Amman, Jordan, May 31, 2022
The country of Georgia plans to open an Orthodox pilgrimage and Georgian cultural center on newly donated land near the site of the Baptism of Christ.
Jordanian authorities handed over a 43,000 sq. ft. plot of land along the Jordan River, reports the Georgian Patriarchate.
A delegation of civil and religious representatives, led by Georgian Prime Minister Irakli Gharibashvili visited the Kingdom of Jordan on May 28-29. On behalf of the Georgian Church and state, the PM thanked King Abdullah II of Jordan, His Beatitude Patriarch Theophilos of Jerusalem, and all who were involved in donating the given land to Georgia.
As a token of gratitude, PM Gharibashvili presented the Georgian state’s Order of the Golden Fleece to King Abdullah II.
In his letter of thanks to King Abdullah II, His Holiness Catholicos-Patriarch Ilia II emphasized that, “For the Georgian people and, naturally, for the Church of Georgia, the Holy Land has always been a dream place and therefore we had many sacred abodes there, which we, eventually, completely lost due to the times of misfortune.”
“Incomprehensible is God’s Providence and unsearchable are His Ways! Our ancestors could never magine that the King of Jordan would grant the Christian Georgia territory on the banks of the Jordan River, and thus would begin our return to this sacred place,” the Patriarch exclaimed.
With the blessing of the Patriarch, a Georgian pilgrimage and cultural center will be built by the river. “Copies of materials preserved in archives and historical sources related to the Holy Land will be exhibited here and a proper environment will be created for our pilgrims as well as for Georgians in Israel and Jordan,” the Patriarchate reports.
The Georgian Orthodox presence in the Holy Land is perhaps best known for the Monastery of the Cross in Jerusalem, which was built by the Georgian monk St. Prochorus the Iberian during the reign of King Bagrat IV.
In May 2019, prayers were read in the Romanian Skete of St. John the Baptist, also situated near the site where Christ was baptized, for the first time in 50 years.
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