ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

The Importance of Alaverdi Monastery and Its Location

Updated on July 1, 2012
Alaverdi Cathedral in Russian Georgia.
Alaverdi Cathedral in Russian Georgia. | Source

An Interesting Hub Question by One Upset by Misinformation

What Is Georgian, What Is Armenian?

The first small book that I read in Russian classes at age 12 was a story separated form a book. It was called Taman' by Mikail Lermontov, from within the larger book A Hero of Our Time or Герой нашего времени . Writing the title of the story today brings back aural and visual images presented by the text in the story. I recently purchased another copy of the book in a secondhand and collectibles bookstore, I enjoyed the story that much the first time.

Opening the second copy of the book, it was like only yesterday that I had read the passages in the text, especially those of the Cossacks riding away on their missions through the Caucasus Mountains. That little book first led me to discover the famous Don Cossack (донские казаки) Singers on vinyl and CD and it led to me become enchanted with the film Dr. Zhivago . The tones of the balalaika are like an angel's song.

One of my early Russian teachers was a member of the Eastern Orthodox Church, originally in Ukraine. Later, a Russian professor at University was a priest in the Serbian Orthodox Church. The services of both branches of the church are lovely and meaningful, as I recall them. Nonetheless, a question has been asked about a misplacement in writing, of an important Georgian Orthodox Monastery in Armenia by some author, I know not who.

I know that the Ukrainian Orthodox Church service may be slightly different from the Serbian and I think that the Georgian services and traditions are somewhat different from those in Armenia, several hundred kilometers away on a winding route (see the attached map below). However, Orthodoxy holds together as believing that their 2,000+ year-old ways are truer than the Catholic Churches 1,000-year-old traditions.

Geography Misunderstood

The Alaverdi Monastery was founded in the 6th Century (the 500s AD), Christians having entered and settled (Russian) Georgia in about 330 AD. In the schools of the West, some confusion has existed between Georgia and Armenia and Georgia and White Russia - particularly in some Cold War Era classrooms in grades K-12.

During the Cold War, we in some American schools were confusing Soviet Georgia and Ukraine with White Russia. We were combining all three provinces or republics and calling the whole region White Russia by mistake. Because of this type of error, it is easier to see that someone has also thrown in Armenia to become part of Russian Georgia, although this is a bigger mistake, because Armenia is so far away from Georgia - south of the Lesser Caucasus Mountains, themselves south of the Caucasus. Armenia borders Georgia, yet is far away at the end of a winding route. It is not in Georgia.

Seeing the two lines of Caucasus Mountains on a map, some viewers felt that the lands around them were all one, incorrectly. More incorrectly, some people gathered all the republics of the Soviet Union up and called the result Russia , which it had not been since the October Revolution near the start of the 20th Century. To these readers, there was only Red Russia and White Russia and they did not know the difference, but they were both Red, because they were Communist.

This is material fit for a comic strip - Pearls Before Swine or Pogo . This is perhaps how some writers confused Armenia and Georgia.

Georgia is to the north. Armenia is a different country located just south of that province and the two have never been combined. Turkey (a different country) is south of Georgia and west of Armenia. Azerbaijan, another nation, is south of Georgia and east of Armenia. Georgia, Armenia, and Azerbaijan were all republics within the Soviet Union at one time, but all three are independent today. They were never combined politically into one mega-province or mega-republic.

A
Greater Caucasus Mountains:
Caucasus Mountains, Georgia

get directions

B
Alaverdi Georgia:
Alaverdi, Georgia

get directions

C
Lesser Caucasus Mountains:
Lesser Caucasus, Armenia

get directions

D
Armenia:
Armenia

get directions

Alaverdi Cathedral in Georgia. This is a shot of the gate built in the 11th Century.
Alaverdi Cathedral in Georgia. This is a shot of the gate built in the 11th Century. | Source
Source

Othrodoxy in European and Asian Russia

Interestingly, the faith of the Don Cossacks has been Pravoslavny, which literally means True of Word(s). This is the Russian Orthodox Church, part of all of the Orthodox Churches that teach that their Christianity is the true way, since the Catholic Church split off from them over 1,000 years ago. Orthodox in Russian is Pravoberno or True-Correct. Having organized themselves from bandits and political escapees into a military system in the 1500s, the Cossacks believed it their duty to protect the faith, all of Orthodoxy throughout the Caucasus region.


Black Raven, a Traditional Don Cossacks Song

https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/gg.html
https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/gg.html | Source

6th Century Regions of Georgia

A
Alaverdi, Georgia:
Alaverdi, Georgia

get directions

The Alaverdi Cathedral is located on the Alazani Valley, near the village Alaverdi

B
Khevsureti:
Khevsureti Planned National Park, Georgia

get directions

C
Tusheti:
Tusheti National Park, Georgia

get directions

D
Pshaveli:
Pshaveli, Georgia

get directions

E
Kakheti:
Kakheti, Georgia

get directions

Geiorgia and Armenia, Linked by Mountains and Soldiers

Differences in church architecture are visible when comparing images of the Alaverdi Monastery in Georgia and the Odzun Basilica in Armenia. A confusion of geographic knowledge is likely the source of the mistaken notation that Alaverdi Monastery was in Armenia.

The Don Cossacks cavalry units were active from the 1500s to the early 1900s in protecting the Orthodox Church throughout the Caucasus for 400 years, in Georgia as well as Armenia and elsewhere as they guarded the land from advance and attack by outsiders.

The Don Cossacks Choir has fortunately performed from 1921 to 2012 so far (91 years), but the cavalry units were inactivated probably during or after World War II. Some evidence suggests that after the war, thousands were executed by Joseph Stalin. However, the Don Cossacks Choir lives on and the Alaverdi Monastery still stands in Georgia, as it always has stood.

Odzun Basilica in Armenia (see map below).
Odzun Basilica in Armenia (see map below). | Source
A
Odzun, Armenia:
Odzun, Armenia

get directions

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • Patty Inglish, MS profile imageAUTHOR

      Patty Inglish MS 

      6 years ago from USA. Member of Asgardia, the first space nation, since October 2016

      Thank you very, very much. It was a trip back for me as well.

    • profile image

      stessily 

      6 years ago

      Patty Inglish, In tackling a question asked by someone else, you created an answer which is a nostalgic journey for me to my teen-aged and college years when Orthodox and Eastern European music and thought-provoking novels such as Lermontov's "A Hero of Our Time" provided me with never-ending sources of fascination and of learning and researching fictional characters, historical figures, events, unsung heroes, etc.

      A very enjoyable reminder for me.

      Your research and presentation are appreciated.

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)