CATHOLICISM IN GEORGIA AT THE INITIAL STAGE OF RUSSIAN RULE (FIRST HALF OF THE XIX CENTURY)

Abstract

From the 60s of the 17th century, members of the Capuchin Catholic Order came to Georgia periodically. At the end of the 18th century, with the support of the kings of Kartli-Kakheti (eastern Georgia) - Irakli II (1762-1798), George XII (1798-1800) and the king of Ime­reti (western Geor­gia) Solomon II (1789-1810), was given them a good arena for the propa­ganda and dissemination of Catholicism. The Catholic mission in the Akhaltsikhe region (sou­thern Georgia), which was under the influence of the Ottoman Empire, was in an unfavorable situation.


The establishment of Russia in eastern Georgia deprived the missionaries of the oppor­tu­nity to freely spread their faith. Back in 1722, the Russian Emperor Peter the Great issued an order considering the conversion from Orthodoxy to another religion illegal. The Russian autho­rities considered missionaries to be spies of Euro­pean countries and controlled their every step.


Governor-General of Caucasus P. Tsitsyanov (1802-1806) sought to subjugate European Catholic missionaries to Russian clerical rule. Indeed, new Catholic churches were solemnly opened in Tbilisi and Gori in 1807 and 1819, but at the same time, the number of missionaries in Georgia decreased. As for the Georgian Catholics of southern Georgia, one part of them, because of the great study of the Armenians (they were in a privileged position in both the Ottoman and Russian empires), had already been Armenianized, while the other part was facing the same danger, which was directly or indirectly facilitated by Shahkuliani (Chilimuzashvili), a Georgian, who was seeking episcopacy.


In 1845, due to the unacceptability of certain conditions, the Russian authorities expelled the Catholic missionaries from Georgia. However, as a result of centuries of missionary work in Ge­orgia, one (perhaps not so important) part of the population (including Georgian Ortho­dox), for reli­gious, political, economic, or other reasons, converted to the Catholic faith and, like others, pla­yed a certain role in the socio-political or socio-economic life of a polyethnic and polycon­fessional country.


Keywords: Catholicism, Erekle II, Georgia, Russian Rule, Rome, Shahkuliani, Arme­nianization.

Published
2021-12-23
How to Cite
SURGULADZE, KAKHABER et al. CATHOLICISM IN GEORGIA AT THE INITIAL STAGE OF RUSSIAN RULE (FIRST HALF OF THE XIX CENTURY). HISTORY, ARCHAEOLOGY, ETHNOLOGY, [S.l.], n. VI, p. 250-263, dec. 2021. ISSN 2449-285X. Available at: <http://sciencejournals.ge/index.php/HAE/article/view/188>. Date accessed: 21 may 2022.
Section
SCIENTIFIC ARTICLES - SECTION OF GEORGIAN HISTORY