On July 26 at the National Kyiv-Pechersk Historic and Cultural Reserve, an exhibition of “Iberia and the Kyiv-Pechersk Lavra – the fertile lands of the Holy Theotokos”.
Taking part in the opening ceremony was His Holiness and Beatitude Ilia II, Patriarch-Catholicos of All Georgia, His Eminence Alexander, Archbishop of Pereyaslav-Khmelnytskyy, Secretary for the Primate of the UOC, chairman of the Synodal Department “Church and Culture” hegumeness Seraphima (Shevchyk), director of the National Kyiv-Pechersk Historical and Cultural Museum Maria Gromova .
After the opening ceremony, His Holiness the Patriarch visited the exposition.
Thereafter the Georgian Patriarch visited the Cathedral of the Holy Dormition of the Kyiv Caves Monastery, where he looked over the aisle of St. Stephen and the paintings of the Great Church of Lavra.
The exhibition is held on the blessing of His Beatitude Volodymyr, Metropolitan of Kyiv and All Ukraine, organized on the occasion of the first visit of His Holiness and Beatitude Ilia II, Catholicos-Patriarch of All Georgia, Archbishop of Mtskheta and Tbilisi in the framework of celebration of the Baptism of Rus. There some 200 monuments of ecclesiastical art of the XVII-XX centuries from the collection of the Reserve are exhibited, displaying historical and spiritual ties between Ukraine and Georgia, the Ukrainian and Georgian Orthodox Churches. Large majority of the exhibits was presented to the public for the first time.
Both countries are separated by thousands of kilometers, both having their language, culture, but they are interrelated by the ancient Orthodox tradition. According to the spoken legends, there the Holy Apostle Andrew the First Called preached the word of God. Iberia (ancient name of Georgia) was among the first to establish Christianity in 326 at the times of St Nina, Equal-to-the-Apostles. In six and a half centuries, in 988, the Holy Prince Vladimir baptized Kyivan Rus.
Iberia, the Kyiv-Pechersk Lavra, as well as the Holy Mount Athos have been considered in the Orthodox world for a long time a landplot of the Mother of God. The special place in the exposition is occupied by the Iveron image of the Mother of God, one of the holy icons of the Mount Athos, having Georgian origins. The other icons of the saints presented are worshipped by the believers of both countries. Also numerous silver and carved wooden crosses, church appliances with pompous carving and sophisticated engraving are presented. The records of Georgian embroidery of the XVII century are unique for the Ukrainian collections – the staff and cruciform covering. They came to the Reserve collection from the collection of the Church-Archaeological Museum at the Kyiv Theological Academy.
Once Ukraine and Georgia were parts of the Russian Empire, which had its effect, particularly on the activities of the Church. The exhibition contains portraits of the Kyiv Metropolitans Isidore (Nikolsky), Ioanykiy (Rudnev), Flavian (Gorodetsky), who headed the Georgian Exarchate of the Russian Orthodox Church in the XIX century. Eugene (Bolkhovitinov), Metropolitan of Kyiv, historian and archaeologist, in the early XIX century was the first to acquaint the Russian educated public with the history and culture of Georgia in the book “Historical Picture of Georgia in its political, church and educational situation.”
There are also interesting materials relating to the person of the hierarch Anthony (Abashidze) (1867-1942), a representative of the ancient Georgian princely family. The photos of the venerated elder relate to the Kyiv period of his life. In 1941-1942 during the German Nazi occupation of Kyiv schema-archbishop Anthony was the organizer of revival of the Kyiv-Pechersk Lavra and spiritual mentor of the fraternity. He is buried in the Near Caves of the Lavra. The Holy Synod of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church decided to glorify him as a locally venerated saint.