THE MOTHER OF GOD AS THE PROTECTOR OF MOTHERHOOD (ACCORDING TO ETHNOGRAPHIC MATERIALS)
According to ancient Georgian written sources and church traditions, Georgia is a country allotted to the Virgin Mary and is under her patronage. Based on Georgian ethnographic material and special scientific literature, the article discusses the beliefs of the Georgian people about the Mother of God (Ghvtismshobeli) as a symbol of fertility and reproduction and the protector of motherhood. In parallel with the Mother of God, in almost all parts of Georgia there is a pre-Christian female deity, the Mother of a Place (Adgilis Deda) and its various variants.
The paper presents the views of Georgian ethnographers on the syncretization of the cults of the Christian saint - the Mother of God /Ghvtismshobeli and the pre-Christian fertility goddess - the Mother of a Place (Adgilis Deda). The article discusses the relevant religious rituals performed during family or village holidays.
The Mother of a Place(Adgilis Deda) and the Mother of God (Ghvtismshobeli) are considered the patrons of the hearth and family throughout Georgia. Every village in the mountains of Eastern Georgia had its own Adgilis Deda. At the same time, there was Ghvtismshobeli , which was sometimes presented as a separate cult having a separate shrine, and sometimes as a combined one - Adilis Deda Ghvtismshobeli
According to our ethnographic field materials collected in different parts of Georgia in the recent past, the rituals for granting fertility as well as healing a sick child were performed in the name of the Mother of God and are still performed today. The Mother of God is of great importance in the religious life of the Georgian people.
Keywords: The Mother of God, Georgia, protector of motherhood, tradition, fertility.