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Four-headed Kurashi returns to Svaneti after restoration

The restored 12th century manuscript - Oldest Kurashi's four heads returned to the village of Eceri community of Mestia municipality.

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Georgia: The restored 12th century manuscript – Oldest Kurashi’s four heads returned to the village of Eceri community of Mestia municipality.

The Gospel of St. George’s Cathedral in Kurashi, accompanied by the Old Svanish Chant performed by the ensemble “Riho” of Mestia Municipality, accompanied by the Saint George’s Church, with the Guardians of Holiness, representatives of the community, Metropolitan Ilarion of Mestia and Upper Svaneti, Speaker of the Parliament of Georgia Shalva Papuashvili, Minister of Culture and Sports of Georgia Thea Tsulukiani, PA of Georgia Parliament members Sozar Subari, Viktor Japaridze and Guram Macharashvili, Deputy Minister of Justice of Georgia Buba Lomuashvili, Mayor of Mestia Municipality Kapiton Zhorzholiani, Deputy Commissioner of State in Samegrelo-Upper Svaneti area Nino Vibliani, Head of the National Archives of Georgia Teona Iashvili, Head of National Archives Document Restoration Laboratory Tamila Apakidze and residents of various villages in Svaneti.

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Minister of Culture and Sports of Georgia Thea Tsulukiani thanked the local community, the management of the National Archives, and the staff for their hard work.

According to the Act of Acceptance and Pass signed between the representatives of the Etseri Community and the National Archive, whose signatories, together with the Ministry of Justice, are the representatives of the village, municipality, and Svaneti, as well as Tea Tsulukiani, Sozar Subari, and Viktor Japaridze, four members of the Ministry of Justice’s National Archive of Georgia were undergoing restoration for 18 months. This is the second case of restoring the most crucial text of Christian culture.

For the first time in Georgia’s history, the restoration of Lakhamuli’s 12th-century quadruple was carried out from 2020 to 2021.

The Kurashi gospel, which is the subject of the greatest persecution and care of the people of Svaneti, was never left by the saint until 2022. St. George’s Church, but the manuscript needed a complete renovation. After successful negotiations between the parties, with trust and a common goal, the four of Kurashi were moved to Tbilisi in October 2022.

All necessary restoration procedures were carried out in the capital so that Svaneti could keep it dignified again in Georgia.

The most crucial literary monument of Georgian culture is the Palymphsestian manuscript of the XII-XIII centuries, which includes the editorial of Giorgi Mtatsmindelisi with small differences and there are Anderdz-inscriptions.

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Before restoration, it was half dismantled and had no cover. The cover was damaged, and the pages had fallen out of the block, damaged and torn. They had brown spots, oily surfaces, and mushroom spikes.

The restorers disinfected each sheet of the four heads, cleaning them dry and wet. Dust, dirt, candle ash, and dirt were removed. Each cracked and deformed sheet became smooth and straightened. The damaged edges were filled with artificial parchment.

In the past, the book was broken several times, so the order of pages was broken.

The text of the manuscript was neatly tidy. The pages were numbered and re-routed, a new cover was made, and a new leather cover was put in.

The technological process of the restoration was carried out in full compliance with international standards, which resulted in an improved quality of protection of the unique monument. A custom box was made to store handwriting.

FYI: The restoration of Lakhamuli’s unique manuscript, which was transferred to the National Archives on May 26, 2020, was ongoing for 18 months. Employees of the Laboratory of Restoration and Microfilming of the National Archive of Georgia were working. Etrat sheets have been restored, and 22 copies of different content have been submitted.

Sheets were softened, soil debris and candle scraps removed, sanded the old-fashioned way, and placed in a leather cover. During the restoration, the icon of St. George, who returned to Lakhamulla with the Gospel and cover, was found under the old cedar cover of the Gospel.

In 2021, the return of the renovated four-headed Laxamuli to Svaneti and the solemn ordination to the St. George’s Cathedral was symbolically connected with a special day – November 23, the St. George holiday.

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