ზვიად გამსახურდია

სექტემბერი 21, 2014

ზვიად გამსახურდიას პასუხი ანდრეი სახაროვს

Answer of Zviad Gamsakhurdia to Andrej Sacharov

Answer of Zviad Gamsakhurdia to Andrej Sacharov

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თებერვალი 3, 2011

ზვიად გამსახურდია: ნომენკლატურის რევანში საქართველოში

Published by ‘SOVIET ANALYST’
(Editor and Publisher Christopher Story), Vol. 21, N. 9-10, 1993:
‘Zviad Gamsakhurdia, the Legally Elected and Legitimate President of Georgia,
Describes the Evil Revenge of KGB & the Nomenklatura


Preface of ‘Soviet Analyst’

In the following exclusive dispatch to SOVIET ANALYST, Zviad Gamsakhurdia, the freely elected and legitimate President of Georgia, explains how the long arm of Moscow intervened in the affairs of Georgia and prevented the realization of the people’s wish to be fully politically independent. He describes in anguished detail how this plot was implemented, and the key role played in it by Eduard Shevardnadze, in response to the requirements of Yevgeniy Pnimakov, head of the so-called Russian Foreign Intelligence Service, a manifestation of the KGB. The first sentence of this remarkable report is of exceptional importance to understanding events in Georgia, and also more broadly throughout the USSR. Gamsakhurdia writes: ‘From 1987 onwards, through out the Soviet Union, ‘democratic’ and national liberation movements were activated‘. The last two words reveal that, as Anatoliy Golitsin has explained in this service and in unpublished Memoranda seen by the Editor of this service, the ‘democratic’ and national liberation movements were not spontaneous, but controlled – via the Komsomol and the KGB – by the Soviet authorities. At least, that was the intention. In two of the Soviet Republics – Lithuania and Georgia – there rose to positions of leadership genuine anti-Communists and patriots. In both countries, the Communist/Nomenklatura networks have been restored. The West has cynically collaborated with Moscow in confining Georgia’s fate, to which this issue is specially devoted.

National liberation movement, ‘liberalization’ and ‘perestroika’

From 1987 onwards, throughout the Soviet Union, ‘democratic’ and national liberation movements were activated. The rulers of the USSR, realizing the impossibility of continuing with the Cold War, yet not deviating from their intention to retain their Communist Empire, embarked upon a period of apparent changes and ‘liberalization’ under the label ‘perestroika‘.

Simultaneously, despite the freeing of political prisoners, they continued their bloody repressions against the national liberation movements, especially in Vilnius, Tbilisi, Baku and in other centers. But in the face of the pressure exerted by the peoples’ will and by world public opinion, they were forced to permit non-Communist elections to take place in certain Republics – a step which led to Declarations of Independence by these Republics and subsequently to the total disintegration of the USSR.

Elections

In Georgia, the national liberation and democratic movement achieved its ultimate triumph on 28th October 1990, when the country’s first multi-party democratic elections were held. This was truly a bloodless revolution – in which Communists were obliged to hand power over to the democratically elected Parliament and Government. For the first time in 70 years, Georgia began to enjoy all the normal democratic freedom – a free press, political freedom, and religious freedom.

It is a serious error to imagine, as some still do, that the Soviet Government based in the Kremlin, and their local Communist associates, surrendered in Tbilisi without a struggle. Following the drastic, punitive measures of repression they had taken on 9th April 1989 against the national movement, they realized that their efforts had been in vain; so they lost no time in organizing a fake opposition – buttressed by powerful groups of armed criminals (the so called ‘Mkhedrioni‘ gangs) which had been legalized by the Communists for emergency use.

They ‘legitimized’ this opposition by means of the creation of a so-called ‘ national congress’, the members of which were ‘elected’ by means of false elections, and which was brought into existence for the sole purpose of replacing the true opposition, conducting political warfare, and committing acts of terrorism against the true national movement. In parallel with these measures, the Communists activated criminal extremists in so-called ‘South Ossetia’, who embarked upon a campaign of repression and terrorism against the local Georgian population, ruled directly from Moscow by the KGB and the Politburo.

By activating these forces, the Communists’ intention had been to prevent truly democratic elections taking place in Georgia. However a combination of civil disobedience, mass popular demonstrations, protest actions by students and, finally a railway strike, compelled the Communist authorities to permit proper elections, in which the Communist Party participated.

Following the defeat of the Communists’ cynical efforts to prevent elections taking place, the Communists suffered a humiliating defeat in the elections themselves, which were overwhelmingly won by State the ‘Round Table/Free Georgia’ grouping under my leadership. Faced with this outcome, the Moscow-based Communists and their associates in Tbilisi immediately set about preparing to reverse the course of events, enlisting the assistance of the mass media for this purpose.

Propaganda War

With effect from the very day of my election as Speaker of the Georgian Parliament on 14th November 1990, groups of criminal ‘Mkhedrioni’ gangs embarked upon a campaign of attacks on police stations and atrocities all over Georgia, while the fake ‘national congress’ tried to organize acts of protest against my legally elected Government. In Moscow, a group led by Shevardnadze, Popkhadse, Mgeladse and other renegade Communists formed a special staff dedicated to the task of overthrowing the legally elected, legitimate Government of Georgia – organizing for the purpose an unprecedented propaganda campaign directed from Moscow and carried throughout the entire world for the purpose of discrediting it.

The US Administration generally – and the US President, George Bush, and his Secretary of State, James Baker, with whom Shevardnadze had direct relationships, personally- strongly supported this cynical disinformation campaign against the legally elected authorities of Georgia, which had every intention of seceding from the Soviet Union and had as its main objective the establishment of an independent democratic state.

For its part, the Western mass media repeated in full the elaborate lies of Soviet propaganda – including the propagation of an image of myself as a cruel dictator of Georgia, a kind of Saddam Hussein of the Caucasus, who was engaged in the outright suppression of all personal freedoms, the arrest of political opponents, the wholesale violation of human rights, the oppression of national minorities, and the waging of ‘fascist war’ against them under the slogan ‘Georgia for the Georgians’.

The reality was the exact opposite of the evil picture painted by this Soviet propaganda. A total of 25 newspapers in Georgia systematically criticized and slandered the President and Parliament, an activity for which they were not persecuted (unlike the treatment they would have received under the Communists). The so-called ‘opposition’ was granted an ‘alternative hour’ on State Television, and my Government even offered these people the possibility of opening an independent TV channel. Since absolute political freedom was permitted under my leadership, parties and organizations which professed hostility to the Government were allowed to hold their incessant demonstrations and protest rallies, supported by their own newspapers and armed groups.

People were arrested while I was in power only for specific crimes and violence, not for their political views or for propaganda purposes. My Government insisted at all times upon the rights of the national minorities in Georgia being considered equal to those of the Georgian population. As for the abolition of South Ossetia’s so-called autonomy, this was brought about by the Parliament of South Ossetia itself, which proclaimed the establishment of an independent Republic; and the relevant decree promulgated by the Georgian Parliament merely recognized this fact. The violence and disorder which followed in South Ossetia was provoked by extremist forces directed from Moscow. The political slogan ‘Georgia for the Georgians’ was never proclaimed by me at all: it was a cynical invention of Moscow’s propaganda machine.

Referendum on independence and Presidential elections

A referendum on Georgian independence was held on 31st March 1991, at which more than 90% of the population voted for political secession and independence. Following this result, the Georgian Supreme Council in Tbilisi proclaimed Georgia’s independence on 9th April 1991On 26th May, Georgia held its first presidential elections, and I was elected Georgia’s first President.

Shortly after my election, a total political and economic blockade on Georgia was enforced, while every conceivable destructive measure was taken against the legally elected Georgian Government. Despite our Declaration of Independence, Gorbachev invited me to Novo-Ogarevo to sign the Union Treaty. It was following my explicit refusal to do so, that the Kremlin elaborated a concrete plan to overthrow Georgia’s constitutional Government.

President Bush contributed personally to this persecution of Georgia when he visited the Soviet Union in the summer of 1991 and persuaded Ukraine to stay within the USSR – denouncing me as a ‘man who has been swimming against the tide’. Subsequently, his Secretary of State, James Baker, announced the existence of an authoritarian regime in Georgia that would never receive any assistance from the US Administration. This statement was the signal for the armed ‘opposition’ to begin its lethal activity. As a Member of the Parliament, Mr. J. Afanasieff, has recently stated, Gorbachev and Shevardnadze diverted 65 million pre-hyper-inflation rubles for the purpose of financing the coup d’etat in Georgia.

Putch

Certain members of the legally elected Georgian Government, and also of the Parliament, who maintained dose contact with Shevardnadze in Moscow, took part in this conspiracy against the Georgian authorities. I refer in particular to the Prime Minister, T. Sigua, and to the Chief of the National Guard, T. Kitovani; the Minister of Foreign Affairs, G. Khostaria; the Speaker of the Parliament, A. Asiatiani; and V. AdamiaN. Natadse, and T. Paatashvili, Members of Parliament, together with others.

Sigua and Kitovani led an agitation campaign within the national guard, which had in fact been set up under my direction, seeking to persuade its members that I had supported the ‘August coup’ in Moscow. One of the methods they used was to state that I had supported Yanayev [Janaev], and to promise to show members of the National Guard some documents to prove it, resulting from the interrogation of Yanayev. None of these documents have been forthcoming to this day.

The charge was ludicrous because in fact I was the first President to appeal to Western countries on the second day of the Moscow ‘coup’ (20th August), to recognize that all elected presidents and parliaments in the region must be supported. I added that the organizers of the putsch represented ‘reactionary forces’. My appeal was published in the Russian-language Tbilisi newspaper ‘Swobodnaya Grusia’, and was transmitted to news agencies world-wide.

Another technique used to win over the support of the National Guard was to persuade young, in-experienced recruits that I was planning to dismantle and disarm the National Guard (despite the fact that I had caused it to be established), basing this lie upon a decree I had issued, in which I had laid down that the National Guard was subordinate to the Interior Ministry of which it formed a part, and that this arrangement was necessary in order to protect the National Guard from Moscow’s machinations.

By such unworthy means, the Moscow- directed plotters succeeded in enticing onto their side a significant proportion of the National Guard – establishing a new military camp on the outskirts of Tbilisi. This camp was hostile to me personally and to the Parliament, and became a base for disparate members of the so-called ‘opposition’, including specially released criminals, drug addicts and black marketers. These groups received financing from Moscow and the local Mafia. The Transcaucasian Military District of the Soviet Army (ZAKWO) supplied these formations with arms and armored vehicles, communications equipment, and military instructors.

The Moscow-directed ‘opposition’ to Georgia’s legitimate Government, the Parliament and my Presidency, also received strong support from the Communist intelligentsia, which had enjoyed exceptional privileges under Soviet Communism, and the members of which had lost those privileges following the democratic revolution in Georgia, and were dreaming about a return to the years of rule by Shevardnadze.

Among the most shameless lies put about by the Moscow propagandists at that time was an accusation that I was seeking to isolate Georgia along Albanian lines – whereas of course the truth of the matter was that the authorities in Moscow had isolated Georgia through their own deliberate actions, slandering Georgia as a ‘fascist state’ groaning under ‘totalitarian rule’. The upheavals and disorders in the country were so grave that I had been prevented from traveling to Western countries.

For instance, I had been unable to fulfill my plans to travel to Davos, Switzerland, in January, to visit Denmark in September in response to an invitation from the Danish Parliament, or to address the American Congress in response to its invitation. My inability to take up these invitations was falsely presented to the world as confirmation of my isolationist intentions, and thus proof of my ‘anti-European’ and ‘anti-American’ policies.

With effect from September, this coalition of officials who had defected, criminal and Mafia elements, and the so-called ‘street opposition’, were sufficiently organized to be able to intensify their campaign against the Government – demanding the resignation of the President, the creation of a new ‘coalition government’, and fresh parliamentary elections. On several occasions, these elements attacked the Parliament building, causing bloody incidents and disorder. They occupied the national television building and attacked the central electricity generating station in Tbilisi. I addressed the armed opposition on several occasions, calling for political dialogue – but without any result.

Cup

Following the collapse of Gorbachev’s Novo-Ogarevo process, and recognizing the inevitability of the Soviet Union’s disintegration, the Soviet leadership decided to create a new Empire model, the so-called C.I.S., which was to be established at a meeting planned for 21st December 1991 in Alma-Ata, when the leaders of the Soviet Republics were to sign an agreement establishing the new political entity. My refusal to attend this meeting was the development which triggered Moscow’s decision to overthrow Georgia’s legally elected Government. And no time was lost.

On that very day, 21st December, when the attention of the world was focused on the meeting in Alma-Ata, rallies began outside Tbilisi’s Parliament building. One rally was attended by supporters of the legal Government, and another consisted of the armed so-called ‘opposition’, infiltrated by officers of the Russian Army. Armored cars and military vehicles appeared on the streets. The anti-government forces began to shoot at unarmed supporters of my Presidency, and several people were killed.

Thus the ‘opposition’ had embarked upon the final phase of its agitation to overthrow ‘dictatorship’ and to establish ‘democracy’ by violence, in accordance with the well-known prescription of Lenin. By means of this deceptive plan, supported by Moscow and the Soviet military, a group of putschists, led by the former Soviet Foreign Minister, KGB-General Shevardnadze, set out to overthrow Georgia’s legal government, and to usurp power in Tbilisi. I openly and repeatedly warned the Georgian people and the world’s governments about this dangerous intention, but unfortunately my warnings went unheeded.

On the following day, 22nd December 199l, the so-called ‘opposition’ occupied the Hotel ‘Tbi1isi’ and the Kashweti church in front of the Parliament building, and started shooting and bombing Parliament using artillery, missiles and snipers on the roofs of nearby buildings. The Parliament building was defended by elements of the National Guard who had not been deceived by Shevardnadze and his associates, and remained loyal to the President, but who lacked artillery, missiles, or heavy armour. In the course of their attack on the Parliament complex, the putschists burned down and destroyed all the surrounding buildings – including the Art Gallery, the Painting School, the City’s leading college (formerly the aristocrats’ gymnasium), and other establishments.

The City’s central Rustaveli Avenue was reduced to ruins. My own house, where my wife and two children lived, was surrounded and bombed. Attempts were made to seize my family as hostages, but they were saved by members of the National Guard, by now called the President’s Guard, and conveyed by armored car to the Parliament building. After they left, my house was stripped bare by criminal elements, no doubt with ‘opposition’ consent, and burned to the ground.

The siege of Tbilisi’s Parliament building which continued for 16 days, was noteworthy for inhumanity and barbarism. Snipers shot anyone approaching the building, including the vehicles of First Aid workers, and fire engines which were therefore unable to quench the fires. Many houses were razed to the ground, and hundreds of people were left homeless. People who had been defending the Parliament building were killed in cold blood in Tbilisi’s hospitals by members of the ‘opposition’, these putschists fighting for ‘democracy’.

At the end of December, the Russian Armed Forces reinforced the armed ‘opposition’. After the Presidential Guard had managed to burn several armored vehicles and tanks operated by the ‘opposition’, new vehicles suddenly appeared. Their main base, the Institute of Marxism-Leninism, was heavily re-supplied by lorries, loaded with arms and ammunition. The accuracy with which shells, mortars and missiles were used was so great, that there can be no doubt that Soviet military specialists participated with the ‘opposition’ putschists. Moreover, drivers and troops from the Soviet Army were found dead in some of the armored vehicles which the Parliament’s defenders had managed to hit.

On 27th December 1991, members of the Presidential Guard who were defending the television station under the command of B. Kutateladse, betrayed the President and yielded the television tower to the ‘opposition’. On 2nd January 1992, these forces formed a ‘Military council’ and a ‘Provisional Government’, consisting of T. Sigua, T. Kitovani and D. Ioseliani – who was freed from jail for the purpose and linked up with the putchists and his former criminal associates. In parallel with these developments and Ioseliani’s release, about 4,000 convicted criminals were also released from the prisons, given arms, and instructed to join the ‘army of fighters for democracy’.

