St. Elijah Church

Mount Elijah is erected to the south of Dedoplistskaro city.

On the South-East slope of Mount Elijah, at the height of about 50 meters from the bottom, there is a triangular wide and high natural grotto with a built-up frontal face. Archaeological excavations confirmed that an ancient chapel entirely placed within a natural cave was located here in about the 6th century and was related to the activities of the Assyrian Fathers. It seems that this chapel was destroyed during the invasion of Mongols in the 13th century. It was restored in the 16th century, during the reign of King Alexander II, when the economic situation of the Kingdom of Kakheti became improved, but it was ruined again in 16161, in the period of the devastation of Kakheti. St. Elijah chapel was restored for the third time in the late 18th century, during the reign of Erekle II.

Written sources about St. Elijah chapel were provided by Alexandre Dumas in his book “Caucasus” which was dedicated to the voyage of the writer to the Caucasus in 1858. He wrote: “One more mountain named Mount Elijah surrounded by a salty lake is erected at the distance of six versts from Queen Tamar Fortress (Khornabuji is implied). A chapel is built in a wide cave cut in the middle of the mountain and it is frequently visited by the residents. According to a legend, a raven used to bring food to this cave for Prophet Elijah. St.Elijah left his cloak to his disciple – Elise and ascended to heaven from the peak of the mountain”.

There was an active chapel here in the 19th century but after entry of the Soviet Army, it was ruined again by the influence of natural factors and the present St. Elijah Church was built on the ruins of the chapel only in the 21st century. A convent is also located on Mount Elijah.

Since the old times, during the drought, the locals as tillers of land used to ask the St. Prophet Elijah give them rain. Every year on the 2nd August which is the commemoration day of  St. Prophet Elijah’s  a lot of people gather, spend a night and pray on Mount Elijah.

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