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Christ the Savior Cathedral of Tsalenjikha – is situated in Samegrelo, in the municipality of Tsalenjikha, near the city Tsalejikha. This is the X-XIII century tombstone. Before the temple, there had been a fortress. We can suppose so, according to the fundament of the building. The episcopacy here was prescribed in the middle of 1639-1650, with the initiative of Levan II. The first bishop from Tsalenjika is thought to be Mitrophane, the metropolitan of Alaverdi. Queen Ketevan, who was killed in Iran with torture, in 1624, carried away the icon of the Virgin Mary. Mitrophane was the one, who saved this image, dangerously escaped with it from Persia, and migrated to Levan Dadiani.
Briefly, after his death, in 1678, Abkhazian people raided through the monasteries o Zugdidi, Taishi, and Khobi, and, unfortunately, robbed the Tsalenjikha Monastery as well. This church later was renovated with the effort of someone, named George, with his wide- Tatua. He also sacrificed his own servants and his whole family estate. He also arranged here the table-tombs for his generations. On the West side isle of the Christ the Savior Cathedral of Tsalenjikha, one can also discover the burial vaults of Levan II Dadiani and his wife- Nestan Daredzani.
One of the most interesting things about this chapel is the art of creating copies of books. In good times, there were working for public good such great calligraphers and penmen, like Aphakidze, Manuchar Kvabulia, Kandel-confessor, Efemidze Melkisedec, priest-copyist Gabriel Bokuchava. During the period of Communists ruling the world, for seven decennials, the church, unfortunately, was closed. In 1988, the church was still retrieved and after this, is having divine services.
Tsalenjikha Complex consists of the temple, bell-tower, and tunnel. The construction of Christ the Savior Cathedral is cross-vaulted, which, from the east is completed with the halfway circular body of the bulge. It is firmly standing on the three-stepped footstall. On both sides of the body, there are bedecked chambers. This chamber is connected to the main space with semicircular arches. The cathedral is built with well-carved-out stones, which, afterward, was plastered. The dome of it is tetrahedral.
The transition from the square, which is under the dome, to the circle is possible with Archits. The church has three different bypasses. Some of them, the north and the south ones, are redesigned as the Dadiani Ancestral Mausoleum. In the center of the Mausoleum, there are thee vaulted fan-windows, and on the sideway outbuildings, there are one by one fenestra. In each facet of the cupola, there are brought down very narrow windows. The facade of the chapel is simple, there are no endorsements neither on the doors nor on the windows. The interior is fully painted. The history of covering the temple with drawings is described in detail on the superscription on the two, huge pillars.
At first, the chapel was painted by Kir Manuel Evienico, in the XIV century. Thereafter, it was refreshed by Evdemon Dzhaian. The ossuaries were painted in the XVI-XIX century. On the altar, there is the fresco of the Virgin Mary, on the left and right sides, there are depictions of Saint Peter, Michael Archangel, Saint Pavle, and Gabriel Archangel. Above them, there is located the scene of Rising of Lord. Bellow, there are the portraits of the fathers of this cathedral. Under the fenestella of the altar, there is a picture of the infant Jesus. Between the windows, there are arranged the icons of John the Baptist and other saints as well.
On the west wall, your eyes will capture the Dormition of the Virgin Mary, also, the archangel with scrolls in his hands. On the west side of the north wall, there are many historical frescoes, (for example, of the minister of the court and interior affairs in old Georgia- Vamek Dadiani, his wife- Marekh, and son, George). The church was surrounded by the stone-carved fence, which, unluckily, destroyed time after time. In the XIX century, on the ruins of the ring-wall, there was built a very vain stone wall. On the north-west of the wall, there was immured two-storied belfry. Outside the belfry, there are remained traces and relicts of Dadiani Castel and other buildings. To the west of the cathedral, there are preserved 40-45 meters long and 3-4 meters height tunnel.
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