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Sameba Cathedral

The Tbilisi Holy Trinity Cathedral commonly known as Sameba (Georgian: სამება for Trinity) is the main Georgian Orthodox Christian cathedral, located in Tbilisi, the capital of Georgia. Constructed between 1995 and 2004, it is one of the largest religious buildings in Georgia and the South Caucasus.



The idea to build a new cathedral to commemorate 1,500 years of autocephaly of the Georgian Orthodox Church and 2,000 years from the birth of Jesus emerged as early as 1989, a crucial year for the national awakening of the then-Soviet republic of Georgia. In May 1989, the Georgian Orthodox Patriarchate and the authorities of Tbilisi announced an international contest for the project of the "Holy Trinity Cathedral." No winner was chosen at the first round of the contest when more than a hundred projects were submitted. Finally the project of architect Archil Mindiashvili won. The subsequent turbulent years of civil unrest deferred this grandiose plan for six years, and it was not until November 23, 1995, when the foundation for the new cathedral was finally laid. The construction of the church as a "symbol of the Georgian national and spiritual revival" has been sponsored through mostly anonymous donations by several businessmen and common citizens. On November 23, 2004, on St. George's Day, the cathedral was consecrated by Catholicos Patriarch of Georgia Ilia II and the high-ranking representatives of fellow Orthodox churches of the world. The ceremonial was also attended by the leaders of other religious and confessional communities of Georgia as well as political leaders.


The Sameba Cathedral (panorama view)

The Sameba Cathedral is erected on the Elia Hill, which rises above the left bank of the Kura River (Mtkvari) in the historic neighborhood of Avlabari in Old Tbilisi.

The Cathedral represents the synthesis of traditional styles dominating the Georgian church architecture at various stages of its history, but also contains several innovations.

The Sameba Cathedral is a cruciform church crowned with a dome over a crossing, which rests upon eight columns and creates the center. At the same time, the parameters of the dome is independent from the apses, imparting a more monumental look to the dome and the church in general. The dome is surmounted by a 7.5 meter-high cross covered with gold.

The Cathedral consists of nine chapels (chapels of the Archangels, John the Baptist, Saint Nino, Saint George, Saint Nicholas, the Twelve Apostles, and of the All Saints), five of them situated in a large underground compartment. The overall area of the cathedral, including a large narthex, is 5,000 square meters and the volume it occupies is 137 cubic meters. The inner perimeter of the church is 56 m X 44 m. The space totals 2,380 square meters. The height of the cathedral from the ground to the top of the cross is 84 meters. The underground chapel occupies 35,550 cubic meters. The height is 13 meters.

Natural materials are used for construction. The floor is made of marble tiles and the altar will also be decorated with mosaic. The painting of the murals is being executed by a group of artists guided by Amiran Goglidze.

The Sameba complex, the construction of which is already completed, consists of the main cathedral church, a freely-standing bell-tower, the residence of the Patriarch, a monastery, a clerical seminary and theological academy, several workshops, places for rest, etc.

A photo from PanArmenian network showing the dicth between the Sameba cathedral and the Armenian pantheon allegedly on the site of the Armenian cemetery[1]

The Armenian organizations claim part of the adjacent old Armenian cemetery in the Armenian part of the Avlabari (Havlabar) neighborhood had been sacrificed during the construction of the cathedral. A documentary dedicated to the subject was shot and screened in Armenia.[2][3][4].


  1. ^ Construction of Centre for Orthodox Studies will soon begin on top of Armenian cemetery in Tbilisi. PanARMENIAN.Net, 15.09.2007
  2. ^ AGOS Haftalik Siyasi Aktuel Gazete - "Are Armenian Traces Being Wiped Away in Tbilisi?"
  4. ^ Documentary on destruction of Armenian cultural heritage in Georgia screened in Yerevan, PanARMENIAN.Net

See also

External links

Coordinates: 41°41′51″N 44°49′0″E / 41.6975°N 44.816667°E / 41.6975; 44.816667



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