Exile

Recognizing that this war against the putschists, blatantly supported by the Soviet military, could not fail to result in further bloodshed, and might end up totally destroying our capital city, I and a group of my armed supporters left the Parliament building on 6th January 1992 under a hail of bullets. We traveled first to Azerbaijan, then on to Armenia, and finally to the Chechen Republic, where the President, Dshohar Dudaev, gave us temporary shelter. From Grozny, the capital of the Chechen Republic, I disseminated the following appeal to the United Nations and to all peoples and governments of the world:

Appeal to the peoples and the
governments of the World.
To all peoples of goodwill.
To the United Nations

‘I, popularly elected president of the Republic of Georgia, Zviad Gamsakhurdia, address all the people who value the ideals of democracy, human rights and freedoms and are not indifferent to the fate of the whole nation, which became a victim of a major disaster.

In Georgia in January 1992, the military junta of political adventurers and the local Mafia carried out a coup d’etat in Tbilisi, having forcibly usurped power and started a war against the constitutionally elected government and the President, which led to the deaths of hundreds of people. The capital Tbilisi was partially burned down and historic monuments were destroyed on the main avenue of the city.

In order to put an end to bloodshed, I, the President of the Republic of Georgia, left Tbilisi together with the members of my family, who also were under the threat of physical extermination. The putschists burned down the Parliament building, looted my house, which at the same time is a memorial estate of my father – the well-known Georgian writer Konstantine Gamsakhurdia.

The junta formed a self-appointed government and is committing unspeakable crimes against the people who put up resistance to lawlessness and tyranny. They systematically shoot at peaceful rallies, arresting innocent people including MPs. Their armed forces rob and terrorize citizens. The people have launched a campaign of civil disobedience. Strikes are being carried out at the enterprises, railways and ports. The country’s energy and food crisis has reached alarming proportions.

I appeal to the United Nations, to the peoples and governments of the whole world, to issue a denunciation of the gross violations of human rights [committed] in Georgia by the junta, to demand the restoration of the constitutionally elected government and also to offer the Georgian people all the help they need to recover from this disaster, caused by the adventurous actions of the military junta’.

President of the republic of Georgia,
Zviad Gamsakhurdia,
Georgia, 27th january 1992.

Regime

But regrettably, bloodshed continued in Tbilisi and all over Georgia. After seizing power on 6th January 1992, the junta embarked upon systematic repression and a reign of terror, executing supporters of the legally chosen President, killing several hundred of them in Tbilisi alone, and in the countryside to the west of the capital. Near the village of Ninotsminda (Agaiani), murderous gangs were permitted to rob and kill people engaged in peaceful protests in support of my Government. In Tbilisi, hundreds of thousands of people demonstrated, protesting against the banning of the legally elected President and Parliament; and similar scenes were repeated in other towns throughout the country. During these manifestations, about a hundred of my supporters were assassinated, and many hundreds were wounded and detained.

It was always clear that the bulk of the forces of the armed so-called ‘opposition’ consisted of criminal elements – a fact which was even admitted by the junta’s self-appointed so-called Prosecutor General, Vakhtang Rasmadse. His admission appeared later in the newspaper ‘Sakartvelos Respublika’ dated 25th February 1992.

Thus the notorious gangster Dzhaba Ioseliani, who had been convicted on several counts of murder, robbery and for other crimes, was suddenly elevated to membership of the new self-appointed ‘government’. Tengiz Kitovani, another member of the junta, has several past convictions for various offenses committed under Communism. Ioseliani openly authorized, on television, all the atrocities being committed by his controlled gangs of thugs, and threatened all attending demonstrations and protest meetings with shooting and other forms of execution. The influence of this criminal junta on young people is deeply corrupting, given its repulsive use of money, drugs and weapons as enticements.

By day, the junta attacks peaceful protest demonstrations, and by night it terrorizes and robs the population. It imposed a State of Emergency and curfews in Tbilisi and in Georgia’s five other main cities, in violation of Article 4 of the Georgian Constitution, which lays down that only the legitimately elected Government and Parliament have the right to announce a State of Emergency.

Later on the illegal junta and its forces commenced punitive operations in various cities and towns, where the protest movement against the overthrow of the legal Government has continued. Many reports, published in unofficial Georgian newspapers such as ‘Kartuli Azri’, ‘Agdgoma’ and ‘Sakartvelos tsis kvesh’, have described acts of ruthless terror and barbarian behavior committed by the illegal junta’s forces.

In Easter Georgia, demonstrations and protests took place in Gurdshaani, Telavi, Akhmeta and Kareli. However, after punitive operations conducted by the junta’s forces, these demonstrations ceased. By contrast, in western Georgia, where the junta was able to deploy fewer forces, active resistance has continued to this day.

The junta’s version of events is that because I am a west Georgian, the people in that part of the country support me more than they do elsewhere. In reality, the electorate in both western and eastern Georgia cast their votes for me in equal proportions; and I received particularly strong support from Georgians in Sagaredsho (‘South Ossetia’), Kartli, Kakheti, Meskheti, etc.

The actual reason for the imbalance in the protest movement is the imperfect distribution of the junta’s forces of repression, which are mainly concentrated in Tbilisi, Sagaredsho and in other regions of Kakheti, which they are able to control the most effectively. But the junta has launched several punitive expeditions into west Georgia, against the ‘disobedient’ populations in the towns of Zugdidi, Tsalendzhikha, Senaki, Martvili, and Khobi. Intelligence concerning the resulting brutalities, vandalism, terror, robbery and violence, and about the hundreds of victims among the peaceful populations in those locations, was published in the news- paper ‘Sakartvelos tsis kvesh’ (which means ‘Under the Sky of Georgia’), issue number 37, dated 16th August 1992, printed in the Chechen Republic.

In February 1992, the former US Secretary of State, Mr. James A Baker, visited Moscow and met Shevardnadze and the head of the so-called ‘Provisional Government’ of Georgia, T. Sigua. The unofficial meetings and negotiations which then took place prepared the ground for the return of Shevardnadze, the former hated Communist dictator of Georgia, to Tbilisi for the stated purpose of guaranteeing ‘political and economic stabilization, peace and democratic elections’. During his visit to Tbilisi, I sent a telegram of protest to Secretary of State Baker in the following terms:

‘I express my protest against your intention to visit Georgia, which means support of the most illegal, anti-democratic, criminal and terrorist regime in the world, which has overthrown the legal authorities [who were] elected by the people, which wages war against its own people, rudely violates human rights and fundamental freedoms, chastening and shooting at peaceful meetings and demonstrations, has imposed a monopoly over the entire mass media, and collaborates with and stimulates the activities of, the underworld and the Mafia.

In seven towns and cities of Georgia including Tbilisi, there is still a curfew. Real power is in the hands of the notorious criminal and gangster Ioseliani. The criminal junta misappropriates all humanitarian aid received from the West and resells it on the black market at sky-high prices, while the people receive nothing. The economic situation is catastrophic; hunger, chaos and total destabilization are increasing; there is a great lack of foodstuffs and medicines; many people are dying of hunger and various diseases every day, especially old people and children.

Shevardnadze is reviving Stalinism in Georgia, has begun mass repressions and tortures; innocent citizens are arrested every day in large numbers because of their part in organizing protest actions; meetings, demonstrations, hunger strikes, strikes and protests are prohibited; and there is strict censorship throughout the country.

In such a situation, all possibility of free and honest elections is excluded. The situation [prevailing] in Georgia will soon come to resemble that in Somalia and Ethiopia. The United States’ Government’s actions in supporting this criminal totalitarian regime and establishing diplomatic relations with it, amount to a rude violation of all the democratic principles upon which American society is based, a violation of the [principles of the Helsinki Final Act, of the Charter of Paris, and of international law – a state of affairs which has induced indignation among the Georgian people, which is aware of the United States’ positions vis-?is Cuba, Venezuela and Haiti.

As a result [of the position adopted by the United States], anti-American feelings are increasing. I demand from the US Administration that it should cease its [open] support of state terrorism in Georgia, and that it should establish contacts only with the legal authorities of Georgia, who are now in exile’.

Nomenklatura

It was not long before Shevardnadze himself arrived at Tbilisi airport, where he was met by a group of ‘Mkhedrioni’ gangsters, militiamen and some Nomenklatura intellectuals – his supporters. He saluted these intellectuals from the Nomenklatura, “who had taken up arms and fought for the establishment of ‘democracy'”. Then he went first to the Sioni church, simulating piety, where he was welcomed by the local ‘Patriarch’, a long-term agent of the KGB, before proceeding to ‘Government House’, where he was there and then ‘elected’ as head of the new anti-constitutional body – the so-called ‘State Council’, which was in fact the same as the Military Council, but broadened and disguised.

Following his arrival on the scene, Shevardnadze presided over increased mass repression and a heightened reign of terror against his innumerable political opponents, who had continued to hold meetings and demonstrations, now against his arrival and his blatant usurpation of power. Punitive operations were carried out and repeated several times in western Georgia, with greater brutality and ruthlessness than before. Meanwhile the scale of assistance to the junta and its terrorist formations provided by the Russian military was stepped up, with supplies of armaments, technological equipment for warfare, and specialists.

Soon after Shevardnadze’s arrival in Tbilisi, his gangs again attacked, robbed and burned my home at 19, Gali Street, which also served, as I have mentioned, as a memorial and museum to the memory of my father, the well-known writer Konstantine Gamsakhurdia. My house remains a burnt-out ruin to this day, in exactly the same condition as after these attacks, in spite of public remarks by Shevardnadze about his ‘friendship’ with Konstantine Gamsakhurdia. To make matters even worse, my house has been repeatedly defiled by members of the junta’s mobs.

The West

Western politicians, and most of the mass media in the West, kept silent about the reign of terror, the repression and the barbarian vandalism unleashed in Georgia following the illegal seizure of power by the junta. The exceptions were the press in Finland and newspapers in Switzerland, which described the truth about the newly installed terror regime and the crimes it was committing. The United Nations, the CSCE, the Red Cross and most human rights organizations refused to investigate the facts about state terrorism and the human rights violations being suffered by the Georgian people – the exceptions here being IGFM, the International Society of Human Rights (based in Frankfurt), and theFinnish Helsinki Group. Both of these organizations manifested deep concern about these tragic events in Georgia.

Western cynicism and hypocrisy reached unheard-of levels with the further visit paid by Mr. James Baker to Georgia, on the anniversary of our independence, 26thMay 1992. While Mr. Baker congratulated Shevardnadze and his boorish supporters gathered in the Square of the Republic in front of the Hotel ‘Iveria’, and spoke about democracy, about 200 meters from where Mr. Baker was speaking, a large force of ‘Mkhedrioni’ chastisers and police with dogs were busily engaged in dispersing another meeting of my supporters, shooting at the crowd, and beating people without mercy. Baker overheard this shooting in the streets, but made no comment, carrying on with his speech.

The CSCE’s biannual summit meeting took place in Helsinki in early July. As the President of Georgia, and founder of the first Helsinki Group in 1975, I was invited to attend by the Georgia group in the Finnish Parliament. Mr. Heikki Riihijavi, the leader of that group, made three unsuccessful applications to the Finnish Ministry of Foreign Affairs in an attempt to obtain a visa for me to attend the CSCE Summit. The Ministry informed Mr. Riihijavi and the Chairman of the Finland-Georgia Society, Mrs. Aila Niinimaa-Keppo, that I would only be allowed to arrive in Finland after the conclusion of the Helsinki Summit. No explanation was given to the Finnish Parliamentary Group concerning this delay to my visit; and nor was any explanation forthcoming about the fact that members of the ‘Mkhedrioni’ gangster formations and officers from the KGB were allowed to enter Finland, whereas I was not.

Faced with this situation, Mr. Riihijavi complained, with justification [see ABN Correspondence, May-June 1992, Number 3, Volume XLIII]:

‘This goes against the rules of the CSCE, which is based upon respect for legality, democracy and access to information and freedom to travel within the territories of the CSCE member states. How can the CSCE stop Gamsakhurdia from coming to Finland, while heartily welcoming Shevardnadze, who was involved in last year’s putch and who masterminded the illegal takeover in Georgia? The CSCE was meant to protect nations against criminal leaders like Shevardnadze’.

I sent a similar letter of protest directly to the CSCE, but without any result. Meanwhile, Shevardnadze had taken part in the Helsinki Summit as a messenger of peace and democracy. By this illegal behavior, the CSCE violated its very own document, drawn up at the Moscow meeting of the participating states at their meeting lasting between 10thSeptember and 4th October 1991. Specifically, the CSCE violated Article 17.2 of that document, which declares:

‘If in any participating state an attempt is made to overthrow, or the overthrow takes place of, the democratically elected government by undemocratic methods, the participating states will support the legal bodies of the state concerned, in accordance with the United Nations Charter’.

In Georgia’s case, this solemn stipulation was reversed. After receiving the blessing and approval of the CSCE – amounting, as one Finnish newspaper put it, to ‘a license to kill’ – Shevardnadze’s bloody regime redoubled the intensity of its reign of terror all over Georgia. It did so, too, in the knowledge that it had the tacit support of the United Nations, as well as of the CSCE. Faced with this further onslaught, people in western Georgia have organized themselves to conduct guerrilla warfare against the marauding gangs and formations dispatched by the junta, which have been invading towns and villages. Many partisans have been tortured and executed by Shevardnadze‘s junta.

As reported by SOVIET ANALYST, on 24th June 1992, Shevardnadze’s secret services feigned a ‘coup attempt’, when some of my unarmed supporters were lured into the TV building by officers from the Ministry of Interior’s troops, with the promise of an opportunity to broadcast their appeals to the Georgian people, without charge. When they accepted this offer, they were arrested and tortured. Shevardnadze‘s junta announced that an ‘unsuccessful coup d’etat had taken place; and to dramatize the situation, provocateurs under the control of Ioseliani carried out terrorist atrocities, in the course of which several people were killed. The provocateurs then ‘confessed’ on television that they had received instructions from myself to commit these acts of terrorism. In response to this episode, I sent a telegram to Shevardnadze, in which I accused him of trying to discredit me using the methods of Stalin and Beriya.

War in Abkhazia

Turning now to Shevardnadze‘s policy concerning national minorities. In his propaganda, Shevardnadze accused me of being a ‘fascist’, a ‘nationalist’ and an ‘enemy of the national minorities’. Now, however, he is visiting upon them direct violence and genocide – depriving them not merely of their autonomy, but also of even the right to live and exist. On11th August 1992, troops of the ‘State Council’ embarked upon an extensive punitive campaign in the Abkhazian Autonomous Republic. Shevardnadze and his ‘State Council’ insisted that this invasion was necessary for the purpose of sustaining public order in this region, especially along railway lines. But the fact is that, following this invasion, the region has experienced, and continues to suffer, wholesale public disorder, anarchy, genocide, and total destruction and burning of entire towns and villages. In reality, Shevardnadze’s objective was to overthrow the authorities in the Autonomous Republic.

What irritated Shevardnadze was that the authorities of this Autonomous Republic had not been persecuting my supporters, and had refused to introduce totalitarian rule, as practiced by the junta, in Abkhazia. There had been no reign of terror or repression of my supporters in Abkhazia, where the people had continued to enjoy political freedom, were able to publish their own newspaper ‘Agdgoma’, and were free to speak out on local television.

It is evident that the main purpose of the Abkhazian war is to establish in this region Shevardnadze‘s dictatorship and the rule of his junta and Mafia. The war in Abkhazia, which had already cost 4,000 lives by the end of last year, seems to be without end [culminating recently in the virtual flattening of Sukhumi: -Ed.]. The most descriptive expression to date of the true objectives of this war of oppression in Abkhazia, and of Shevardnadze‘s approach to the question of solving the problems of the minorities, came from Shevardnadze’s Commander-in-Chief, ‘general’ G. Karkarashvili, who explained on a national television programme [25th August 1992]:

‘If Abkhazia does not cease its resistance, my troops will kill all 97,000 Abkhazians’.

In other words, Shevardnadze and his murderers are prepared to liquidate the entire nation [– a process which appears to be well advanced: – Ed.]. For this purpose, too,Shevardnadze and Karkarashvili are evidently prepared to sacrifice approximately 100,000 Georgians, as well.

