Georgian FM to attend “historic” opening of Holy Virgin of Iveria mosaic mural in Vatican

Georgian Foreign Minister Ilia Darchiashvili is in the Vatican to attend the unveiling of a mosaic mural of the Holy Virgin of Iveria. Photo: Foreign Ministry press office, 28 Nov 2023 - 13:23, Tbilisi,Georgia

Georgian Foreign Minister Ilia Darchiashvili will feature at the unveiling of a mosaic mural of the Holy Virgin of Iveria in the Vatican on Tuesday to mark a “new milestone” in bilateral ties, the Georgian foreign office said on Monday. 

The Georgian mosaic mural, aimed as a present to Pope Francis, will be the first to be opened in the state, with the event set to involve Fernando Vérgez Alzaga, who runs the Vatican city state, Ketevan Bagration-Mukhranbatoni, Georgia’s Ambassador, and a delegation of the Georgian Orthodox Church Patriarchate, the Ministry said. 

The body noted it had resumed “active communication” with the Vatican over placing the mosaic mural last year with the engagement of the Georgian diplomatic mission, and noted the Centre for Architecture, Art and Restoration of the Patriarchate, chaired by Patriarch Ilia II, had decided the panel would bear visuals of the Holy Virgin of Iveria by Georgian artist and mosaicist Amiran Bakuradze. 

Cardinal Pietro Parolin, the Secretary of State of the Vatican, on Tuesday said the event would contribute to further strengthening of bilateral ties. 

Extending his gratitude to the Georgian Government for the “very precious gift” to the Pope, the top cleric stressed it was valuable “not only from an artistic point of view, but also from a spiritual point of view, because the Mother of God and Jesus Christ unite us all”. 

He further noted faith had “always been important in Georgia”  and added  “we can safely say that the Christian faith is an integral part of the DNA of the Georgian people and has a fundamental role in defining their identity”. 

The Cardinal also praised the efforts of the Georgian Ambassador to the Vatican for strengthening bilateral cooperation over the years, and noted she was concluding her mission following the ceremony.