Some Aspects of The Georgian Presence in The Holy Land
Jerusalem is the holy city for three religions, Judaism, Christianity and Islam. Its history is very interesting from many points of view. It is also very important that for many centuries there lived different communities of Christians: Eastern Orthodox, Oriental Orthodox, Catholics, that means the Greeks, the Arameans, the Georgians, the Armenians, the Ethiopians, as for the Roman Catholics, the Franciscans were responsible for the shrines in the Holy Land, the tradition, which is strong also nowadays. A number of studies have been dedicated to the relations among all these Christian communities, as well as to their contact with the Moslem governors after the Islamic conquest of Jerusalem. Presently we carry out a research project concerning the Georgian monastic community and cloisters from the 11th to the 18th century according mainly to Greek, Arabic (the Firmans) and Western sources, among them largely to the Italian narrative sources, descriptions of the Holy Land. The project is funded by Rustaveli Foundation in Georgia. For the present paper we have chosen Description of the Holy Land by the Venetian pilgrim Barbone Morosini (XVI c.) and some Firmans from the Mamluk period, as well as Voyage in the Holy Land and Lebanon by the 17th century Venetian pilgrim Giovanni Benedetti. We analyzed these sources about the Holy Cross Church and the relations between the Georgians and the Moslem governors until the Ottoman conquest of Jerusalem. Barbone Morosini’s work is especially interesting, as it is the last description of the Holy Land just on the eve of the establishment of the Ottoman rule there.
Keywords- Holy Land, Georgia, Venetian pilgrims