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Diocese of Mtskheta and Tbilisi

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The '''Diocese of Mtskheta and Tbilisi''' is the united [[see]] of the [[Catholicos]]-[[Patriarch ]] of the [[Church of Georgia]]. Mtskheta and Tbilisi were originally separate [[diocese]]s. The episcopacies of the two dioceses [[diocese]]s were first united after the union in 1811 of the Church of Georgia with the [[Church of Russia]] as the seat of the [[Exarch]] of Georgia. Although separated initially following the All-Russian Sobor of 1917, the dioceses were again united in 1920 after the Church of Georgia regained [[autocephaly]].
Christianity came to Georgia in the early fourth century through the missionary work of [[Nino of Cappadocia]] and was proclaimed the official religion of Eastern Georgia by St. King Mirian of Iberia (remembered [[October 1]]). At the time, the churches in Georgia were part of the [[Church of Antioch|Apostolic See of Antioch]] with a [[diocese]] established at Mtskheta. Mtskheta became recognized as the spiritual center of Christian Georgia, being recorded in Georgian and foreign manuscripts as the "Apostolic Church of Mtskheta", the "Throne of Mtskheta", and "Patriarchate of Mtskheta". Thus, the [[bishop ]] of Mtskheta became recognized as the Primate of the Church of Georgia.
[[Image:Sveti.jpg|thumb|left|[[Svetitskhoveli Cathedral (Mtskheta, Georgia)|Svetitskhoveli Cathedral]] (Mtskheta) Under this column is buried the Holy Vesture of our Lord]]In 466, the Church of Georgia was granted [[autocephaly ]] by the Patriarch of Antioch, who also elevated the bishop of Mtskheta to the honor of [[Catholicos]] of Kastli with a full title of ''Archbishop of Mtskheta and Catholicos of Kartli'' (East Georgia). His [[cathedra]] was in Mtskheta with two cathedrals—[[Svetitskhoveli Cathedral (Mtskheta, Georgia)|Svetitskhoveli]] and Samtavro.
During the reign of St. King [[Vakhtang I Gorgasali of Iberia|Vakhtang]] (commemorated [[November 30]]) twelve dioceses were founded in Kartli, and the Church of Georgia was also recognized as autocephalous by the [[Church of Constantinople|Constantinople]]. During the fourth and fifth centuries the capital of Georgia was Mtskheta; Tbilisi was only a castle. After death of King Vakhtang, his successor, Dachi began building a city at Tbilisi. The first church built in Tbilisi was Sioni which later became the cathedral of the bishop of Tbilisi.
[[Image:Sameba.jpg|thumb|right|Newly built Sameba (Holy Trinity) Cathedral in Tbilisi, at Elia Hill (1995-2004)]]

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