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Temple of the Olympic soul

¹ 11-12 (2011)
Viewed: 1869

The rests of the ancient Christian temple, built, possibly, not later than VII century AD, are found in Imeretinskaya lowland. After restoration it can organically blend with the Olympic objects erected in this territory to XXII winter Games-2014.

Many mass-media let us know about Imeretinskaya lowland excavation of, probably, the most ancient Christian temple in the territory of Russia. Everything seems clear and logical: ancient Abkhazia became one of the first places of sermonlike activity of two apostles: St. Andrew the First-Called and Simon the Zealot. The most ancient temples, which construction is dated to the IV century AD are concentrated in Abkhazia. Small basilica in Pitsunda is attached to this age. And widely known Tsandryphsh temple is dated to VI century. Moreover, near the New Athos monastery there is well-known cave of Simon the Zealot. Jesus Christ's companion spent there his last years. There he offered up prayers, getting into the monastery through the aperture in the arch. Later monks made more convenient entrance, having cut through a door in the rock. We can say, that this cave became the first Christian temple at Abkhazian coast in the 50s of I century AD! The apostle was martyrized — according to different sources, whether by local residents, who beat him with stones to death, whether by the Roman soldiers who decapitated him. Having come back to Moscow from the Abkhazian expedition the senior research assistant of Institute of Archeology of the Russian Academy of Sciences, the Ph.D in Historical sciences Ekaterina Armarchuk told to the correspondent of the «Olympic Reporter», that during excavation there were found many interesting things: ceramic jugs, crosses, a bronze fastener for the bible, incense burner — thousands of artifacts. The exhibits are given to the Sochi museum. Experts consider that ruins of the most ancient temple should be preserved in the territory of Russia and after restoration can become a museum in the open-air.

There is an intrigue — in this field season the other group of archeologists also claim, that the object, which they explore is the most ancient Christian temple in the territory of Russia, and it's building can be dated to VI-VII centuries AD. It is widely known Tkhaba-Yerdy Church in Ingushetia. We are talking to the head Umalat Gadiev by the walls of the ancient temple.

— Are there the real finds confirming your hypothesis?

— Yes, during excavation we have found the basis of an apse under the existing temple, therefore, more ancient.

— How did ancient temple appear in the territory of Ingushetia?

— There are a lot of questions. The building was, undoubtedly, erected by the Georgian masters. Anyway, new facts can throw light on early history of Christianity in Ingushetia and modern Russia.

Author: Alexander Lipkovich