Reverend Shio: The main problem of the Gelati Cathedral is the severe, damaged condition of the wall paintings. We have invited world-renowned specialists who will arrive in Georgia on July 10

The main problem of the Gelati Cathedral is the severe, damaged condition of the wall paintings. We have invited world-renowned specialists who will arrive in Georgia on July 10. They will scientifically study the current situation and give us the first recommendations on what kind of conservation approaches we should use, said the regent Metropolitan of Senaki and Chkhorotsku Shio (Mujiri) during his speech at the presentation of the rehabilitation process of Gelati.

According to Reverend Shio, UNESCO's main and unchanging recommendation is to immediately put the entire Gelati under a protective temporary roof, which should play one of the decisive roles in saving the wall paintings.

"Your Excellency, Mr. Prime Minister, reverends, representatives of the diplomatic corps, honorable fathers, ladies and gentlemen, our dear scientists,

Welcome and thank you for coming.

Today we would like to introduce you to the situation related to the rehabilitation of the Gelati monastery complex, the works performed by the Patriarchate of Georgia at the initial stage (in this direction), as well as our future vision and plans.

As you know, due to the complexity of the problem, with the blessing of the Catholicos-Patriarch Ilia II, the state and the church jointly developed a unique format of cooperation, within the framework of which the Georgian Patriarchate, together with the state, will lead the rehabilitation process of Gelati, with the personal assistance and engagement of the Prime Minister of Georgia, Mr. Irakli Gharibashvili.

For this purpose, on April 6 of this year, an agreement was signed between the Patriarchate of Georgia and the National Agency for the Protection of Cultural Heritage of Georgia," noted Reverend Shio.

On behalf of the Catholicos-Patriarch Ilia II, Reverend Shio thanked the Prime Minister for his attentiveness on the issue of saving Gelati.

"One of the main tasks for us was to fulfill the recommendations given by the World Heritage Center - UNESCO, for which, during these incomplete two months, the following works necessary for the initial stage were performed by the Patriarchate:

1. According to UNESCO's recommendation, the Patriarchate of Georgia founded the temporary committee for the rehabilitation of Gelati. In order to perform the conservation works with a high scientific standard, international and local scientific councils were created in the structure of the committee.

We invited world-renowned foreign specialists to the international advisory board, and the local scientific board was staffed with Georgian scientists working in the field of cultural heritage.

2. The main and unchangeable recommendation of UNESCO is to immediately put Gelati under a protective temporary roof, which should play one of the decisive roles in saving the wall paintings. To implement this, we negotiated with the German company "Layer", which is currently the leader in the world in performing similar works. The mentioned company has already started working on the temporary roofing project, and at their request, we selected a qualified architect-engineer to cooperate with them.

3. You know that the main problem of the Gelati Cathedral is the severe, damaged condition of the wall painting. We have invited world-renowned specialists - Mr. Steven Rickerby and Ms. Lisa Shekede - who will arrive in Georgia on July 10. They will scientifically study the current situation and give us the first recommendations on what kind of conservation approaches we should act on.

4. Also, according to the request of the World Heritage Center - UNESCO, by our local, highly qualified specialists, graphic schemes and accurate description-documentation of the chambers and sails of the northern, southern and western arms of the Gelati temple were created. This process will be carried out both on the entire temple space and on the painting of St. George's Cathedral.

5. To fulfill another UNESCO recommendation, a safe-inventory scaffolding was arranged in the eastern wing, which will allow specialists to view and scientifically study the unique mosaic of the apse of the sanctuary, which, according to the initial assessment, clearly needs conservation approaches. This type of safe scaffolding ensures the work of specialists in the apse of the sanctuary for a long time.

6. In addition to the above, the Patriarchate of Georgia has successfully concluded negotiations with the world-renowned organization - "Studio Projectione e Control". This company is invited to perform structural, seismic and structural survey and works of Gelati. The director of the company - Mr. Alessandro Bozzetti and the main specialist - Mr. Cristiano Russo will arrive in Gelati on June 1. It should be noted that this company is currently carrying out structural research and strengthening works of the Roman Coliseum," Reverend Shio said.

According to him, the process of restoration of Gelati will be transparent and information about ongoing works will be provided to the public through media and internet platform.

"The Gelati monastery complex is especially precious to every citizen of Georgia. Both in terms of its spiritual significance and cultural heritage, it is a completely outstanding monument for our nation.

It is a meeting place of spirituality and science and a symbol of the strength of the Georgian state. Gelati is a great expression of the unity of the state and the church, which was both the way and the will of our great king, Saint David the Builder.

It is gratifying that even today, in our modern era, we see the manifestation of such a connection between the state and the church, which cares for the survival of the spiritual and cultural heritage of our nation.

Thank you again for coming.

May God bless all the helpers and participants of this work!" Reverend Shio said.

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