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Lomisa Shrine - The oldest shrine, Church of St. George, a monument of Georgian architecture, is located in the Mtskheta-Mtianeti region, Dusheti Municipality, in historical Mtiuleti, on the pass of River Ksani and River Argvi, 6 kilometers to the south of the village Lower Mleta.
Georgian architecture monument of St. George of Mleta belongs to the IX-X centuries. The complex includes the following buildings - a church, a bell tower and crypts. The plan of the building is a simple three-aisled basilica (14.5X7.8 m). It is built of rubble stone. The roofing chamber leans on a support arch raised on pilasters. There are niches in the longitudinal walls. Remains of various buildings are preserved around the temple.
To the south of the church stands a two-story bell tower of late medieval stone buildings. Currently, only the northern half of it is survived (both of the first floor towers and part of the second floor outer towers). The piers on the second floor are relatively narrow, with one similar pier placed between them. The first floor of the bell tower was covered with a low arch. The shape of the roof of the second floor is not determined.
Lomisa was a pre-Christian deity in Mtiuleti. According to the tradition, the name is associated with the lioness. Later, this cult was associated with the deity of the moon. This is evidenced by the fact that cult images of bulls (horns) often have the appearance of a new moon. According to legends and rituals, Lomisa deity was the hunter and the rider.
After the Christianization of the mountain, a Christian church was built on the site of the Temple of the Moon. The signs of a pagan cult got associated with St. Contacted George. He is a warrior, a rider of Christ. At the same time, the bull is known to be one of its symbols. Lomisa was the first shrine of the population of Mtiuleti and Ksani valleys. Many economic, political and military issues were resolved here.
Lomisoba - The Lomisoba celebration was held on Wednesday of the 7th week of Easter (and is still held). On this day, worshipers from all over eastern Georgia gathered in Mleta. The deacons were carrying out the flag and singing the song "Ferkhisa" while bringing the flag to the mountain, where the festival was held with a sacrifice. In the form of a Lomisa, they worshiped the leading cross, which was attached to the handle and had solar symbols - balls attached to the four ends.
There is one beautiful legend about the icon of Lomisa St. George. In the 13th century, a terrible ordeal befell our homeland. An army of Khorezmians, commanded by Jalal-ad-Din, invaded the country twice. The enemy then raided the Aragvi ravine and captured 7000 Aragveli. The captives took the icon of St. George of Gzovani, the main holiness of Mtiuleti. According to legend, this powerful icon has "wrapped" the Khorezmians : The earth has no longer born fruit, people and cattle have become barren... In a word, the country was on the verge of extinction.
The beheaded Sultan summoned the augurs. They reported that the cause of the accident was the icon of Gurjistan. The Sultan ordered to burn it. The icon was thrown into a hole, but it flew unharmed from there and landed on the horn of a white bull. The bull and the icon were not driven from the place until the Sultan released all the captives. Still, one lame woman was missing, who was taken to Khorasan as a maid. The woman was found immediately and the icon-driven ox, accompanied by 7,000 Georgians, departed for home. On the way, wherever the bull rested, people built the niches. The icon was finally established on Mount Mleta, where the shrine is now. People begged it for childbearing, the light of the eye, and so on.
No one knows where the miraculous icon of Lomisa is now. According to the locals, in time of fear, the deacons hid it and in return, they made a silver icon similar to it. They could not find the hidden icon anymore. The copy is now in the church of Mleta.
The second legend is about the door of the shrine of Lomisa. This door is made of oak and has iron cladding. There is the following story about it: Once the king's army stopped on the mountain. The hungry warriors could not find firewood to cook the dish, by the order of the commander they took away the door of Lomisa, chopped it, and set it on fire. After dinner, everyone became blind. The commander begged Lomisa for returning the eyesight, instead, he would hang the iron door on the temple. The army restored the eyesight and the commander hanged this door as a sign of gratitude.
A large iron chain with a collar is still preserved in the temple. Whoever has made a vow or wants to make a vow, or begs a saint for something, puts this chain around his neck and goes around the temple three times in prayer. According to one folklore, a greatly sinful Dadiani woman brought Lomisa chain with her neck from the bar. Based on another version, St. George miraculously freed one georgian captive, who as a sign of gratitude, the chain he carried on his neck in captivity, brought to Mount Lomisa.
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