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Shio-Mgvime Monastery

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Shio-Mgvime Monastery

The Shio-Mgvime monastery is a medieval monastic complex in Georgia, not far from the town of Mtskheta. It is situated in a narrow camstone canyon on the northern bank of the river Mtkvari, about 30 km from Tbilisi, Georgia’s capital.

According to a historic tradition, the first monastic commune at this site was founded by the 6th-century monk Shio, one of the Thirteen Assyrian Fathers who came to Georgia as Christian missionaries. St. Shio is said to have spent last several years as a hermit in a deep cave near Mtskheta afterwards named Shiomghvime after him. The ancient building – the Monastery of St. John the Baptist – a cruciate church, very simple and strict in its design, actually dates to that time, c. 560s-580s, and the caves bended by monks are still visible around the monastery and along the road leading to the complex. The church has an octagonal dome covered with a conic floor and once housed a masterfully ornate stone iconostasis which is now on display at the Art Museum of Georgia in Tbilisi. The monastery was partly changed in the 11th and 18th centuries, but has largely preserved its original architecture.

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