Mtskheta, April 11, 2018
A solemn blessing ceremony of the ancient Georgian capital of Mtskheta was held on the feast of the Annunciation following a festive Divine Liturgy at the city’s ancient and revered Svetitskhoveli Cathedral, reports 1tv.ge.
The Annunciation fell on Holy Saturday this year, making it an especially meaningful day for all Orthodox Christians, celebrating Christ’s incarnation in His virgin Mother’s womb on the same day that His crucified body lay in the virgin tomb.
After the service, a festive procession took place, during which the entire city was sprinkled with Holy Water.
Mtskheta is located 12 miles north of the modern capital city of Tbilisi, at the confluence of two mountain rivers. According to tradition, it was founded in the 5th century BC by the legendary Mtskhetos, who is believed to be one of the descendants of Noah. The throne of the Georgian Patriarch was located in Mtskheta for a long time. There are many holy sites in the city, for which Georgians call is the second Jerusalem. The Lord’s tunic is preserved in Svetitskhoveli Cathedral, and the city is also home to the holy Samtavro Monastery, where the relics of the beloved 20th century elder St. Gabriel (Urgebadze) lie in repose.