This, then, is the nature of the policies of Shevardnadze – former Communist dictator of Georgia, KGB General, promoter of terror, robbery, rape and genocide of national minorities and of his political opponents.

On 29th October 1992, the Defense minister, Kitovani, stated on Moscow Television that that autonomous regions are to be liquidated in Georgia, and that the matter of the autonomous regions will be resolved by military force. This statement, alone, makes it abundantly clear that, despite ‘democratic elections’ [see below] in Georgia, the country remains a terror dictatorship ruled by a criminal junta – and that all talk by Shevardnadze about ‘civilian rule’ prevailing in Georgia are lies. Furthermore, by involving the north Caucasian peoples in his Abkhazian war, Shevardnadze and his junta are preparing the ground for a new Yugoslavia in the Caucasus. Western Georgia, including Abkhazia, is simply in ruins, with thousands of refugees fleeing these regions daily.

False elections

Concerning the elections, which Shevardnadze promised to hold in Georgia ‘in accordance with all the standards adopted in democratic countries’, I would like to ask the democratic world whether, in any democratic country of the West, the following behavior is normal:

  • ‘Elections’ are ‘called’, not by an elected body, president, or parliament, but by some illegal, self-proclaimed gathering called a ‘State Council’ which possesses no legitimacy and imposed itself upon the country by force.
  • The ‘election’ organizers fail to identify the electors by name and address, omitting to carry out the preparations necessary to ensure absolutely fair voting.
  • The people are subjected to intensified terror and repression ahead of the ‘election’, and are forced in many cases to provide written undertakings that they will vote for a single candidate for the post of Speaker of Parliament – the top post in Georgia.
  • The position of Speaker of Parliament is decided not by the votes of MPs, but in fact by ‘public voting’.
  • ‘Elections’ take place against a background of civil war, anarchy, and curfews in many towns and cities.
  • ‘Elections’ take place without secret voting in most districts.
  • However, in a few districts of the capital, electoral arrangements, ballot boxes and booths for ‘secret voting’ are rigged up for the benefit of intentional observers, who are misled into deducing that the ballot boxes and booths for secret voting are replicated throughout the city and the country.
  • Moreover, the international observers are steered away from all other polling stations (where the voting arrangements are decidedly not secret).
  • At most polling stations, the ‘elections’ are conducted under the control of gunmen, who watch the voters as they place their votes, and check for whom they have voted. If they have not voted in accordance with the gunmen’s ‘preferences’.
  • … the gunmen visit such ‘disobedient’ voters with ballot boxes, and force them under threat of death to ‘amend’ their previous vote, and to place their vote in accordance with the ‘party line’.
  • Armored vehicles pursue ‘electors’ in the streets and drive them to the polling stations by force – a practice observed in the west Georgian town of Martvili.
  • Noticing that the number of ballot- papers cast is hopelessly insufficient for the authorities’ purposes, the ‘Election Commission’ removes the boxes and replaces them with new ones – an activity observed, for instance, in the town of Vani.
  • People are seen stuffing ballot-boxes with 100-200 ballot papers.
  • Local ‘Election Commissions’ consist of carefully selected people loyal to the illegal government, without any involvement by the opposition.
  • So-called ‘democratic elections’ take place without any involvement on the part of opposition parties or individuals.

Was it not quite natural that, following such ‘elections’, the dictator Shevardnadze was ‘elected’ by 96% of the ‘electorate’? Elections like these were of course standard under the Communists; and it is no coincidence that Communism has been revived in Georgia under Shevardnadze with great success, incorporating many of the ‘innovations’ introduced when Shevardnadze was in power earlier.

Shevardnadze has since boasted that he presides over a ‘democratically elected’ parliament in Georgia. It is curious, therefore, that 15 days after the elections, only a proportion of the parliamentary lists had been published – although even among the names published to date, the distribution of forces was remarkably favorable to Shevardnadze. Among these names were very well- known nomenklatura-plutocrats, including notorious accomplices of the events of 9th April 1989, and Mafia bosses – all of whom had unaccountably emerged with huge majorities in the new ‘parliament’.

The rest of the new parliamentary lists were published after a long delay, due to the fact that there erupted a great struggle among ‘candidates’ for inclusion within the favoredNomenklatura ‘parliament’, and a burning desire among their number for the opportunity of proving by their words (and deeds) their undying fidelity to the ‘Speaker’.

But all of a sudden, Shevardnadze announced, on 21st October 1992, that the first session of the new ‘parliament’ had been delayed for an indeterminate period, due to the ‘complicated situation’ prevailing in Georgia. In actual fact, the real reason for this delay was a political struggle between the ‘deputies’ and a growing, indeed acute, danger fromKitovani, who threatened a fresh putsch, should he be removed from the position of power he had usurped.

As for Shevardnadze‘s boasts about the introduction of the market economy and the country’s prosperity, the economic situation in Georgia is in fact catastrophic. The Russian Federation has allotted Georgia credits in the sum of 20 billion rubles [source: the Moscow-based newspaper ‘Kuranti’, October 1992, No. 38 [59]], while the United States and Turkey have assisted Georgia with several million dollars. All these credits,, as well as the humanitarian aid, are being systematically misappropriated by officials – applied for personal profit and for the financing of the Abkhazian war and punitive expeditions in west Georgia (Megrelia).

Privatization in favor of the Nomenklatura, is implemented on the orders of the junta members Ioseliani and Kitovani, and by others – with all national property and sources of valuable production distributed among the Nomenklatura/Mafia bosses.

Not surprisingly, most of the Georgian population, especially in the towns and cities, is on the verge of abject poverty and starvation. The agricultural sector has been totally paralyzed, especially in western Georgia. The main reasons for this breakdown are the civil war, a lack of fuel, an absence of agricultural equipment and technology, and the absolute chaos which has accompanied the privatization in favor of the Nomenklatura (known as ‘Nomenklatura-privatization) of the land, which has been taking place without any legislative basis, in the absence of any law governing land and property, and in the midst of endless conflicts among landowners as they struggle against the former state farms for property, and production, while having to contend with banditry and robbery, and with the wholesale misappropriation of assets.

Even the illegal government’s media has admitted that in Tbilisi alone between three and five men die of hunger every day – a figure dismissed by our sources as a gross understatement of the position, which is that dozens are dying every day from lack of food to eat.

Conclusions

In conclusion, I need to add that Shevardnadze‘s criminal regime is in the habit of repeatedly violating the Charter of the United Nations, the Declaration of Human rights, all principles of intentional law including the Helsinki agreement and the Paris Charter, and all declarations, pacts and conventions on Human rights and fundamental freedoms.

The regime operates by means of ruthless terror and violence, which are the main principles and instruments of state policy in Georgia.

It has no right to represent Georgia at the United Nations and in the forum of the CSCE, and it must be thrown out of these organizations. This heinous regime, which has brought Georgia to a state of political and economic catastrophe, is in the process of creating great dangers of destabilization and warfare throughout the Caucasus region, with the possibility of the war spreading even into Russia, and further fueling the basis for the emerging world crisis.

I, the legally and democratically elected President of Georgia-in-Exile, therefore appeal to the United Nations, to the governments and parliaments of the world, to the mass media, to all international political and religious organizations, and to all men and women of goodwill, to help Georgia in the midst of its terrible disaster, to condemn the state terrorism practiced by Shevardnadze’s regime, to impose a total boycott on it, and to help restore the legal Parliament and Government.

Unless this happens, there can be no peace, stabilization or democratic development in Georgia, and throughout the whole of the region of the Caucasus.

წყარო

იანვარი 27, 2011

ანდრეი სკრიაბინის ტელეხიდი პრეზიდენტ ზვიად გამსახურდიასთან

videointerview of Andrej Skrjabin with president Zviad Gamsakhurdia

ზვიად გამსახურდია და ჯოხარ დუდაევი (ინტერვიუები, გროზნო, 1992 წელი)

Interview with Zviad Gamsakhurdia and Džokhar Dudaev (Grozny, 1992)

ურმას ოტის ინტერვიუ საქართველოს პრეზიდენტ, ზვიად გამსახურდიასთან

Interview of Urmas Ott with president Zviad Gamsakhurdia

იანვარი 18, 2011

Zviad Gamsakhurdia – The Spiritual Mission of Georgia

A LECTURE DELIVERED AT THE IDRIART FESTIVAL IN TBILISI PHILHARMONIC HOUSE 2 MAY, 1990

Dear friends: As it is quite impossible to do justice to such a complex theme in a single lecture, my address will inevitably be in the nature of an overview. I shall try to give a general outline of the problems upon which I and my friends have reflected over the past years, I shall also touch upon the results of separate studies carried out in Georgia as well as in the West.

The plan of the lecture will be as follows: I shall first speak about the ethnogeny of the Georgians. As I am aware that our Western guests are particularly interested in this topic, I shall treat of such aspects that may not be known to them and are given scant attention in present-day Western scholarship. Furthermore, during the long period of Soviet ideological dictatorship much in the history of Georgian culture has been hushed, distorted, and tabooed. This field of knowledge had been placed under a kind of ban, which regrettably, continues to the present day for it is not so easy to shake oneself free of the effects of the hypnosis of that notorious period. Many issues have been falsified and usurped by Soviet imperial scholarship and subjected to its interests. Unfortunately, Georgian scholars too have come under this influence. I do not want to name them personally; they still do not dare to carry on research along lines that would shed light on these issues. All this was being done with momentous and far-reaching objectives in mind. In this connection, a major campaign was launched against the Georgian scholars Ivane Javakhishvili and Niko Marr. The studies of such major scholars as Wilhelm Humboldt and others in the sphere of the ethnogeny of the Iberians were shelved. This was being done with the purpose of instilling an inferiority complex in the Georgian nation. Soviet scholarship, particularly the classics of Marxism-Leninism founded a theory (see Stalin’s theory in this connection) according to which the Georgian nation allegedly took shape in the nineteenth century; prior to the indicated period – this theory would have us believe – it was neither a nation nor did it exist; the advent of capitalism in Georgia in the past century determined according to this theory, the development of the Georgian people into a nation. This is a Marxist theory which prevails to the present day and which some of our scholars cannot get rid of, continuing to labor under it. All this had far-reaching implications.

What is the actual situation with regard to the Georgian ethnogeny? In the twentieth century, the leading Georgian scholars Acad. Ivane Javakhishvili and N. Marr made a study of the genetic roots of the Georgian nation, but their conclusions were bitterly opposed by orthodox Soviet scholarship. At the same time, as noted above, the studies, of the great German scholar Wilhelm Humboldt were passed over in silence. Wherein lay the essence of these studies, why have they been taboo to the present day, and why is modern ethnological and linguistic research not developing in this direction?

To begin with, Humboldt’s research into the Basque language and the ancient population of the Iberian peninsula led him to the conclusion that the primary, autochthonous population of Southern Europe, viz. the Iberian peninsula, Italy, and the Mediterranean islands, was Iberian. This population was called proto-Iberian, the later European population stemming from it. The term Mediterranean race (or people) is also used in scholarship. In order to refer to the people of the Caucasian race use is also made of the terms palaeo-Caucasian or ancient Caucasian race and ancient-Mediterranean race, the terms being interchangeable. I am referring to the population diffused from the Iberian peninsula, into the Mediterranean and Aegean basins, the Balkans, into modern Greece, the Caucasus, and the territory of modern India as well as into Asia Minor and Palestine. This is the area of diffusion of the proto-Iberian people which, according to Humboldt, had many offshoots. These people had a single basic language with many dialectal branches, and even if these di-alects assumed the character of separate languages, they remained kin-dred and developed as mutually related languages. That is why the term proto-Iberian gained currency, to which – as I have just said – the an-cient population of the Iberian peninsula and Italy, in particular, Basque, Lusitanian, Etruscan, Pelasgian, etc. is linked. Further, Marr studied the language of the Sumerians, the ancient Iberian tribes of Asia Minor and Mesopotamia, while the eminent Georgian scholar Mikheil Tsereteli re-searched the genetic relationship of Sumerian and modern Georgian.

Marr’s studies, as well as those carried out by objective representa-tives of Armenian scholars (e.g. Ghapantsian), have shown that a con-siderable part of the Asia Minor population belonged to the proto-Iberian race, represented by the Meskhians or Moschoi, Cappadocians, Colchians, Taochoi, and others. Thus, there are different branches of one and the same people referred to in scholarship as Kartvelian or proto-Iberian while Georgia or the Georgian nation proper – located in the Caucasus – is linked to – the Iberian-Caucasian branch. Of the numerous branches of Iberian, at present Pyrenean (Spanish) Iberian or Basque and Caucasian Iberian or Georgian (with its related tribes in the Northern Caucasus) have survived. The rest have already been assimilated into the Indo-Eu-ropean part of mankind. The Indo-Europeans seem to have arrived in Europe later, viz. after the second millennium B.C., whereas the proto–Iberian or palaeo-Mediterranean and palaeo-Caucasian population is be-lieved to have been on the upgrade from earliest times to the third millennium B.C. The decline of these people, i. e. their numerical diminishment and assimilation by the newly arriving Indo-Europeans, commenced in the third millennium.

From this lime and later, the Hittite and Ancient Greek or Hellenic worlds come to the fore. But there oc-curred a synthesis of cultures: the primary cultures of Minos, the Aegean cultures, and Colchian (Ancient Colchian) cultures, the latter being closely connected with Minoan, became linked to the Mediterranean or proto-Iberian people. Subsequently – from the second millennium B.C. – the Hittite world, which was already Indo-European, began to advance to the foreground, along with the ancient Greek world, stemming from the Vedic Greek tribe that had come to the territory on which later arose the ancient Greek world with its culture. On the basis of the evidence of Greek historians the primordial populalion of ancient Greece is defined as Pelasgic or proto-Iberian. The Pelasgians formed a branch of the proto-Iberians, similarly to the Etruscans, the Colchians, and other peoples. The Colchian, Pelasgian, Trojan, and Minoan were closely related worlds, and for practical purposes of study can be considered as constituting one single world, a world reflected in the great epic of Homer. Modern scholarship’s serious studies of this civilization have not been given adequate publicity. In the West, the well-known scholar Furnee is engaged in research along these lines; he has published a significant study of pre-Greek, or Pelasgic and Kartvelian. In Georgia, Professor Rismag Gordeziani is doing fruitful work in this direction; he too has made important inferences in studying the ethnogeny of the tribes men-tioned in the Iliad, as. well as the role of Kartvelian or proto-Georgian tribes in the Trojan War. Light has been shed in his studies on the ge-netic relation of the Georgian language to Etruscan and of Kartvelian tribes to the Lycians, Carians, and the entire world of Asia Minor and the Aegean – primarily to Troy. The Trojan world was older than the Hellenic, for the Greeks fought in Troy in order to secure the sacred, mysterious wisdom of the Palladium. Troy is the same Colchian world, for in the dispute of the Achaeans with the Trojans the latter explain the abduction of Helen as a kind of revenge for the earlier carrying off of Medea by the Achaeans. The Trojans remonstrate with the Achaeans saying that inasmuch as earlier they had been deprived of a woman i.e. Medea, now Helen had been carried off in retaliation; thus, The Colchians appear in the role of the abductors. The Trojans and the Colchians are a people of the same stock as that which constitutes the population of the entire Mediterranean Basin and the bulk of the popu-lation of Asia Minor. Such are the far-reaching findings of modern scholarship but, as noted above, all this is passed over in silence and instead the role of the Indo-Europeans in that archaic period is being boosted. Yet, as is known, the Indo-European people largely gained ascendancy from the second millennium, and the Trojan War, described in the Illiad, actually occurred at a time when the Indo-Europeans had already gained the upper hand both in Asia Minor and in Greece, while the Pelasgian people were threatened with a decline, though Achilles, the greatest hero of the Trojan War, is of Pelasgic origin, i.e. a representative of the Kartvelian people, while Agamemnon and Menelaus are of purely Hellenic extraction, representing the Hellenic world. Here we are dealing with an obvious conflict between the Hellenic and proto-Georgian worlds: Troy is the proto-Georgian world, whereas the Achaeans represent its Hellenic counterpart. One of the main objectives of the campaign1 one that stands out in the conflict, is to carry off the Palladium, which is symbolically effected through the Trojan horse. True, symbolically we here have the motif of the abduction of a woman, but Helen is the sym-bol of the ancient pagan Sophia (the abduction of Wisdom or Sophia, and its subsequent retrieval is a widespread motif in classical poems), while the horse is known to have been the symbol of intelligence in ancient epic poetry and myths. The Achaean Greek mission of developing intelligence was already a new stage of consciousness, while ancient Colchian, Trojan, Pelasgic culture was a clairvoyant one which preceded intellectual, reasoning culture. Ancient Greek myths was in reality not Greek but Pelasgic, as noted by the eminent German philosopher Schelling, who defined the Pelasgic period in the development of Greece as Sabism, i.e. the period of clairvoyant wisdom. From Greek mythology of the subsequent period we learn that Perseus and other heroes transferred the clairvoyant, Pelasgic culture to a reasoning culture, viz. intellectual, Greek culture.

