Unique ancient fresco of St. Nina discovered during church restoration in Georgia

Tsalenjikha, Georgia, August 3, 2018

Photo: www.newsgeorgia.ge Photo: www.newsgeorgia.ge

Icons of the holy Equal-to-the-Apostles St. Nina, the great enlightener of Georgia, have adorned every church and icon corner in the ancient Orthodox country for centuries.

Only a handful of ancient frescoes of the beloved saint have survived to this day, but one more has recently been discovered.

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During the course of restoration work in the Church of the Transfiguration in the northwestern town of Tsalenjikha, a 14th-century fresco of St. Nina was uncovered in which she is holding both a Gospel book and a cross, reports Georgia Online.

In addition to the Gospel and cross, another thing that makes the newly-discovered fresco unique is that the inscription “St. Nina” is clearly legible. A handful of frescoes of the apostle to Georgia dating to the 12th and 13th centuries have survived to our day, though their inscriptions are not visible to the naked eye.

“Frescoes of St. Nina dating to the 12th-13th centuries are practically not found in churches in Georgia. There are only two or three confirmed cases, and the rest are only hypotheses. In our case, we can confidently say that this fresco of St. Nina was painted by the Byzantine iconographer Cyrus Manuel Evgenikos in the period of 1384-1396,” said Merab Buchukuri, the head of the restoration project at the Transfiguration Church.

The artist from Constantinople was hired by a high-ranking Georgian official Vamek Dadiani and painted the church in the Palaeologan style.

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