Georgians await arrival of St Ketevan’s relics from Goa


The queen is revered in Georgia, as her martyrdom protected the Orthodox faith there. The country has three Churches dedicated to St Ketevan. 

The long arm bone of St Ketevan was discovered in 2004 by Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) within the ruins of St Augustinian convent in Old Goa, after excavations that lasted more than a decade.

Preparations are underway in Georgia for a six month long exhibition of the sacred relics, reports TOI. Ambassador of Georgia together with ASI officials visited Goa recently to begin the ground work for the exhibition.

The national screening and evaluation committee constituted by the ministry of culture conducted an evaluation of the relics which is mandatory before these are taken out of the country. The delegation also paid a visit to the excavation site at St Augustinian Convent.

Fr Giorgi Razmadze, dean of the two decade old St Ketevan’s Church in Avchala, Tbilisi, Georgia said the relics are expected to be displayed at the National Museum of Georgia, at the Cathedral of St Trinity, both in the capital city and at a Cathedral in Kakheti, East Georgia, where the Queen reigned before being taken prisoner to Iran.

The Augustinian friars, with whom she was closely associated, had brought her right arm to Old Goa sometime after her death in September 1624. 

Georgians believe that her relics are scattered in other parts of the world, too. In Rome, is a part of a jaw, and there are more relics in Russia, London and Belgium.

Razmadze who has visited Goa on multiple occasions since the late 1990s and has been actively involved in research on the life and death of St Kevetan, says the homecoming of the relics is a great occasion for Georgians. "This is a very sensitive issue for us because it’s connected to a person who was martyred to save the identity of the Georgian people. Although a royal, she refused a luxurious life and said no to aggression. She dedicated her life to Christianity and her homeland," he said.

An agreement was recently signed between the two countries permitting the relics to be taken to Georgia. These will return to the ASI museum in Old Goa after six months.

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