The Promethean myth is also related to the foregoing. who was Prometheus? Generally speaking, mythos and mythology are not identical notions. Mythos is the universe of myths, while mythology is the in-terpretation, meaning, or logos of this universe of myths, i.e. the logos or reason of mythos. Thus, the Greek myths were created by the Pelasgians while the Hellenes systematized and interpreted them. Homer and Hesiod were not the creators of Greek myths but the systematizers and interpreters of the mythos of the Pelasgic period. They were mythologizers while the names of the mythographers of the Pelasgic period have not come down to us, but the gods – personages of mythos – have survived The principal gods of the ancient Greek pantheon are of Pelasgic origin, including Zeus. A Pelasgic chthonic Zeus whose cult is connected with the oak is known to have existed; Hera was an ancient Pelasgic–Iberian goddess, also Demeter, in connection with whose stem Acad. I. Javakhishvili pointed out that the stem de is absolutely alien to the ancient Greek language. To be sure, meter does mean mother, but de is a stem of purely Iberian origin, de or deda denoting mother-goddess. Thus, Demeter is the image in which the ancient Colchian or Pelasgian mother-goddess became fused with the ancient Greek goddess. This is how the ancient Greek pantheon became grafted, as it were, on the proto-Georgian, proto-Iberian, or Pelasgic pantheon.

To return to Prometheus, the myth of Prometheus is most important from the viewpoint of the evolution of humankind as well as of the ethnogeny of the Georgians, for the myth in question is known to be linked to the Caucasus, and hence it is not fortuitous that the basic de-velopments of the Creek mythos are connected with the Caucasus. Let us recall the expedition of the Argonauts and the chaining of Prometheus to the Caucasus Range – both major events in Creek mythology. The mission of the personages of mythos – their spiritual identity – was always defined by their names. The names of the personages of mythos (as you are aware, myths were created in ancient mysteries by the priests, devotes, and adepts), as well as the names of gods, demigods, titans, and heroes were directly related to their essential function. Thus, Prometheus [Pro-metheia, pro-metheo] in Greek means prophetic thinking, foresight, forethought, while Epimetheus, his brother’s name, means deliberative thinking or afterthought: What does Prometheus stand for? He is a representative of the mankind that must develop prophetic or intuitive thinking, while Epimetheus is to develop reasoning or intellec-tual thought. Prometheus is the son of Iapetus. The latter name is defined by Zeno of Rica as the upper spiritual world – Iapetus, i.e. what strives upward, to the spiritual world.

Thus, Prometheus is the son of the upper or spiritual world, in other words, of prophetic thinking. As observed by Plutarch, ancient Greeck myths – as well as all myths in general – could be interpreted at twelve different levels. One of the principal interpretations of the Prometheus myths in the evolution of mankind is the stage at which thinking becomes chained to man’s physical body with the descent of his soul into it, thus becoming trapped in this physical body. Now, the liberation of Prometheus who is chained to the Caucasus is the liberation of this thinking from the bodily principle. The liberated Prometheus is liberated prophetic thinking, while the chained Prometheus is thinking chained to man’s physical body. This is the stage in mankind’s evolution known as sinking of human essence or soul into the physical body; subsequently, the soul is liber-ated from matter. This is one – the spiritual, philosophical – aspect of the Prometheus myth.

The second aspect is ethnological, namely that Prometheus is the symbol of the ethnos or people that is to develop a culture of mysteries, with all its consequences; viz. of spiritual development , initiation and spiritual thinking. Such is this people, whereas Zeus – viewed from this angle – embodies a people that came to Greece later, established its cult by force, and chained Prometheus to the Caucasus; What was the cause of this punishment? It was the meeting of the representatives of two cultures or peoples in Corinth, one aligned to Prometheus, and the other to Zeus. This was a symbolic reflection of the coming together of two cultures or peoples one was the indigenous, primordial Creek population and the other, newly come, Indo-European or Hellenic. At this meeting, Prometheus and his attendant priests cheat Zeus and his friends in sharing the sacrificial ox. The deception of Zeus’ priests was made possible because the intellect and thinking of Prometheus’ priests were more advanced. It is symbolic of the superior intellectual development of the indigenous people: in other words. Pelasgic culture that the newly come Indo-Europeans found in Greece was superior to theirs. The culture of thought was correspondingly higher; subsequently the Indo-Europeans raised the Greek culture of thought to the highest stage of development. However, this was still the period of the first confrontation of the two peoples, when Prometheus’ priests divide the ox in such a way that the bones and fat fall to Zeus, and the best parts of the animal to themselves. This too is symbolic, for there we are dealing with a dual interpretation of the offering, Zeus’ priests pretending to have deliberately allowed themselves to be cheated. Then Zeus addresses Prometheus:

– The son of Iapetus, the noblest of all rulers, the greatest seer of the future, friend, why did you share the ox thus?

Zeus is late in perceiving what Prometheus has done. Having understood Prometheus’ quality, Zeus refuses to give fire to mankind and chains Prometheus to the Caucasus as a punishment for his having provided men with it. Here fire is a symbol of man’s self. As you know, among the four elements (fire, water, earth and air) it is fire that corresponds to man’s self or identity. Zeus’ refusal to give mankind its identity, which it therefore lacks, and Prometheus’ provision of men with fire, i.e. their identity, reflects a definite stage in the development of mysterious culture when men received the self by descending into the physical body; now the chaining of Prometheus is precisely the stage at which man’s soul and his self descend from the spiritual world into the physical body and man becomes aware of his self. (Incidentally, the burial of the Titans in Tartarus following their struggle with the gods has the same implication). This is the consequence of Prometheus’ provision of mankind with fire, for all culture comes from self, in the same way as civilization follows from the use of fire. We learn from such symbols that Prometheus reflects the culture of mysteries that was primor-dial in ancient Greece and later became located in the Caucasus. which is reflected symbolically in the chaining of Prometheus to the Caucasus.

Prometheus is tormented by Zeus’ eagle. On the one hand, the eagle is a symbol of spiritual flight upward and cognition, and on the other, it symbolizes imperial power and violence that torments Prometheus. Prometheus chained to a rock, or thought chained to the physical body, was released by Heracles.

What does Heracles represent? He represents a new culture of initiation – volitional, heroic initiation – a prototype of Christian initiation. In general, the ancient Greek mysteries were prophetic in character. The central mysteries of ancient Greece were mysteries of “Eloizis”. This is an ancient Greek word and means a future event, what is to come to pass, prophecy. The image of Heracles is a prototype of Christian initiation, linked to volition, the activity of the soul and particularly to what is called taking of the Kingdom of Heaven by force in Christianity, for the essence of the Christian initiation is interpreted by Christ as the taking of the Kingdom of Heaven by force (“The Kingdom of Heaven is taken by the power of will”). Thus the feats of Heracles should be understood symbolically as the various stages of initiation of the different levels of spiritual development, culminating in the liberation of Prometheus, or the liberation of thought from the captivity of the physical body, and the redemption of mankind.

The foregoing interpretation of myths has ethnological implications, mythology and ethnology being closely related. The myths suggest the liberation of the people that had been chained or relegated to the Caucasus by Zeus or an Indo-European people. Thu the past and the future of the proto-Georgian or proto-Iberian people found reflection in the myth of Prometheus. Heracles – as already observed – is a symbolic expression of a new initiatory culture, viz. Christian culture, and by the way, this is so not only in modern spiritual science but in medieval theology as well. Even in Byzantine theology we come across writings hinting at Heracles being a prototype of Christ. For example, Heracles’ causing water to gush from a rock with his wand is considered a prototype of Christianity. The voyage of the Argonauts is also a prototype of Christian initiation; nor is it accidental that the Golden Fleece is referred to in spiritual science as the classical Grail. The Golden Fleece in the Classical period was the same as the Grail and the philosophers’ stone in the Middle Ages, the two being identical notions. Search for the philosophers’ stone is not only a search for physical gold but also a search for spiritual initiation for god, and for a definite developmental level of spiritual consciousness conveyed in Classical Greek mysteries as a quest for the Golden Fleece. The latter, as you are well aware, was preserved in Colchis, the golden ram having flown to Colchis from Greece/ But this was a period when Pelasgic culture was flourishing in Greece, namely the Pelasgic culture of Argos. It is not fortuitous that the ship was called Argo, for the. stem of the word is of Colchian provenance; note the Georgian place names Argo, Argveti, Egrisi, containing the Colchian stem gr. The expedition to Colchis was symbolically or imagi-nativelv undertaken in quest of mysterious wisdom which at the time was preserved in Colchis alone, no longer existing in the territory of Greece or in the countries of the Mediterranean basin. Consider also Theseus’ travel to Crete – again to acquire the wisdom that no longer existed in Classical Greece.

Note that the greatest heroes of Greece, Theseus, Heracles, and Jason (incidentally, Heracles too was on board the Argo), set out in quest of spiritual or mysterious wisdom in countries of proto-Georgian, proto–Iberian origin. Minoan Crete was one such country (incidentally Minos means a bearer of reason, a thinker); Theseus’ arrival in Crete, his entrance of the labyrinth; slaying of the Minotaur, and coming out pur-ported the adoption of the Minoan cultute that was older than and superior to ancient Greek culture.

The same refers to ancient Colchian culture which was at the time at a higher level than its Greek counterpart. (It is not accidental that Aeetes’ sister Pasiphae was Minos’ wife). Thus, the expeditions of these heroes were invariably directed to Kartvelian countries. Heracles too goes to the Garden of the Hesperides in Spanish Iberia to fetch the apples.

The myth of Orpheus, too, gives his main objective as the revival of the cult of his Pelasgian ancestors. Orpheus was of Pelasgian origin, the son of Oeagrus (incidentally, the name of Orpheus’ father directly coin-cides with the name of Colchis: Egrisi, Egri). His purpose was to breathe new life into Pelasgian culture that had declined in the Hellenic period.

As for the voyage of the Argonauts, as noted above, it deals with dif-ferent stages of ancient Greek, specifically Doric, initiation, and it is no mere chance that Doric – active – initiation is. related to the Colchian world. Now, in medieval Byzantine theology, Germanus the Patriarch of Constantinople wrote his Miracles of the Archangels describing the voy-age of the Argonauts to Colchis; the expedition is under the patronage of the Christian Archangel Michael. The Archangel, “a terrible power sent from heaven” reveals himself to the Argonauts, predicting their future success. You will have noted the peculiar interpretation of the pagan myth by Germanus – at first sight a representative of the exoteric Church: the “terrible power sent from heaven” is the Archangel Michael, and the voyage of the Argonauts is linked to the mission of Michael – the principal solar archangel of Christianity – power of God, as he is de-fined. (Significantly enough, Gernianus the Patriarch was of Colchian origin – a Laz).

Such are the links between pagan and Christian initiation, connected with proto-Georgian mysterious centers.

In Pindar’s Fourth Ode, Jason – as a figure and hero – is referred to as panther-skinned; he is not only the procurer of the Golden Fleece but a panther-skin hero as well. In general, panther-skin heroes are related to the proto-Georgian world. However, panther-skin priests occur in Egyptian mysteries too. Incidentally, the Trojan Paris also wears a pan-ther skin, as do other Trojan heroes. The Dionysiac processions too were led by a panther, Dionysus himself wearing a panther’s skin. Thus the skin of a panther is an ancient totemic image of Japhetic mankind or the Caucasian race.

Now, I should like to go back to the discussion of the ancient, proto–Iberian race. It will be recalled that Acad. Marr’s terms Japhetic race and Japhetic language have gained ground in scholarship. What does this imply?

You are aware of the existence of the notion of Semitic peoples and languages, as well as of Hamitic peoples related to ancient Egypt, and generally Africa. There is also the Japhetie race. The three Biblical brothers symbolically reflect branches of humankind, viz. Noah reflects the Atlantic or pre-Flood humanity i.e. the developmental stage of mankind before Atlantis was swallowed up by the sea, while his children were representatives of the post-Atlantis human race. Japhetic is one of their branches and incidentally, the Japheth of the Old Testament is related to the Iapetus of ancient Greek mythology. It is not fortuitous that Iapetus was Prometheus’ father; Japheth is identical to Iapetus, as is also the planet Jupiter and Jupiter’s race, white race. As is known, in esoterism the races are related to the planets: the White race to Jupiter, the Black to Mercury, the Red to Venus, and the Yellow or Mongolian to Mars. The first substrate of Jupiter’s race is precisely this Japhetic, proto-European or proto-Iberian mankind. This is how the mission of the proto-European, palaeo-Caucasian and Mediterranean people is linked to that of Jupiter’s race. So much for the Classical, pagan period.

Now apropos of the Christian period. The advent of Christianity in Georgia is connected with the opening centuries of our era. The presence of two Apostles Andrew and Simon the Cananaian – in Georgia is not accidental; these were the first and the last apostles. Andrew was the first called, while Simon was the last to come to Christ, this being the symbol of their representing the alpha and omega; i.e. the beginning and the end. What part did the Kartvelian peoples play in the development of Christianity, in particular of Christianity propounded by the Archangel Michael, and why is the land called Georgia?

As you know, the Archangel Michael had prototypes in the Classical, i.e. pre-Christian, period. This was a being that appeared in the shape of gods protecting fertility, as gods of the weather or thunderstorms, such as Indra in ancient India, Marduk in the Mesopotamian world, Tarhu in the palaeo-Caucasian world – a panther skin god of thunderstorm. In caves, this god was always depicted as attired in the panther’s skin. The panther skin is an attribute of a being known in antiquity under the name of Indra, Marduk, Tarhu, and in the Christian period as Michael and Saint George. Saint George is the earthly aspect of Michael. Michael represents the spiritual world, i.e. the mental aspect, whereas St. George is Michael’s aspect on the historical plane, i.e. in the physical world. But how did the name George become linked to our country?

Already the ancient Greeks called the Georgian georgoi because of the advancement of agriculture in this country. Georgos means “a tiller of the ground” but, at the same time, the cult of St. George is connected with fanning, particularly with the control of fertility, weather, atmospheric phenomena. This was the case in early Georgia – hence the Georgian national deity: White George. Now, the Christian St. George was a historical figure, being at the same time the earthly image of the spiritual Archangel Michael, both slayers of the dragon. This image and its worship were most congenial to the Georgian people, hence Christianity in Georgia acquired the worship of St. George. Christianity in its pure form existed for the clergy, the feudal class and the royal court, but. popular Christianity in Georgia may be said to have merged with the worship of St. George. However, this does not mean that the cult of George eclipsed Christianity. In George the Georgians perceived not only a Cappadocian saint but a Christian God as well, seeing God in the combative, dragon-slaying image of St. George. Thus Michael’s spiritual aspect of Christianity was the closest to Georgia. The name of the country became linked to George, who later became not only the principal saint of the Georgian nation but also the image of a Christian God. It should be noted that theology knows of different images and aspects of God. Even in the Apocalypse, the Messiah, God, or Christ is represented as a heavenly rider on a white horse (Rev. 19, 11-15). The familiar traditional images of Christ do not exhaust His essence. There is also another image – a fighting, dragon-slaying one – as found in the Revelation. This is precisely the prototype of St. George that proved most congenial to the Georgians. By the way, the eminent Georgian scholar Ivane Javakhishvili noted that the cult of St. George in Georgia was an un-precedented phenomenon. Cases are on record of the festivals of the Trinity, Christmas and Easter being “absorbed” by the – festival of St. George, and of churches built in the name of the festivals just cited being identified with St. George; Thus, St. George is identified with God, for he is an image not only of a particular saint but of God as well.

