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Ujarma, Church of Holy Cross

Location: Ujarma, Sagarejo Municipality
Place: Georgia, Kakheti
Dedication: Holy Cross/St. Rajden
Category: Built
Type: Domeless Church, Hall church
Date/Period: Lower Church – 5th-6th cc.; Upper Church – 9th-10th cc.
Renovation/Reconstruction: 17th-18th cc.
Layers of the Murals: One layer



As is known from historical sources, in the 320s, during the conversion of the country, a cross was erected in Ujarma. Taking the archaeological data into account, some scholars believe that in the upper part of Ujarma fortress the Jvarpatiosani Church was built by the King Vakhtang Gorgasali in the 5th century (probably, as a court church) on the site where, according to a historical source, a cross was erected by Queen Salome, spouse of Revi, son of King Mirian, in the 4th century. Platon Ioseliani expressed a different opinion. He assumed that rather than erecting the cross, the queen is likely to have built a church of the Holy Cross, which was renovated by the King Vakhtang Gorgasali in the 5th century. According to Konstantine Melitauri, the church was built sometime later, in the 6th century on the site of the cross erected in the 4th century. The cross was contained in the inner space of the church, just like in the case of the church of the Holy Cross in Mtskheta.A single-nave church is built near the fortified tower, and is actually annexed to the structure. In the 9th-10th centuries a single-nave structure was built as the upper chapel upon the church; due to later period alterations (probably in the 17th-18th cc.), the upper church is now a three-nave construction.

Notably, in chronicle of the life of the King Vakhtang Gorgasali the church standing in Ujarma fortress is referred to as ‘Razhdentsminda’ (e.g. the church of Saint Razhden, еру local saint martyred during the reign of Vakhtang).