Gregory of Khandzta

Gregory Of Khandzta

Gregory of Khandzta

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Gregory of Khandzta (Georgian: გრიგოლ ხანძთელი, Grigol Khandzteli) (759 – 5 October 861) was a prominent Georgia ecclesiastic figure and a founder and leader of numerous monastic communities in Tao-Klarjeti, historic southwest Georgia."Upper-Story Chapels Near the Sanctuary in Churches of the Christian East", Natalia Teteriatnikov, Dumbarton Oaks Papers, Vol. 42, (1988), pp. 65-72

Born into an illustrious aristocratic family in Kartli, Gregory left his home when he was young and proceeded to become a monk in the desert of Klarjeti (now located in north-eastern Turkey), a historic south-western Georgian province which had been devastated by Arab invasions and cholera epidemics. After a short time in the monastery of Opiza (ოპიზა), he founded his own monastery at Khandzta (ხანძთა) which soon attracted an increasing number of brethren. Later, he founded several other monasteries in Klarjeti, and subsequently he was elected as their archimandrite. The monasteries and their scriptoria functioned as centres of wisdom for centuries and they played an important role in the reconstitution of the Georgian state.

At the same time, Ashot I Kuropalates, the presiding prince of Iberia, had chosen Artanuji in Klarjeti as his residence and base in the struggle against the Arabs overlords. In this fight, Gregory played an eminent role as the religious leader. His influence grew so strong that he was...
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