Incidentally, the American scholar Jobes observes that St. George holds the same position in Georgia as Christ does. But this is wrong, for we are dealing not with the similarity of positions but with Christianity in Georgia being imaginatively or symbolically presented in a militant aspect. Essentially, Georgian Christianity may be said to be militant Christianity. It is a Christianity of knights, fighters, and it may be said also that Georgia was a single spiritual Order of St. George, and it was perceived as such by the Crusaders and by foreign visitors of the country, this leading to the establishment of the designation Georgia, which of course comes from the pagan period.

It was only foreigners that per-ceived the Georgians in this way. True, the Georgians did not use the word Georgian as a self-designation, but we are all well aware of the level of the cult of St. George in Georgia, and of the role this saint and its image plays in Georgian history. There is no other image that would express the national character more adequately. Here we should recall the principal monuments of Georgian literature and their relation to Michael’s Christianity – the worship of St. George. The Second aspect of Christian Georgia’s mission is linked to Georgia being a country fallen by lot to the Mother of God. Why is Georgia assigned to the Mother of God? This is because the principal divinity of the Japhetid or Kartvelian people was Mother-Goddess appearing in various aspects in different branches of this people, hence her name myrionym, i.e. with myriad names. This was the central mother-goddess found by the Greek colonists in Phasis, her large statue standing at the entrance to Phasis. In this country it is known as “mother-goddess” or “mother of the place” represented as Demeter or Hera in proto-Kartvelian countries. The cult of Artemis stems from this goddess, a parallel cult existing in Svaneti as the cult of Dali. As you know, the cult of Asia Minor goddesses is related to this ancient Japhetic mother-goddess. Now, the Mother of God of the Christian period is the Christian aspect of the same goddess – the Christian image of the being that was closest to this people and herein lies the mystic predetermination. When the Apostles cast lots to determine the country in which each should preach, Georgia fell to the Mother of God because the country was traditionally linked most to the mission of the mother of God, which is the same as that of the Holy Spirit.

As you know, the Trinity, i.e. Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, is characterized by many aspects or multiformity. The hypostasis of the son, i.e. the second mode, is manifested in the Divine-majusculine aspect of the Trinity, whereas the Holy Spirit is revealed in the feminine aspect or in the Mother of God. In his writings, Gregory of Nyssa states that the Holy Spirit is manifested in the Mother of God, the latter being the earthly embodiment and action of the Holy Spirit. The mission of the latter is directly related to that of the Mother of God. What is this mission? It is one of sanctification, i.e. the purification of humankind and, at the same time exposure to be effected by this principle, similar to the mission of Michael-George, viz., the development of spiritual thinking and the crushing of the universal serpent or dragon of materialism of universal evil, saving mankind thereby.

It is these two aspects that are linked closest to Georgia’s spiritual mission. Michael’s Christianity and St. George’s Christianity are two aspects of the same phenomenon, on the one hand, and Sophian Christianity or Christianity connected with the Mother of God, on the other, is the aspect of Christianity which is manifested in the Mother of God or Sophia. In Classical times this being emerged as the goddess of fertility, mother goddess, or earth, while in Christianity it is manifested as Sophia or divine, cosmic wisdom. Sophia is one of the designations of the Mother of God – an image of the Mother of God or the Holy Spirit. Wisdom emanating from the Holy Spirit is expressed in Sophia. These two aspects are basic to Georgia’s spiritual mission, being reflected in Georgian theology, art, and litera-ture.

Before passing on to other problems, I shall briefly touch on Svetit-skhoveli. I know that today our guests visited Svetitskhoveli, in Mtskheta. Svetitslhoveli is the church in which Georgia’s mission, Georgian spirituality, and Georgian Christianity have found most profound and all-round reflection. You are aware of the uniqueness of this church. for, as far as I know, in no other Christian church can one find a cult pillar. A pillar, more precisely two pillars, did exist in the temple built by Solomon in Jerusalem, while here a Christian temple has been built around a pillar. The pillar was the initial foundation of this church. The story of its construction is linked to that of the raising of the pillar, the latter symbolically embodying the Tree of Life. Historically, too, a cedar, which is a symbol of the tree of life, had grown at the site. The cedar was cut down and, by the prayers of St. Nino, the Angels raised it and the first church of St. Nino was constructed on the spot. Svetitskhoveii was built later at the same site. It is an allegorical church, similar to the house of the Lord built by Solomon. In what sense is the latter allegorical?

Two pillars were erected by Solomon in the temple, one embodying the tree of life and the other the tree of knowledge. Now, in Svetitskhov-eli we have a single pillar. The question may be asked as to the reason for this difference. It is because Solomon’s temple was connected with the Old Testament, i.e. esoteric Judaism, when the tree of life and the tree of knowledge were still separate, whereas the mission of Christian initiation is a harmonic merger of the tree of life and the tree of knowledge into an integral whole, hence the single pillar in Svetitskhoveli in contrast to the two of Solomon’s edifice. This also points to the unity of esoteric Judaism and esoteric Christianity. As is known, there was a Jewish community in Mtskheta that adopted Christianity at an early date, for they saw the unity between esoteric Judaism and Christianity.

One representative of the Mtskhetan Jews was present at the crucifixion of Christ. Our Lord’s tunic falling to him by lot, the man brought it to Mtskheta where it was buried under the pillar, together with his sister Sidonia. The lord’s tunic is a symbol of cosmic ether that envelops Christ, and the tree of life, which rises above the place where the tunic is buried, is connected with it. Merged in this tree of life is also the tree of knowledge which stood separate at the pre-Christian stage; here is given the ideal of the future – the mission of future Christianity. Other symbols of Svetitskhoveli also point to the extensive development of esoteric Christianity in Georgia Thus, on the southern wall of Svetitskhoveli we see St. George with a lion and a panther. Let us recall the struggle or the principal character of The Man in the Panther’s Skin with a lion and a panther. I should note at this point that in some Georgian bas-re-liefs, e.g. the Mravaldzali one, St. George is slaying a panther rather than a dragon. The panther is identified with the dragon slain by St. George, i.e. a symbol of the base instincts that are defeated by the human self in the process of initiation. This is what we perceive on the southern wall of Svetitskhoveli. On the political level this a symbol of fighting Georgia, of fighting Orthodox Christian Georgia that vanquishes political Islam – the panther or Turkey, and the lion or Iran. This basrelief is amenable to such an interpretation too. On the inner southern wall of Svetitskhoveli we find the depiction of an apocalyptic Judgment Day, featuring many symbols interesting from the esoteric point of view, including an image of a panther as an apocalyptic beast. In this fresco the beast is depicted as a spotted panther. In general, the panther in Rustaveli’s poem is spotted. Such esoteric symbols are numerous in Georgian churches, calling for a special study and interpretation. I shall merely observe that the motifs of the Grail are very frequent in Georgian frescoes. Such motifs occur in Gelati which, as is known, was an Orthodox Montsalvat, the seat of the culture of the Grail in Georgia – the Grail Christianity was blended with the Orthodox Church in Georgia.

In the West the exoteric or Catholic Church was separated from its esoteric counterpart, a Crusade being declared against the latter. In Georgia, however, the two formed a unity, on account of which David the Builder was called King-Priest John. What does King-Priest John mean and how should we define the period in the evolution of mankind that is linked to King-Priest John? In this connection we must recall Wolfram von Eschenbach’s poem Parziwal. King-Priest John is the son of Parzival’s half brother Feirefiz.

Now, Feirefiz means a “black-and-white son”. What is the significance of black-and-white? It is well known that in medieval chivalrous romances and poems the characters symbolically embody some path or idea, in other words these characters are personifications. Parzival, in particular, is the personification of the initiatory path of the West; he sets out in quest of the Grail and finds it. Feirefiz represents the integration of the Eastern and Western paths. That is why he is black-and-white, i.e. a blend of the white race with a darker one. He is black-and-white for the additional reason that in him Western Christian wisdom is blended with Arabic wisdom, as is the case with the Templars. The movement of the Templars was the Western path of initi-ation transferred to the East where it absorbed the oriental wisdom, namely Arabic-Persian, yielding a hybrid – the black-and-white Feirefiz, an embodiment of oriental Templar movement with its oriental coloring. Old Georgian chivalry was connected with this Templar order, primarily David the Builder, the Georgia of Queen Tamar’s epoch, and Shota Rustaveli. The Templar movement is not only a Western phenomenon, for we have evidence of the closest links between Georgian knights and the Templars. It was a movement that united Western and Eastern wisdom, Western and Eastern initiation. This is why King-Priest John is the son of the black-and-white half brother of Parzival. In the Chronicles of the Crusades King-Priest John is identified with David the Builder; however, this is not only a symbol of the person of David the Builder but in general a symbol of the totality of wisdom that was born in the West and later fused with oriental wisdom. The Tabronit or the Caucasian Uplands, mentioned in Wolfram von Eschenbach’s Parzival, is the offspring culture of this synthesized wisdom. As the poem is allegorical, Georgia is not referred to directly in it. Not a single historically known country or person is mentioned in Eschenbach’s poem; it contains only symbolic and allegorical names of countries and personages, the personifications of this or that movement or path of initiation being represented by various characters; thus Parzival’s father Gahmuret is a symbol of the stage when the movement of the Grail had not yet taken shape and the Grail Christianity had not appeared on the scene. Parzival is a symbol of the Grail movement itself, while Feirefiz – as already noted – is the symbol of the Grail or Templar movement transferred to the East; Eschenbach directly points to Tauronit or Georgia as the source of all this. Georgia’s pseudonym, as it were, in the work under discussion is Tauronit or Tabronit. This is because the word is related to Taurus or the culture of the bull; as you know, the culture of the Bull in the proto-Georgian or proto-Iberian world was the leading one while, cosmically, the period of the bull reigned.

Recall the Cretan-Minoan cult of the Bull, the cult of the Minotaur, the struggle with it, and so on. In this connection Eschenbach refers to it as the source of the culture of mysteries. It is to this Caucasian mountain range, this Tauronit, this fabulous land where King-Priest John reigns, that Eschenbach points to as the source of everything, viz. mysterious wisdom and mysterious culture. This is hinted at in Eschenbach’s Parzival which, as you know, is not easy to decipher and interpret. Researchers are confronted with a number of difficulties when trying to conjecture the intent of the ciphered proper names or geographical designations. But we are more or less able to draw conclusions, for the poet points particularly to the Caucasian mountains and a land adjacent to the Caucasus as the source of the mysterious culture and the abode of King-Priest John in whose realm is the seat of spiritual wisdom. Incidentally, the Crusaders referred to the land as spiritual India as well; this was because in the Middle Ages India was not only a geographical term but was often used in the spiritual sense too as the homeland of spiritual, mysterious culture. India is mentioned similarly in The Man in the Panther’s Skin, but without reference to geographical or historical India. The same is the reference to India in Nizami Ganjevi’s Iskander-namah, implying a world of mysteries. Hence the coincidences between the Georgian and Western cultures. Regrettably, history has not preserved much about the relationships between countries in the period under discussion, and whatever has survived still awaits study. Nevertheless, such creations as The Man in the Panther’s Skin, Odes, the chivalrous romances of the West, and Wolfram von Eschenbach’s Parzival, give indications of the intensive relations existing at the time between Georgia and the Western countries. Take, for instance, the striking kinship of The Man in the Panther’s Skin and Amiran-Darejaniani with the Western chivalrous romances, though the former have their own highly peculiar specificity. Here too is the mission of Georgian culture highlighted. The traditions of Oriental and Western literature are given in these works as a single whole. From the cultural viewpoint, Georgia’s mission is to synthesize the Western and Oriental cultures, presenting them as an integral whole. This is why The Man in the Panther’s Skin can be considered equally the possession both of Western and of Oriental literature. No division or separation is possible here. That is why, Pitareti – that major monument of Georgian archi-tecture – may be classified as an example of Christian architecture as well as that of Eastern architecture. Here elements of Western and East-em cultures always merged.

This is our vision of Georgia’s cultural mission. Unfortunately, many topics have remained outside of our discussion, for it is impossible to cover everything in one lecture. We shall probably have some more lec-tures and talks, and it is desirable to provide information about this to the West, for much there remains unknown about Georgian culture and Georgia’s spiritual path. Regrettably coverage hitherto has been given rather to the external aspects of our history and culture, and meetings like this should facilitate further mutual understanding and exchange of knowledge and information.

Q&A

If the audience wishes I can answer questions. This may render the discussion more interesting. I shall welcome questions around the topics of my talk. Today we shall devote our time to a discussion. of questions dealing only with the present theme.

Question: What is the difference between Georgian (Kartuli) and Kartvelian (Kartveluri)?

As I noted at the beginning, these two terms should be differentiated. To be sure, the difference between Georgian and Kartvelian is not es-sential, yet there is a difference in shade. Georgian refers to Georgia proper, to everything related to Georgia’s history and language – all that we know from our history and which is within this geographical area. Kartvelian is a much broader and comprehensive notion. Kartvelian are tribes that are not Karts, nor Kartvels (Georgians) proper, but of Kartvelian stock. This may be compared to the relationship of the Semites and Hebrews. Kartvelian is an ethnic conception, being more comprehensive than national. There is Georgian nationality, but Kartvelian people or ethnos, another name for which is Japhetic. It is rather these palaeo-Caucasian or Japhetic peoples that may be said to constitute the ethnos. As there exists a Semitic people, so is there a Japhetic one.

This Japhetic people is Kartvelian. The Kartvelian lan-guages stem precisely from this primary Japhetic language which we call proto-Georgian. The separation of the Kartve]ian languages from this Japhetic language is assumed to have occurred from the third millennium B.C., as we learn from the book of Gamkrelidze and Ivanov, as well as from Marr’s studies. I shall probably devote a separate lecture to the book just mentioned, but here I should like to note its clear tendency to belittle the role the proto-Georgian world played historically, and which has been dealt with in the studies of a number of scholars. All this is relegated to the background in the book in question, while Indo-European is given prominence. However, the positive side of the book is the dating of the disintegration of the proto-Georgian parent language into separate languages and dialects in the third millennium which, according to my own theory, is related to Ioane-Zosime’s Praise and Glorification of the Georgian Language, which stales that the Georgian people or the Georgian language (language in Ioane-Zosime’s work implies the people as well) “has been dead four days” and “one day totals one thousand years” The death of this language began four days or four thousand years ago, i.e. in the third millennium B.C. Ioane-Zosime uses “death” because the language had lost its old area of diffusion and significance.

This was followed by a Lazarus-like rising from the dead of these people and language, as Ioane-Zosime relates. In his work these people are compared symbolically to Lazarus. It may be said that here is implied not only Georgia but the entire Kartvelian ethnos; to this is related that proto-Georgian or proto-Iberian world which extended from the Iberian Peninsula to India, and – as hypothesized by N. Marr and H. Johnstone – there existed a primordial Basque-Caucasian-Dravidian language – older than the Hamitic parent Language, and the basis of all languages, this being a glottogonic or language-forming phenomenon; it was the primary language of the priests, and in general, the beginning of languages.

Such is Marr’s theory, for which Stalin rebuked him; Marr’s theory was anathematized because it gave an objective interpretation of the prehistoric period and the origin of the Georgian language. Our national movement too has some criticism to level against Marr. True, he did make anti-Georgian statements dictated by political considerations of the day, but his elucidation of the prehistoric period of development of the Georgian language and the Georgian people was very objective and profound. That is why he was denounced in Soviet scholarship under Stalin’s leadership.

Question: What is the role of the peoples of the Kartvelian stock in the development of Christianity?

