FROM THE HISTORY OF NIKHOZI
The article examines the political and socio-economic history of the two villages Kvemo and Zemo Nikozi near the occupation line in Shida Kartli, in particular, population dynamics, ethnic and religious composition, village antiquities, fortifications, material and spiritual monuments, lapidary inscriptions and epitaphs. Nikozi's relationship with the Monastery of the Cross in Jerusalem.
Nikozi is one of the oldest villages in Georgia. The temple of the deity was built here by Vakhtang Gorgasali as early as the 5th century and also established an episcopate. Razhden the First Martyr was buried here. There is a legend that in the temple of the deity of Nikozi there lies a cross of the righteous (length 4 inches), which was sent as a gift to Vakhtang Gorgasali by the Patriarch of Jerusalem. The cross-bearing box also had an inscription stating that it had been brought from Jerusalem. According to the inscription, chasse was rebuilt King Tamar's daughter Rusudan (made a silver nest for the cross). According to the same legend, the cross was kept in the temple until 1791 and was lost in 1799 during the reign of Atanase Nikozeli. For this, Atanase of Nikozi was removed by Giorgi XII from the Nicozi church and exiled him to the Udabno (Monastery). After the death of Giorgi XII, David Batonishvili restored Atanase as Bishop of Nikozi.
The Diocese of Nikozi had a very close relationship with the Monastery of the Cross in Jerusalem. According to documentary sources, the Bishops of Nicosia also presided over the Monastery of the Cross. During the second half of the XV century, the relationship of the Diocese of Nikozi with the Monastery of the Cross in Jerusalem became even more active after the appointment of Bishop Daniel of Nikozi as “Jvaris Mama” (Father of the Cross). “Agapi” (funeral repast) was established in the Jvari Monastery in the name of Daniel Nikozeli.
In the first half of the 18th century, the father of the Monastery of the Cross was still the Bishop of Nikozi. David Nikozeli headed the Monastery of the Cross in 1761-1773. He was a famous person of his time and is mentioned in many documents.
The merit of the Pavlenishvilis’ towards the Church of the Deity of Nikozi is very important. The representatives of the mentioned family settled in Nikozi in the form of Tmogvel-Ujarmel-Pavlenishvili from the 16th century and called the temple of the deity their inheritance and tomb. In the second half of the 16th century, the Pavlenishvili family living in Nikozi had two important ecclesiastical figures: Epiphanius and Barnabas Pavlenishvili, who for some time headed the Holy Cross Monastery in Jerusalem. The relationship of the Diocese of Nicosia with the Monastery of the Cross in Jerusalem became even more active in the following centuries.
In the second half of the 18th century, the father of the Monastery of the Cross was again Bishop David of Nikozi, who was very active.
Nikozi was the native village of the Catholicos-Patriarch of Georgia Kirion II Sadzaglishvili. Thus, his wife and young son are buried in St. Giorgi's Church, after which he was ordained a monk and began a religious life. Kirion cared a lot for the fate of his native village; in 1887 he was one of the initiators of the restoration of the temple of the deity, which is also indicated by the inscription made on the north wall of the temple.
Keywords: Antiquities of Zemo and Kvemo Nikozi, lapidary inscriptions, epitaphs, population, Pavelishvilis’, Daniel Nikozeli, Father of the Cross (Jvaris Mama), relationship with the Jerusalem Monastery of the Cross.