Jvaris Mama church - Tbilisi Free Walking Tour - Tbilisi Hack
April 29, 2020

Jvaris Mama church

The Jvaris Mama church  Georgia Free Walking Tour Tbilisi
The Jvaris Mama church Georgia Free Walking Tour Tbilisi

 Jvaris Mama (Georgian თბილისის ჯვარის მამის ეკლესია) is the Orthodox Church in the Tbilisi Old Town on 41 Kote Abkhazi Street.

This church is a small brick domed building, rectangular in plan, elongated along the east-west axis (9.25 × 13.15 m).

It is considered one of the oldest religious buildings in Tbilisi (according to Plato Ioseliani, among the five buildings, initiated by Vakhtang Gorgasali : Sioni, Anchiskhati, Krestovozdvizhenskaya, Zemo Betlemi and Mikhail Archangel). The church was built at the Tbilisi courtyard of the Georgian Jerusalem monastery of the Holy Cross.

Some historians say, that the Jvaris Mama Church (Holy Cross) was founded by the Iberian ruler Vakhtang I Gorgasali in the 5th century. The church was repeatedly destroyed – by the Mongols and by the Persians, but was restored every time. It was destroyed by the Mongols in XIV century, but a new temple was built on this place in the 16th century, which was also destroyed by the Persians in 1795. The modern church building, located a few meters from the Zion Cathedral of Norashen Church, dates back to 1825. A fresco has been preserved among the paintings of the XIX century.

Until 1921, the church belonged to the Patriarch of Jerusalem.

Jvaris Mama is fully consistent with the canons of Georgian temple architecture. 4 “sleeves”, covered with a large gable roof, create the shape of a cross. Where they intersect, a wide 12-sided dome rises with long narrow windows. The facades are soft color tones with crosses on some walls.

The Jvaris Mama church  Georgia Free Walking Tour Tbilisi
The Jvaris Mama church Georgia Free Walking Tour Tbilisi

At first glance, the exterior decoration seems ascetic. However, upon closer inspection, you can see an ornament with blue tiles on the ledge under the dome. Just below is small bas, which reliefs depicting the cross, the Blessed Virgin with the baby Jesus and an eagle.

Inside, all the walls and arches of the church are painted in pale blue and covered with murals. The frescoes are painted in the traditional Georgian style, one of them depicts the alleged founder of the temple Vakhtang I Gorgasali with 12 apostles. The icon of St. George the Victorious is also made in the same canon. View this historical place with our Grand Tbilisi Hack Tour.