The peoples of the Kartvelian stock play a major role in the development of Christianity. The Semitic peoples played the principal role in paving the way for Christianity in the period of the Old Testament, while in Christianity proper – in its development Kartvelian and Indo–European peoples play the main part. The ancient Greeks are related, as you know, to peoples of Indo-European origin. Ioane-Zosime’s Praise -and Glorification, tells us that the two sisters – Mary and Martha – may be compared to Nino and Queen Helen. Nino is a symbol of the Kartvelian people and of Georgian Christianity, whereas Helen is a sym-bol of Greek Christianity, the relationship of Mary to Nino being the same as that of Martha to Helen. As you know, Mary is a symbol of mystic contemplation – a symbol of mystic theology, or esoteric Chris-tianity, whereas Martha is a symbol of the intellectual, rational path – a symbol of dogmatic Christianity which developed rather in Greece; In other words, representatives of the Georgian ethnos in Christianity tend to follow the path of mysticism and esoteric theology. Take, for example, Dionysius the Areopagite, or Peter the Iberian, Saint Nicholas Thau-maturge, and Saint George himself – all are representatives of the Kartvelian ethnos. This is how Lazarus becomes linked, as a symbol, to the Georgian people. As we know, Lazarus is John not only in spiritual science, but a number of Western exegetes identify Lazarus with John. Incidentally, this identification is clearly seen in Georgian folklore too; there exists here a folk cult of Lazarus which is the god of rain, the same as Elijah; thus Georgian folklore identifies Elijah with Lazarus.

John-Lazarus is the symbol of the Georgian language, the Georgian people that must rise after this four-day death-like sleep. This is Ioane–Zosime’s message in his Praise and Glorification of the Georgian Lan-guage.

Question: What is, in your opinion, the relationship between Kartlos and Haos?

It should be said, inter alia, that Leonti Mroveli’s work, as well as others of the kind, reflect profound esoteric wisdom. He states that both Kartlos and Haos are descendants of Japheth, that they had one progenitor, and that the Japhetic people are the ancestors of Haos or the pri-mary ethnos from which the present-day Armenian nation stems.

The latter ethnos was very closely related to the primary Georgian ethnos, hence comes the story of the brotherhood of Haos and Kartlos. I do not think that we are here dealing with seniority, for this is a very ancient epoch, and it is extremely difficult to determine the period when the Armenian ethnos took shape as a separate nation. In this connection, the seventh-sixth centuries B.C. are named as the time of the advent of the Armens in Hayasa. This is the first country very closely related to the Colchian world; thus, it is well known from the specialist literature that Old Armenian or Grabar has preserved Laz and proto-Georgian roots, and that proto-Georgian played a major role in the development of this language. This is noted, e.g. by the well-known Armenian scholar C. Toumanoff. Hence Marr believed Armenian to be a semi-Japhetic and semi-Indo-European language because it contains elements of both. This gives rise to the idea of the ancient kinship and unity, as found in Leonti Mroveli.

Question What is the relationship of the Basque and Georgian worlds?

About Basque and Georgian I can say that Basque is – like Georgian – a proto-Iberian language, but they have been separated from each other for great periods of time and have been developing separately so long as to render the establishment of their genetic relationship difficult. This relationship is being established rather by means of place names, sepa-rate phrases, and forms, as well as by the cultural-historical comparative method. Today Basque and Georgian do not scorn to be genetically re-lated languages; however, this does not mean that the Basque and Geor-gian worlds did not form a single whole in antiquity. As I have said, this was one people, one race, and one language, but later Basque assumed such individuality that today scholars even find it hard to establish ge-netic relationship. There exists a different approach, based as I have said – on Humboldt’s well-known work on Basque. The work has not been translated into Georgian and, by the way, it is being boycotted; for definite reasons the study has always been ignored, but it is our task to have it translated into Georgian and circulated in the country, so that the Georgians might learn of their real origin. As you know, Western science has no greater authority than Humboldt; however, according to the latest studies of modern Kartvelologists (Jan Braun, and others), the view is gaining ground on Basque being a fourth Kartvelian language.

Question: What relation is there between Lazarus and the Georgian language?

In Ioane-Zosime the raising of Lazarus implies the raising of the Georgian nation, and not only of the Georgian people but of the entire Georgian ethnos in its distribution in the prehistoric period, i.e. to the time of Lazarus’ falling asleep, or the third millennium B.C., when this ethnos diminished, being decimated by the Indo-Europeans; it survived only in the Iberian peninsula, Asia Minor, and the Caucasus. The rais-ing will again revive this nation, when it will regain the position it held in the prehistoric period – a leading position, the position of mankind’s spiritual teacher. This is implied in Ioane-Zosime’s statement to the ef-fect that on the Judgment Day God will judge all the languages through this language. And this means that the Georgian people will be the chief bearer of spirituality, i.e., Christianity, and that it will judge the sinful humankind.

Question: What relation is there between Prometheus and Amirani?

Amirani must be a later name of Prometheus. We lack evidence to prove that in prehistoric times Prometheus was called Amirani. In Geor-gia, Amirani (‘Amir’) is related to the advent of Persian culture in Geor-gia. Amiran Darejanisdze (Amir andare jehan – “ruler of the country”) is a Persian term.

In general, the extant version of the folk legend on Amirani must be of later origin. The prehistoric myth of Amirani found reflection in the Georgian folk tradition, but the name is altered. The name Amirani is obviously of Persian provenance, and it does not seem to reflect the identity of this character. In the proto-historic period the hero must have had an older, proto-Georgian correspondence. Generally speaking, it was not only such personages that had proto-Georgian correspondences. Take, e.g. the derivation of the eponym “Kardu” of the Georgians. It is the name of the mountain that was called Kardu – the name of a Babylonian god. Mountains were given the names of gods, Kardu being the name of Ararat, called Nisir in the Sumerian period. Neither these place names nor characters bear old names any longer. And I am convinced, this hero referred to as Prometheus, was not called Amirani; the latter name must have been given to him in the Middle Ages.

Question: What could you say about the relationship of the Abkhazian and Georgian languages?

As you know Adyghe and other Caucasian languages are of Iberian – -Caucasian origin; there is a genetic relationship between those languages and Georgian, there also is a genetic relationship between the Karvelian languages too. The Abkhazians fail to understand this, hence this ethnic strife. Their origin is indeed Ibero-Caucasian, and had they knowledge of their descent they might have never started such conflicts with their kindred nation. In general, the peoples of the Northern Caucasus are genetically related, and so are heir languages. This has been thoroughly researched by our celebrated scholar Arnold Chikobava, and Iberian–Caucasian linguistics and Ibero-Caucasian peoples were his favourite terms. By the way, this means that Ibero-Caucasian is not exclusive in the Iberian world; there is, e.g. Iberian of the Pyrenees, and so on; thus, lberian-Caucasian is only one part of the Iberian world that comprises the North-Caucasian peoples too.

Question: In what relation is Mazdeanism to the Georgian spiritual world?

Historically, the Georgian nation has been in contact with many cul-tures and religions, and there are indications that at a definite period the Mazdeanic cult was practised here: the cult of the goddess Anahita, and many other cults. However, this was not leading or essential in our spiritual culture. Thus, it is still problematic whether the Armazian cul-ture was Zoroastrian, and whether it had anything in common with Zoroastrian culture and Mazdeanisrn. Nor has the kinship of Ahura Mazda and Armazi been demonstrated.

Question: What is anthroposophy?

Anthroposophy is a spiritual science in modern Europe – a science of the spirit, spread in Western countries. As I have said, it is a Christian movement, viz. Michael’s Christianity. I should note, however, that some people erroneously take anthroposophy for a religion. It is not a religion or confession but a cognitive trend. Hence the opposition – heard occa-sionally – of Orthodoxy to anthroposophy is wrong. This is the same as opposing Orthodoxy to a follower of Hegel. The point is that anthro-posophy has no confessional claims; it is a cognitive path.

True, in the West there does exist a religious community – its outgrowth; but Rudolf Steiner, the founder of anthroposophy, was not a creator of a new reli-gion or confession. He was a follower of Christ and Christianity, and the creator of a new cognitive form of Christianity. So there should not be a confusion of terms here. As I mentioned above, there are many branches of anthroposophic science: anthroposophic medicine, biology, pedagogy. In particular, anthroposophic medicine played an outstanding role here in the treatment of those poisoned on 9 April when these patients failed to respond to the treatment prescribed by traditional physicians and to drags, representatives of anthroposophic medicine arrived with remedies, developed in their school, which saved many persons.

I should like to add also that in one of his lectures R Steiner ranks the Orthodox cult much higher than its Catholic counterpart. I can cite the relevant passage from the lecture. In general, Steiner was closely connected with Orthodox philosophy, particularly with the philosophy of Vladimir Solovyov, considering him – an Orthodox philosopher – as one of his forerunners. In his cycle of lectures, read in 1922 and entitled. “Super-sensible Influences in the History of Mankind”, Steiner says: “In the Catholic church the cult and ritual are rather of the character of symbols to be viewed by the eye, whereas in the Eastern Orthodox church it is something that reaches the soul with the profoundest reverence”. Thus, he sharply differentiates these two cults from each other, himself tending rather to the Orthodox cult as being more conge-nial to him. This is seen also from the lectures he delivered at Oxford, in which he speaks of the profound esoterism in the Eastern Church, or the mysterious doctrine owned by the Church. As I noted earlier, in the East esoterism was not divorced from exoterism, whereas in the West it was, with attendant conflicts and persecution of exoterism – something never occurring in the Eastern Orthodox world.

Question. What is the origin of the Grail?

The etymology of the Grail stems from old Provencal, and probably, by its root from the Cappadocian term gratsal; and generally speaking, the Grail movement was also the creation of the Kartvelian ethnos. The Cappadocian ethnos, which was the same as Kartvelian or proto-Iberian ethnos, was the principal founder of the Grail movement. Titurel – the first owner of the Grail, was a Cappadocian by nationality, i. e. of Kartvelian origin.

The mention of the Cappadocians on Pentecost, the day of the descent of the Holy Spirit (Acts of the Apostles 2.10), is far from accidental. The Cappadocians were present at the descent of the Holy Spirit, and the mission of the Grail is that of the Holy Spirit – a symbol of the Mother of God; the owner of the Holy Spirit. The Grail is a bearer of the Holy Spirit and the Grail is one imbued with the grace of the Holy Spirit, The Grail movement or the Grail Christianity was created precisely by the Iberian peoples. It was created first in Cappado-cia, and later in Provence and Languedoc, populated largely by peoples of Iberian and Celt-Iberian race. The Celt-Iberians were the same Iberians by origin, with whom the Celts merged at a later period. The migration of the Celts began in the third century B.C., continuing later too. The Celtiberian ethnos took shape later, yet it was of Iberian origin. The Celtiberian people too were linked to Cappadocia, and it was from Cappadocia – this Meskhian or Moschian, and Zan land – that the Grail Christianity and movement came. Incidentally, in Kartli there is a village named Grakali. Inasmuch as the initial name of this bowl was ratsal, Grakali and ratsal are obviously related words, and this place must be connected with the Grail. I am deeply convinced of the reference to the Grail in Shavteli’s Odes, in which it is defined as “a bowl of graces, for the purification of the people”.

As you know, the Grail is a bowl; it is mentioned in Georgian folklore, namely in Connection with the campaign of Saint George hero of Georgian folklore – in Kajaveti together with Kopala and Iakhsar; from there St. George brings back a howl which, I am fully convinced, is the Grail. Thus, the descent of St. George into the nether world is connected with the bringing back of the Grail; in other words, this is a symbol of initiation. It is in this way that the Grail became linked to Georgian culture, folklore, and history. The principal motifs of the Gelati mural paintings are connected with the Grail. The child Jesus, held by the Gelati Virgin, bears an imprint of the Grail on his forehead, pointing to the closest link of the Grail with Georgian cul-ture. As for The Man In the Panther’s Skin, it may be said to be a poem of the Grail because the Grail’s symbols are synonyms treasure, precious stones and pearls, philosophers’ stone and a virgin, i.e. the rescu-ing of a virgin from captivity in the nether world is the same as retriev-ing the Grail. In this case, the maiden embodies the anima or the soul and the release of the anima from the dragon’s captivity is precisely the aim of initiation. This is given in The Man In the Panther’s Skin, for in it is depicted the path of heroic initiation. Allegorically, chivalry is in general related to initiation, being its institution; hence its principal aim was the descent into the nether world and the retrieval of the Grail, or the rescuing of the holy principle from the bondage of evil powers.

Question: How is it proved that the Pelasgians and the Sumerians were not Indo-Europeans?

This is proved by linguistic evidence. In the first place, the eminent Georgian scholar M. Tsereteli has demonstrated that the Sumerians were not Indo-Europeans, and that today only Kartvelian languages are related to Sumerian. The Indo-European languages are not related to these languages. As far the Pelasgians, Herodotus and other Greek histodans point out directly that they were Iberians.

Question: What relation was there between the Irish and Georgian Iberians?

The relationship of the Irish Iberians and the Georgian Iberians was very strong. In his work, Humboldt speaks of the migration of the Iberi-ans to Ireland, and Northern Europe. He clearly distinguishes them from the southern Iberians who were autochthons, whereas there took place a migration to the North – Ireland, Britain, and elsewhere, with the estab-lishment or Colonies. The Picts – the earliest population of Ireland de-scended from the Iberians.

Question: Who were the Albanians?

It appears from Kartlis Tskhovreba (“History of Georgia”) that the Caucasian Albanians too were Kartvelian tribes. They are the ‘Berda’ in Nizami Ganjevi’s works… By the way, it is not accidental that Nizami linked the image or Queen Tamar with Berda…

Question. Is there any link between Lazia and Lazarus?

It can only be hypothesized that the stems are related; Lazarus and Laz, lapis lazuli, denoting azure; azure and blue are the color of Ioane–Lazarus; in general all this may be in some relationship… The murals of Betania Church of Tamar’s time, dedicated to Lazarus, are done in blue colors, which cannot but have a profound esoteric meaning.

Question: What have the Hittites to do with Georgia?

There are place names related to the Hittites in Georgia. This means that the homeland of the Hittites was here. There were migrations of peoples, hence the numerous related place names. In general, the Hittiles were Indo-Europeans, not belonging to peoples of Kartvelian provenance.

Question: What can you tell us about Niko Marr and The Man in the Panther’s Skin?

Marr entertained very contradictory views on The Man in the Pan-ther’s Skin; and, in general, great men occasionally commit great errors. He erred with regard to The Man in the Panther’s Skin, but then he cor-rected his errors, and advanced highly significant views regarding the poem. Initially believing it to be a translated work, he intended to dis-cover the original in the British Museum; failing in this, he later changed his view. Most importantly, Marr was the first to demonstrate the exis-tence of an organic relationship between the world of The Man in the Panther’s Skin and that of the Western chivalrous romance – and in general Western courtly poetry. He also pointed out the similarity of The Man in the Panther’s Skin to the troubadours of Provence and other monuments of chivalrous culture in general. Giving a strong indication of this, Marr left behind a highly valuable study entitled: The Cut of Woman in the Man in the Panther’s Skin. As for the idea of Rustaveli having been a Muslim, for some time Marr did entertain it, but this was because he failed to explain Rustaveli’s supra-religious occumenism. Rustaveli unites, as it were, all cults and religions in his poem. Generally speaking, The Man in the Panther’s Skin is a syncretic work – not eclectic, that is bringing different elements together without connection, but syncretic, giving various elements in unity. The poem in question is a synthesis of Classical and Christian wisdom, a synthesis of esoteric wisdom; a new synthesis of the paths of Classical and Christian initiation is presented in the language of a new literary mythos. That is why many researchers perceived separate doctrines or confessions in it, which subsequently failed to be substantiated. Today the view prevails which holds that it is a Christian work and the author was a Christian – a Christian in a broad sense who occumenically unites the achievement of different religions in his Weitanschauung.

Thus, the poem contains astrological and astrosophical ideas, ideas of Classical mysteries, a quatrain on the “sunny night”, and so on. All this suggests that Rustaveli had a profound knowledge of the ancient culture of mysteries, synthesizing it in his work. Initially, Marr failed to see this. He considered Rustaveli a Muslim because the Koran figures in the poem, and the characters swear their oaths on the Koran. But this was because the action of the poem was conventionally transferred to the Oriental, Muslim world, where no other book than the Koran could be mentioned. However, Avtandil’s prayer is Christian, although he seems to pray in a mosque. Similarly, in their actions and character the personages are Christians representatives of the Christian world. ‘Arab’ and ‘Indian’ do not refer to nationality in the poem, the usage being symbolic. The countries in The Man in the Panther’s Skin do not constitute geographical or historical reality. Here we are dealing with allegorical geography and history.

