Manglisi, Sioni Cathedral

Manglisi, Sioni Cathedral

Location: Manglisi, Tetritskharo Municipality
Place: Georgia
Dedication: Dormition of the Holy Virgin
Category: Built
Type: Domed Church, Tetraconch
Date/Period: 330s
Renovation/Reconstruction: Second half of the 5th c.; First half of the 11th c.; 1667
Layers of the Murals: One layer



By the time King Vakhtang Gorgasali founded Manglisi Eparchy, on the place of the present church there had stood a stone church. The tetraconch built in the second half of the fifth century was altered substantially in the first half of the eleventh century – during the reign of King Giorgi I of Georgia (1014-1027). After the renovation the church was changed profoundly – the structure was extended to the east; gates were annexed to the south and west doors, the exterior of the church was dressed and embellished with ornamental décor. Supposedly, it was then that the interior of the church was fully covered with murals. Manglisi Cathedral was an important education center for centuries.

Construction lapidary inscriptions outlined on the facades and the interior of the church, as well as major part of the murals, were either damaged or destroyed during the restoration carried out in the 19th century.

The construction inscription of 1020 was situated above the door leading from the south stoa into the church (only several fragments of the tiles with inscriptions have survived): [Ⴕ. ႨႵႬႠ ႣႨ]Ⴃ(Ⴈ)ႱႠ ႠႫ(Ⴈ)Ⴑ Ⴑ(Ⴀ)ႷႣႰ(Ⴈ)ႱႠ ႠႶႸ(ႤႬႤ)ႡႠ Ⴕ(Ⴍ)Ⴐ(ႭႬႨ)Ⴉ(Ⴍ)ႬႱႠ ႱႫThis great church was built in koronikon SM.

The inscription dating construction of the church was also executed below the south window (the inscription is lost) [Ⴕ. ႱႠႾႤႪႨႧႠ] Ⴖ(ႫႰ)ႧႨႱ(Ⴀ)ႧႠ Ⴋ(ႤႭ)Ⴞ(Ⴄ)Ⴁ(Ⴈ)[Ⴇ]Ⴀ | [- – – – – -] ႼႫ(Ⴈ)Ⴃ(ႨႱႠ) Ⴛ(Ⴄ)ႪႨႱႠ ႺႾ(ႭႥ)Ⴐ(ႤႡႨ)Ⴑ(Ⴀ)ႧႠ ႫႤ ႢႪ(Ⴀ)Ⴞ(Ⴀ)Ⴉ[Ⴈ ႶႨႰ|Ⴑ ႥႨႵႫ]ႤႬ ႠႶႸ(Ⴄ)Ⴌ(Ⴄ)Ⴁ(Ⴀ)Ⴃ Ⴜ(Ⴋ)Ⴈ(Ⴃ)ႨႱႠ ႠႫ(Ⴈ)Ⴑ ႤႩႪ(Ⴄ)Ⴑ[Ⴈ](ႨႱ) Ⴑ(Ⴀ)Ⴊ|(Ⴍ)[Ⴚ]Ⴅ(Ⴄ)Ⴊ(Ⴀ)Ⴃ Ⴑ(Ⴓ)Ⴊ(Ⴈ)ႱႠ Ⴙ(Ⴄ)Ⴋ(Ⴈ)ႱႠ Ⴕ(Ⴍ)Ⴐ(ႭႬႨ)Ⴉ(ႭႬ)Ⴈ ႨႷ(Ⴍ) ႱႫ[in the name of] God, with the help of [- – – – – -] the holy Life-Giving Pillar, me, the wretched, became worthy of building this church in koronikon SM.

The inscription laid out on the arch of the south gateway dates to the first half of the eleventh century: [Ⴕ: ႱႰႳႪ ႨႵႫႬႠ ႤႱႤ ႱႲႭႠ] Ⴋ(Ⴄ)Ⴔ(Ⴍ)Ⴁ(Ⴀ)ႱႠ Ⴖ(ႫႰ)Ⴇ(Ⴈ)Ⴅ Ⴃ(Ⴀ)ႫႷ(Ⴀ)Ⴐ(Ⴄ)Ⴁ(Ⴓ)[Ⴊ]ႨႱႠ Ⴂ(ႨႭႰႢ)Ⴈ Ⴗ(ႭႥ)ႪႨႱႠ ႠႶႫႭႱႠ[Ⴅ]Ⴊ[Ⴄ]ႧႨႱႠ [ႧႥႨႧႫႮႷႰႭႡႤႪႨႱႠႱႠ] the porch was accomplished during the reign of Giorgi, [autocrat] of the East.