The renovation of the 11th century Bagrati Cathedral ( ბაგრატი; ბაგრატის ტაძარი, or Bagratis tadzari) has been controversial, as the government’s renovation plan was rejected by UNESCO. UNESCO had classified the ruins as a World Heritage site. That being said, UNESCO officials have little regard for whether a religious site can be restored to its intended use, and a temple has a functional role as well as an aesthetic one. It needs to keep the rain off the heads of the worshippers, and a cathedral without a roof lacks this utility.
The Cathedral of the Dormition of the Ghvtismshobeli (as its formal title is) was commissioned in 1003 by King Bagrat III, the first King of a united Georgia. Prior to his reign, Georgia had been divided into two or more Kingdoms, typically divided East-West. Destroyed by the Ottoman troops in 1692, the cathedral has been in ruins ever since. The Diocese of Kutaisi and Gaenati now has a magnificent cathedral at its seat for the use of the people. As most temples in Georgia are overflowing on Sunday mornings, and extremely crowded on feast days, the new capacity will be very welcome.
Reconstructed Bagrati Cathedral opens in Kutaisi
President Mikheil Saakashvili called on all political forces of Georgia for consolidation and thanked all those who participated in restoration of Bagrati temple in his speech made in the yard of Bagrati temple of Kutaisi in Imereti region today.
“I want to thank all who participated in this grand construction – all workers, all constructors and all engineers. I want especially to thank Catholicos-Patriarch of All Georgia Ilia ll, whose blessing played a decisive role in this great job. However, today’s main hero is King Bagrati, who built the temple. He laid the foundation of the unity, which is vitally important for our national existence and success”, Saakashvili said, noting Georgia was always going forward when it was united.
He said, he is happy to represent the generation which restored the Bagrati temple.
“Restoration of a church is a greatest merit for any Georgian. I am happy to have a chance to make my modest contribution into the restoration. I am happy to represent the generation which restored the Bagrati temple”, Saakashvili said