Source: http://rustaveli.tripod.com/mission.html

იანვარი 17, 2011

Zviad Gamsakhurdia – The Spiritual Ideals of the Gelati Academy

A Lecture delivered at the L. Meskhishvili Drama Theater in Kutaisi , 20 May 1990


Dear friends, even in extreme political turmoil, our ancestors were not oblivious of science, poetry, knowledge. Even in times of war they cared for the development of spiritual culture. This was Georgian history. To excuse ourselves today from a similar concern by reference to our being engaged in political struggle, with no spare time for science and culture, would indeed amount to a betrayal of our historical traditions.

I wish to illustrate this by the example of the person to whom I am dedicating this lecture and whose service to the Georgian state and nation is incalculable. What is most important, he was himself a paragon of all this, setting up from his capital city, Kutaisi, the great spiritual center of Gelati. The person I refer to should today serve as an example for us, for he combined the struggle with Georgia’s foes and the building of the Georgian state with an extensive religious, philosophical, and scholarly activity that is truly astonishing. The man I am speaking of is David the Builder. We have no other example in our history of a king and commander-in-chief being such an outstandingly erudite scholar, as well as a poet arid creator of spiritual culture. And our ideal today too should be such activity. Our great kings followed this tradition not only when Georgia was felicitous, free and powerful but in the dark periods of her history as well. Take the king-poet Vakhtang VI, who was a scholar, commenting on and publishing The Knight in the Panther’s Skin. In other words, even in times of extreme historical adversity the interest in scholarship and spiritual culture never cooled down. Neither should we forget this today, when Georgia is swept by the national-liberation movement.. Let us recall how David the Builder during his campaigns, mounted on his horse, carried with him books by Gregory of Nazianzus, Gregory of Nyssa, the writings of philosophers, and – fully armed – read them in his ambush, holding his bow in one hand and a pen in the other A case is on record when the enemy all but overrun his hideout and the king slew one of them on the spot.

The situation is almost the same today, when we have to struggle for the freedom of Georgia and revival of her statehood. During this time we must not be oblivious of religion, culture, philosophy, science and scholarship. Only in this way we can be victorious and preserve the image the nation had from prehistoric through historical times. As you know, Colchis was a seat of ancient culture and wisdom. Hellenic culture may be said to have been a superstructure built on Colchian culture, the for-mer arising front the latter. This is seen clearly from the myth of the Argonauts. What is the Golden Fleece? It is a symbol of ancient, mysterious wisdom that had been preserved only in Colchis at the time. Cold is a symbol of the highest spirituality and purity, while the ram is also a symbol of supreme purity of thought, reasoning and culture, and the Golden Fleece is to be found in the country which possesses this wisdom. It is suspended from an oak, the latter being an embodiment of an ancient cult which started in Colchis and then spread worldwide, Greece included. As you know, the cult of the oak occurs in Europe too, and later in Greece. However, it began from Colchis, and the first oak – the first didi chqoni, i.e. “Great Oak” (the designation of the institution of Chqondideli being related to it) was that ancient Colchian oak on which the Golden Fleece was hung and for the acquisition of which the greatest Greek hero Jason had to undergo many stages of. self-development and purification. He did all this in order to acquire the wisdom symbolically embodied in the Golden Fleece. The sages of ancient Greece expressed their purport symbolically or allegorically, never conveying their wisdom directly. Thus, the great oak, the Golden Fleece, and the trials the Greek hero Jason underwent in order to acquire the Golden Fleece are all symbolic. What did he find in Colchis? He found a world of ancient wisdom, prehistoric wisdom – it may be said – the earliest wisdom of mankind. At that time, all this had been lost in Greece, for the country was then at a much lower cultural and developmental level than Colchis. But the fact that Jason was introduced to Colchian mystery, that he was put through certain tests by being confronted with warriors, the dragon and fire-breathing oxen – all this shows that ancient Colchians nurtured Greece, i.e. Hellenic culture.

But the Colchians were only a pad of a large group of other Kartvelian peoples, for at that early time the Georgian ethnos was lo-cated not only in the Caucasus but extended from the Pyrenees to India; this ancient Kartvelian or Iberian race had several distinct branches. These were the world of the Pyrenees, the Mediterranean world, the Minoan world, the Trojan world and Pelasgian world, the last two constituting the primordial population of Hellas or modern Greece.

This was the population found by the Vedic Greeks arriving in Hellas, the culture of the indigenous population being higher than that of the newly arrived Greeks, as expressed in. the myth of Prometheus. Prometheus symbolically embodies the wisdom of the ancient Kartvelian or Pelasgian tribes, which formed a single world, a part of which was Colchis. That is to say, Colchis was not the only seal of this culture: it was a culture – let me re-peal – diffused from the Pyrenees to the Mediterranean and Aegean worlds, and to Asia Minor where later we find the Cappadocian and Meskhian or Moschian tribes mentioned in the Bible.

The alchemists were the ancient sages of the Caucasus, the priests of the mysteries. Guardians of mysterious wisdom, the alchemists brought the practice of that wisdom into the Middle Ages. Alchemy involved the obtaining not only of physical gold but of spiritual gold as well. It had the ideal of the golden stone. This philosophers’ stone was the same Golden Fleece, sought in that pagan period by Greek sages and medieval alchemists.- Hermetic alchemists. (It was called the Hermetic way be-cause it stemmed from the wisdom of Hermes Trisgemistus, a legendary author.) The Caucasus was called “the mountain of philosophers” where – in their symbolic language – was located the ore of heavenly faith or the Golden Fleece. In other words, in the Middle Ages the Caucasus was considered a land of heavenly wisdom, for it possessed the ore of heavenly faith. The ore – symbolically, of course – indicated this wisdom, that is to say, the wisdom of ancient Colchian mysteries, or the wisdom of the Golden Fleece. The expedition of the Greeks against Troy – that proto-Kartvelian, proto-Georgian, or Colchian world – had the objective of carrying away the wisdom that the Greeks lacked. This wisdom being symbolically embodied in the Palladium or a statue of Pallas Athena, which was preserved only in Troy, and not to be found in Greece. This is how Georgia, the Georgian world, and the ancient Colchian world were represented in Classical mythos arid poems. As you know, in his wanderings Odysseus comes to visit Circe, the sister of Aeetes, and the son of Circe and Odysseus was Latinus the progenitor of the Latins or Romans. Symbolically, this means that the Latins and Romans too are of semi-Georgian descent, for the Colchian Circe – the aunt of Medea and sister of Acetes – was the mother of Litmus the eponym of the Latins.

Consider too Theseus’ visit to the kingdom of Minos in Crete. He slew the monster Minotaur confined in tie labyrinth; and then escaped from the labyrinth with the help of the thread given to him by Ariadne. As is known, Minas was Aeetes’ brother in law: Aeetes’ sister Pasiphae was the wife of Minos – a situation that suggests the very close relationship of the various cultures of that period. The ancient Minoan culture, dating from the third millennium B.C., is of the same age as Colchian. The determination of the age of Kutaisi, the seat of Colchian culture, at approximately 3000 years (some mention 2500) is a puerile mistake. Although it is not possible to determine the precise age of Kutaisi, it surely is a much older city and is, in my view, at least 4000 or 5,000 years old. The first name of Kutaisi, as you well know was Aea. The name is symbolic of the culture of mysteries, for the sounds of the word expressed ancient mysteries. In ancient mysteries a sound combination called Aeo expressed definite wisdom and the character of mysteries. Aea was an ancient seat of mysteries or centers of wisdom. The origin of Colchis and its capital should be sought many millennia earlier, whereas the creation of the myth of the Golden Fleece may be said to date from a much later pe-riod, when that wisdom was on the decline and that culture was no longer at its highest level. Of course, it was even then at a much higher level than that of the contemporary Greek culture. In other words, these Colchian mysteries and the city of Aea were already on the wane when Aea was visited by Jason. The two stems – Cut and Aea merged, forming the name Cutaia. Thus, the ancient Colchian capital city appears to have been on this spot.

As you know; the location of Phasis is a subject of much controversy in scholarship. Today it is not possible to. establish its exact location be-cause of the change of the sea. However, archaeological excavations permit us to determine its location near Vani – in the vicinity of Nokalakevi, Vani and Kutaisi. This area was the center of the ancient Colchian culture, and Phasis seems to have been located in this zone rather than near the present-day coastline. This later Phasis was in a different location than the ancient, prehistoric Phasis, the change in lo-cation being the result of the change in the coastline. Authors of the first and second centuries, of course, speak of the Phasis that was situated in the vicinity of modern Poti. An ancient city site has been discovered at the bottom of lake Paliastomi, but the earliest Phasis was approximately to the right of the present railway; the sea must have been to the left of the railway, while land started on its right side. It was in this area that Phasis and other Colchian settlements, the centers of the ancient culture, began. This was the situation in the prehistoric period. As I have noted, the tradition of locating Phasis here continued into the Middle Ages. It was known in the ancient world that Colchis was the land of the Golden Fleece and ancient mysteries, the country of King Aeetes and Medea. She was tile founder of the first mysterious science that served as the basis of medicine. (The word medicine is related to Medea ) Of course, at that time medicine was at the level of treatment with herbs, a treat-ment that had attained its peak precisely here in Colchis.

It was here that the Argonauts found the herb – ‘blood of Prometheus’ – with which Medea treated the sick; here was the garden or Hecate, the most ancient garden of medicinal plants into which Mdea led the Argonauts and in which she introduced them to the knowledge of the medicinal wisdom that existed in Colchis. And it was precisely from here that this ancient medicinal wisdom spread throughout the world, in the same way as the culture of metallurgy diffused from Colchis arid the Tubals, Kartvelian tribes of Asia Minor, the tradition continuing into the Middle Ages. Thus, just as in the early world there was knowledge of Colchis being the homeland of the primary rnysterious wisdom, so too ii the Middle Ages the Caucasus, as noted above, was called the Mountain of Philosophers- the repository of the ore of heavenly faith and the home-land of the philosophers’ stone or Mons philosophorum.

In the Christian movement in Europe, this philosophers’ stone was otherwise called the Grail, the two words being semantically identical. Traditionally the Grail is the sacred cup used by the Savior at the Last Supper. The cup had wine in it and taking the cup, He addressed his disciples: “Drink front it, all of you. For this is my Blood, the blood of the covenant, shed for many for the forgiveness of sins” (Matthew. 26:28) Then, according to one tradition, when he raised the cup for his disciples to see, it was not an ordinary cup but one of precious jasper. After the. crucifixion of Christ, his secret disciple, Joseph of Arimathaea, indeed filled that cup with the Saviour’s blood. Present at the crucifixion were not only the other disciples and the women-anointers, but also Joseph, referred to in the Gospel as the secret disciple of the Savior. In Georgian frescoes and icons Joseph of Arimathaea is depicted with a cup in his hand (this motif is frequent in our chased art as well), filling it with the Savior’s blood. Subsequently, according to tradition, Joseph of Arirnathaea took the cup to Ireland. Later, in medieval Europe, this cup was traditionally in possession of European knights – the knights of the Round Table and those of the Grail. Following the start of the Crusades, European knights. arriving to Jerusalem, absorbed the Eastern wisdom and thus, these two knowledge – European-Christian and Eastern – had merged.. Approaching the Caucasus as well, the Crusaders established close contacts with David the Builder’s Georgia. It was through this relationship that these two wisdom fused: Georgian arid European. It was in the Caucasus, the Mountain of Philosophers, the seat of the ore of heavenly faith, that the two movements merged, as recorded in the Chronicles of the Crusaders and in the work of the twelfth-century German poet Wolfram von Eschenbach.

The Grail, used by the Savior at the Last Supper, was brought to Georgia in the reign of David the Builder, as we learn from Von Eschenbach’s poem, in which David the Builder is referred to as King-Priest John. Wolfram von Esehenbach’s Parzival is a work in which events are described symbolically, with no real names of countries given. Instead of direct reference to countries, we have legendary or mythical lands figuring in the poem. Georgia is, of course, not mentioned directly, but it is suggested as a country adjoining the Caucasus Range. Here is the beginning of spiritual wisdom, the beginning of everything that later developed in Europe and in the world at large. It is also indicated in the poem that it is here that the Grail is – this highest symbol of Christianity – in this country over which King-Priest John reigns combining king and priest in his person.What does the combination of king and priest mean? Let us recall David the Builder holding a church in his hand in the Gelati fresco: Why is he holding a church in his hand? Because he was an equally great statesman as he was a church-man; he was an equally great king as he was a theologian. Although we have no official evidence of his ecclesiastical rank (this seems to have been kept secret), that he had such rank is intimated in the Crusaders’ Chronicles, where he is called King-Priest John. In those days there existed a tradition of secret priesthood and monkhood. Kings often became monks in secret, assuming confidential names. David the Builder appears to have had such a name, for the Crusaders unanimously refer to him as John and King-Priest John. The implication is that he was both a mainstay of religion and of the state and the political life of Georgia, combining these two principles in himself.

But David the Builder had a preceptor- a leading personality – so to speak, father of the king and of the state. That was the Bishop of Chqondidi. Why was his name given to the institution uniting ecclesiastical and political power, the institution that was actually the supreme authority in the Georgia of the period? To be sure the king was an absolute monarch, but the Chqondideli was the symbol of supreme authority, hence the saying at the Court that the Chqondideli was the king’s father, and the same appellation is used in reference to him by the historian of David the Builder. This much we know from history, and that is why in Christian Georgia this institution was given the name Chqondidi, i.e. the name of the cult of the ‘great oak’ (chqoni meaning ‘oak’) and didi (‘great’), This was because in ancient Georgia – that is Colchi’s – the worship of this great oak had survived, while in the Christian period the name was given to an eparchy. The name ‘Chqondideli’ was preserved to express the traditional unity existing between the wisdom of the pagan period and that of the Christian era. This unity might have been given the name of Martvili or some other Christian name, but Chqondideli was retained. Priority was given to this name, I believe, to indicate the importance of David the Builder’s role in the coming together of the two wisdom. It does not indicate the superiority of pagan wisdom. But it does indicate the key role David the Builder personally played in the merger. He is depicted in the Gelati fresco upholding a church. No other king was accorded this honor, as a glance at the royal images in frescoes will show You cannot find a single other Georgian king holding a church in his hand, because we have had no other king who combined in his person Church and secular wisdom. And it was at Gelati that this merger took place – the merging of the ancient wisdom given in the myth of the Golden Fleece and the history of Colchis with biblical and Christian wisdom.

I linked this lecture to Gelati to let the residents of Kutaisi know what city they are living in and what place Gelati is. I can state with full re-sponsibility that the world has not had a similar center of medieval wis-dom and education, and this is recognized not only by Georgian scholars but by foreigners as well. I shall read to you the unprecedented view of the greatest modern Russian scholar, Academician Losev, on Gelati and Georgian Neoplatonism. This aged man visited Gelati, at which time I met him for a talk, and he later published an article in a Georgian journal. I want to introduce you to it, but, before I do, let me tell you that there was nowhere in Europe a cultural seat like Gelati, not even in Byzantium. There was at that time in Europe the Platonic Academy in Chartres which was comparable to Gelati, but neither that Academy nor any other seat of culture in that epoch could boast of a philosopher of the calibre of Ioane Petritsi. Here is what David the Builder’s historian has to say:

“In that place he assembled men of upright life adorned with every virtue,. not only those who could be found in his own kingdom: whenever he heard about someone of special piety and goodness, with perfection and abundance of spiritual and bodily virtues, in any part of the world, he sought that person out, made extensive inquires and had him brought to that place and allowed him to settle there… They were assured of a living free from want. Indeed. there is now a second Jerusalem of all the East for learning of all that is of value, for the teaching of knowledge – a second Athens, far excelling the first in divine law.” (Kartlis Tskhovreba, vol. 1, pp. 33O-331)

In short, Gelati was the kind of religious and spiritual center that Jerusalem was in Christian culture, and, in addition, it was a seat of Classical Greek wisdom, similar to the Greek capital Athens but far ex-celling it because the pagan wisdom was enriched by the wisdom of Christianity. In other words Gelati was Athens at Christian level.

