The story goes that in the first century (2000 years ago), Jesus’ disciples Andrew and Matthias (the one who replaced Judas) traveled to #theotherGeorgia to spread Christianity. It's believed that they had modest success. But in the early 4th century (300s), Nino, a woman from central Turkey came and convinced the king. From that time, most Georgians have been Orthodox Christians. Georgian Orthodox is like Eastern Orthodox in Russia and Greece. They put a special emphasis on Mary, the mother of Jesus, and many other people who are talked about in the Bible or church history, called saints.
Filling Orthodox churches are icons, or paintings of Jesus or saints. People will often light a candle in front of and pray to the icon. For a painting to become an icon, a patriarch or bishop must perform a special blessing over it. Many people have them in their homes as well.
Throughout history, #theotherGeorgia has been conquered by people of other religions, but as a whole, they never left their orthodox faith. Even when the communist Soviet Union ruled Georgia and it was illegal to practice your religion, many Georgians did so in secret. Our host teacher, Nino, named for St. Nino, is very religious and has done a great job helping us better understand the Orthodox church.
Students, if you have any questions or comments, be sure and click on this link. I will try to get back to you.
"This blog is not an official U.S. Department of State blog. The views and information presented are the grantee's own and do not represent the Teachers for Global Classrooms Program, IREX, or the U.S. Department of State."
Stephen Blan teaches US History at Fort Worth Country Day in Fort Worth, TX and is a 2015 Teachers for Global Classrooms Fellow.