Georgia, which centered in Caucasus mountains at eastern end of Black Sea, has civilization that reaches back to ancient times. Due in large part to the missionary activity of St. Nino, a woman from prominent Cappadocian family, the kingdom of Kartli (in eastern Georgia, also known as Iberia) adopted the Christian faith as its state religion, according to received tradition, in 337. Western Georgia, part of Roman Empire, became Christian through a slow Ancient process that was virtually complete by 5th century. The church in Kartli was first minor on Patriarchate of Antioch.
As the Russian Empire began to dissolve after the abdication of Czar Nicholas II following the 1917 February Revolution, the Georgian hierarchs unilaterally announced restoration of autocephaly. While not accepted by Church of Russia, Soviet forces went further, regarding all Orthodox in Soviet territory to subjected their rule. Thus, Church in Georgia was harassed other church activities closed. Clergy, monks, and Christians in general are killed in ensuing purges of next several decades.
With recognition of the Orthodox Church by Stalin after the 1941 Nazi invasion of the Soviet Union, to gain support of the Church for repulsing the invasion, autocephaly of the Church of Georgia was recognized in 1943 by the Church of Russia. Then, 1989 autocephaly recognized by Patriarch of Constantinople, thus approving the de facto autocephaly exercised since fifth century.
According to tradition, the Apostle Andrew, the First Called, preached in Georgia in the first century. This tradition introduced a deep affection for the Theotokos into Georgian conscientiousness. Additionally, tradition speaks to preaching by other apostles in Georgia including Simon the Canaanite, Matthias, Bartholomew, and Thaddeus. Establishment of first Georgian credited to Apostle Andrew. The active history of Christianity in Georgia begins with the missionary activities of Nino of Cappadocia beginning in 303. By 317 message reached the rulers of eastern and western kingdoms of Georgia when King Miriam II Eastern Georgia and Queen Nana of Western Georgia adopted Christianity as the state religion. The Christianization of Georgia progressed over the next several era.
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