What was taught at Gelati and wherein lay the greatness of this cul-tural centre? As you know, mediaeval – particularly Western – Christian-ity obscured everything that was humanistic, being opposed to whatever was thought to be worldly; only the divine side was pushed to the fore, while humanistic wisdom was relegated to the background. Classical wis-dom was generally declared unlawful, though the great Christian Fa-thers, e.g. Basil the Great, insisted on the study of Classical wisdom, saying that wisdom that could help in the salvation of the soul could be gleaned from ancient books too. Justin the philosopher, the first Chris-tian Father, said that Socrates and Plato were the same servants of Logos or Christ as were the Fathers. However, since these early Greek philosophers lived in the pagan period, they had only a partial opportu-nity to serve Logos. Justin’s view was opposed by the Byzantine Church, but at the time of the emergence of Gelati, this opposition had already been overcome in Byzantium and the interest in ancient Greek wisdom or philosophy was so great that the dogmatic representatives of the Church were unable to suppress it. But although the study of Classical philosophy had commenced in Byzantine theological academies, the level of such study at Gelati was much higher than in Byzantium and Europe, for the whole or Classical Greek wisdom was taught here, as seen in Petritsi’s works.

And it was not only ancient Greek wisdom that was revived here but also Chaldean, Egyptian, and that of all the other cultural seats of the ancient world. The philosophers at Gelati integrated all this organically into Christianity and the Bible. For them biblical wisdom was insepara-ble from ancient Greek wisdom. This is why this “new Athens far excelled the first”, as stated by David the Builder’s historian.

Now I shall quote Academician Losev’s words on Gelati.

“Georgian Neoplatonism is anthropocentric. Here man is the basis of everything, but there is a great difference between Georgian Neoplatonism and German Neoplatonism – between Eastern and Western Neoplatonism. The Neoplatonism followed by the representatives of the Georgian Renaissance* – Ioane Petritsi and Rustaveli – is anthropocentric. However, it is an anthropocentrism that does not abolish respect for nature – the nature worshipped by the ancients, particularly. the stars and their regular revolution. This anthropocentrism does not destroy nature, as was the case in the West, nature became enriched by man coming to it with his subjective needs and by turning into personality desirous of sensing and reshaping everything. Individual studies of Neoplatonism had been carried out but none with such a deep insight into this philosophical teaching.”.(*and, by the way. Losev shares Acad. Shalva Nutsubidze’s views that the Renaissance commenced in Georgia much earlier than in Europe – at the end of the eleventh century instead of, as in Europe, the end of the 13th century)

I shall now speak at length about the disciplines taught at Gelati Academy and about why we can assert that this seat of wisdom and scholarship was unique in the medieval world. Here the seven liberal arts consisting of trivium and quadrivium, were taught, just as they were in the rest of the medieval world, including Byzantium and Western Europe. Ieurope. The trivium consisted of grammar, rhetoric, and logic; the quadrivium – of arithmetic, music, geometry, and astronomy. These branches of knowledge were taught at Gelati at a level unsurpassed any-where else. This was due to the fact that the great and wise king David the Builder brought together the greatest scholars and sages of the time and appointed Ioane Petritsi – that luminary of world philosophy and science – as their teacher. Incidentally, when Acad. Losev visited Tbilisi in my conversation with him I expressed my great admiration and re-spect for the Russian philosopher Solovyov. He was a great nineteenth century Orthodox Christian philosopher and theologian, unequaled in his day. Losev smiled and said: Why do you talk about him when you have Petritsi in your background? I was fully conscious of Petritsi’ greatness but refrained from comment out of politeness. It was Losev who took the initiative, saying that the day before he had visited the Academy at Gelati where he had knelt and prayed (incidentally, he was a profoundly religious man) to the reverend Father Ioane to intercede for -him. He had come to Gelati specifically to pray to the soul of Ioane Petritsi and to see the place where that great man had flourished. By the way, the publication in Russian of Proclus’ Elements with Petritsi’ commentaries is credited to Acad. Losev. Unfortunately, the translation is not without flaws, but this can be remedied. It should be said, however, that study of Petritsi has barely commenced, for he can be likened to a great sphinx into whose world we have so far gained but little insight. Regrettably, at this time we have not yet determined the purport of some of Petritsi’s terms or statements, and not yet risen to his level of thinking.

The seven liberal arts were taught here then as they were in other schools at that time. But in the Academy an emphasis was given to the human personality and its faculties that was quite unlike the practice elsewhere. Medieval scholastic Christianity typically focused only or God and was oblivious to the human personality. In a sense, medieval Scholasticism tended toward Monophysitism. But interest in God alone is not full Christianity; since complete Christianity calls for the union of God and man, for our Savior Jesus Christ was not only God but God and man. Both sides are essential to Christian wisdom and both were give due attention in Gelati. This approach results in genuine, Dyophysitism a way of thinking that considers the divine and human as an harmonious whole.

The emphasis given at this academy to the human personality is testified to by the presence of the great Rustaveli – as great, it may be said, as Petritsi. The human .personality is central to Rustaveli. In fact, in that the emphasis on the human personality and human wisdom is the essence of the Renaissance, one can argue that the Renaissance began precisely here with Rustaveli and Petritsi, and developed in Europe only later.

Not only were the seven liberal arts taught, under the direction of Petrilsi, in the context of harmonic study of God and man but another element was added: a study of the universe. Just as the cognition of God and man are indivisible, so are these inseparable from a cognition of the universe. A study of the universe, which, as you know, really be-gan in Europe only in the 16th – 17th centuries, flourished at Gelati in the 12th century. Petritsi’s works exhibit a high level of study of the uni-verse and of the stars. Petritsi also speaks of the wisdom of the Chaldeans and of Abraham, which was stellar wisdom. Setting the Gelati Academy the task of studying this wisdom, he states that Chaldean wis-dom does not contradict the Bible, for the Bible – especially in the Psalms – refers to celestial bodies that are endowed with reason and soul, and that the “sun recognized its time of setting”, and that if it rec-ognized the time of its setting it would not lack knowledge of its rise. In other words, the sun and the stars are intelligent beings. This does not contradict Christian, biblical wisdom. Petritsi quotes from the Psalms: “The heavens tell out the glory of God” (19) against those who believed (apparently for certain dogmatic reasons) that astrology or stellar wis-dom was unacceptable and should be rejected. To be sure, astrology was unacceptable to Christianity, but astrosophy or stellar wisdom was legalized in Georgia and Christianity did not oppose it. Father Ioane was not only a philosopher and teacher but also a preceptor, ecclesiastic, and a dogmatic Christian, in the best sense of the term. Dogmatism should not be taken inevitably as something negative. There can be a narrow dogmatism, but respect for dogma is not a negative phenomenon, and Petritsi’s dogmatism was certainly not negative. He used it in his role as teacher, to reconcile human and divine wisdom, calling at the same time for the study of the Classical world and its mythology and wisdom in or-der to integrate mankind’s wisdom. Here are several passages from Petritsi’s works that illustrate his willingness to use in his studies all as-pects of human and divine knowledge. In one of his commentaries Petritsi speaks of ancient Greek, or Orphic, mysteries. The word Orphic is derived from the name Orpheus. And who is Orpheus? He is an ancient Greek hero closely related to ancient Colchis, that is, to ancient Georgia or the Kartvelian world.

But before I say more about Orpheus and his role in Petritsi’s inte-gration of all parts of human knowledge, let me point out a fact that the scholarly community is not well aware of: – that the ancient Greek culture, mythology, and mysteries presumably derived from the proto-Greek or Pelasgian world was in reality a product of the Kartvelian world. The gods of the ancient Greek pantheon were the same as the gods of Kartvelian or Pelasgian provenance, and all ancient Greek heroes are related to prehistoric Georgia. Heracles was connected with prehistoric. Iberia; he goes to the Pyrenees to bring back the apples from the garden of the Hesperides, this being the symbol of supreme wisdom. Theseus goes to the selfsame Kartvelian world – that of Minos in Crete – in order to gain possession of that wisdom in the form of the labyrinth. Jason and other Greek heroes come to Colchis to gain this wisdom.

Now Orpheus is another Greek hero closely associated with ancient Colchis, also called Egros. The father of Orpheus is referred to as Egros or Egri. Orpheus’ purpose was to revive that ancient Pelasgian or proto–Georgian wisdom, to convey it to Greece and to integrate it with the more primitive Greek culture. Hence this great artist of antiquity appealed to Petritsi who advocated the merger of Orphic and Christian wisdom. Petritsi used ‘my Orpheus’ in reference to the Apostle Paul. At that time such a reference was shocking because of the condemnation of everything pagan by the Church. However, such great ecclesiastics as Petritsi managed to revive Classical, pagan wisdom and adapt it to Christianity, in the same way as they sought to adapt the pagan philoso-phy of Neoplatonism to Christianity and to give it a Christian interpre-tation. In speaking of the benefit to Christians of praying for example, Petrilsi associates Orpheus with Christ: “Now let us speak of this spiri-tual organ (i.e. prayer), for from it stems the Orphic book and the good conveyed in it, coming from the super-powerful (mind) as it were”. In other words, Petritsi stresses the great good to be found in Orpheus’ book.

Let me give you another example of Petritsi’s practice of relating the Classical, pagan world to Christianity. In considering the Divine Spirit’s choice of Iese’s son David to be the creator of the Psalter, Petritsi writes “And in this man and king he excited the musical power of his strings so as to adorn the path of souls to the father of souls in this book”. Then he goes on to mention the “supreme wisdom” of Abraham and the Chaldeans. Finally, says he, the Apostle Paul, the preceptor of our Church, preached “the Divine wisdom hidden in mystery – the wisdom ordained by God from the beginning for our eternal glory, and which none of the rulers of the world had perceived.” . In other words, according to Paul, this wisdom existed from the beginning of the world, but it was hidden. Far front rejecting this wisdom, one should revive it. This original wisdom is found riot only in the Old Testament but Classical pagan wisdom, Orphism, the teaching of the Chaldeans, Platonism, and Neoplatonism. Paul, says Petrilsi, “illumines these intelligent towers with a single light.” We can also add that the Gelati Academy, and preeminently the person of Petritsi, shed great light upon the wisdom of the ancients and performed a great service in uniting it with Christian wisdom.

Now, how does Petritsi use the names and characters of Classical mythos? As noted above, his purpose was to create wisdom about man, and this wisdom is presented not in the dry terms employed in modern science, i.e. in figures and formulae, but in mythological names or corre-spondences. Petritsi points out the need for the disciplines taught to prove the existence of God and of the Trinity. In those times geometry was not studied in the same way as we study it today, – dryly, by for-mulae and drawings. For Petritsi the purpose of geometry was to prove the existence of God. How did geometry achieve this? Petritsi cites the example of the sphere which has three elements: center, radius and circumference. The center is God the Father, the radius is the Son, and the circle is the Holy Spirit. In actuality, this entire sphere is a unity of this Trinitv. That is why it is said that the Tnnity is one, of single essence, even though it has three elements. The Trinity is not three Gods but one, appearing in different modes or hypostases. Thus does geometry prove the existence of the Trinity, for space does not exist without a center, nor does the extension of a point exist without a radius; neither does space exist without the volume of this sphere. Trinity is that which is given in the relationship of the center, radius, and circle. This suggests that the world has a beginning, that this beginning is threefold, and that the Trinity is the basis of the world. Were the ma-terialist and atheist assertion true, there would exist neither the center, nor the radius, or the sphere, arid all would be nothingness.

How was arithmetic taught in Gelati? Not by dry addition and sub-traction, Are the first three figures the basis of all other numbers? Imagine a figure, a possible figure in the world, that does not involve one, two, and three. Is not one the basis of everything, and two derived from it? From two is derived three, and from three are derived all the numbers. That is to say, the entire universe of numbers is derived from these three elements, one, two, and three. In the same way are all things derived from the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. The Trinity here is one, two, and three, as the basis of all numbers or of the world. Today’s sci-ence – physics and mathematics – has arrived at the conclusion that only numbers are real in the world, that the entire constellation – the planets and galaxies – can be expressed numerically. Everything has its number, every atom has its number, the whole composition of matter, of the uni-verse is a number, and the only reality is number. Everything else may disappear – matter, the universe, the galaxy – but number will never dis-appear; it cannot disappear because number is eternal. The first three numbers are the eternal principle, and this is the Trinity. The arithmeti-cal or mathematical exposition of the Trinity and its role in the creation of the universe is the basis of Petritsian arithmetic.

How was music taught at Gelati Academy? Petritsi mentions three voices: “mzakh”, “zhir” and “bam”. “Zhir” is an ancient Colchian root denoting two or the second voice. In old Georgian the second voice in music was called zhir. The first voice mzakh, and the third bam or ban. Can there be a music without three voices or parts? These three voices form the ba-sis of all music. Thus, what is in geometry the point, radius and circle, or in arithmetic the numbers 1, 2, and 3, is in music the three voices or parts: rnzakh, zhir, and bam, this serving to prove that the Trinity is the basis of music too. Thus, these three sciences suggest the existence of God.

Further, Petritsi tells us how grammar relates to the existence of God. Incidentally, grammar was not taught then as it is today, i.e. as a series of grammatical laws and rules. Its study dealt with the depth of the word – its primary meaning or essence. Grammar embraced everything that can be related to word and speech, the Divine word being the primary basis of everything. Every word – like every number – has its basis or primary word. All words were born of the first word, and it was this first word that emerges, according to the Gospel of St. John, as Christ, the Word, God, ‘”When all things began, the Word already was. The Word dwelt with God, and what God was, the Word was” (John, 1.1-2). It was this that Grammar argued.

What did philosophy or dialectic seek to prove? Again and again the existence of God. What was the ultimate purpose of rhetoric? To demonstrate the exis-tence of Cod and to arouse in man the divine principle and spark. And finally, the most important branch of learning – astronomy. Its purpose was not the creation of a dry mathematical study but of a spiri-tual one. It was actually not astronomy but astrosophy. You all re-member that in The Knight in the Panther’s Skin Rustaveli addresses the heavenly bodies as living beings, that in his letters Avtandil (hero of this poem) speaks to the planets as alive creatures or souls that must help him on the road of life. He addresses the sun as the supreme luminary – however, it is not the sun visible to the eye but the spiritual sun, i.e. Christ who is the creator of the world and the beginning of everything. This was the kind of astronomy that was taught in Gelati in that period. Through the exis-tence of the planets it demonstrated the existence of God, arguing that this vast intelligent world or cosmos cannot be irrational and devoid of a guide; it must have a rational basis, and be ruled by intelligence. This was the purpose of the study of astronomy in Gelati.

Much more could be said about the wisdom that flourished in Gelati and, as I have said, this had no precedent. Neither did the world at that time have a monarch to match David the Builder in education, knowledge and erudition. The fact that he combined in himself two supreme authorities – ecclesiastical and secular – also makes him stand out from other rulers. In Western Europe of his time we find monarchs who were barely literate. The single exception was the English King Alfred the Great, who alone is at all comparable to David the Builder. Alfred too was a scholar and translator, but as a thinker, philosopher and commentator of Scripture he was certainly not on a par with David.

All this was reflected, as I have said, in the Chronicles of the Cru-sades and in Western romances of the period, in which works David the Builder is referred to as King-Priest John. The bringing of the Grail to Georgia is a fact and I assume Gelati must have been where it was brought to rest, When the scaffoldings are removed after this current renovation is completed, you may go up and see that each mural ensemble is connected with that cup. The archangels hold the cup; the apostles hold the cup, and all the motifs seem connected with this cup. Christ, held by the Mother of God, has a cup drawn on his forehead. This is precisely the Grail; it is a representation of the cup which was doubtless brought here, as indicated in Western romances and the Chronicles of the Crusades. The presence of the cup here points to Gelati as the principal center of Christian culture in the Middle Ages. It was a major seat of Church and secular education. Let me repeat that Church and secular were not separated, so that here one received both secular and theological knowledge – as a harmonious whole. This is what I wished to tell you about Gelati.

Source: http://rustaveli.tripod.com/ideals.html

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