Photo credit: Ivane Goliadze at Panoramio
On a column near the village of Katschki in West Georgia, not far from the city of Chiatura, a Church was constructed, probably between the 6th and 8th centuries, on the site of a pagan temple. An Orthodox priest, Fr Maxim, has lived in the Church for 18 years. He is quoted as saying:
Since I was a child I dreamed of settling on the top of this pillar as other hermits did in ancient times. When I came here with my friends I envied the monk who had lived there long ago – now I am here too I am happy.The Church it is currently being restored by some volunteers. It does look a bit of a mess but I have seen a Church in Cyprus in no better a state and without the need to climb a rusty ladder to get to it.
Thanks to the Daily Mail for this extraordinary story: The high church: Chapel that really IS that little bit closer to God. See also the article at the Meglaithic Portal for some more images. Thanks to that site, I got the latitude and longitude: 42.287632N, 43.215708E. Google maps does not even feature Chiatura but Open Street Map does a better job, including not only the city, but Katschki itself
The other photos by Ivane Goliadze at Panoramio are well worth browsing. We always hear of Georgia as a "former Soviet republic" and perhaps imagine it as a war-torn mess. I have no idea what it might be like to live there but Ivane's photos show it as a place of beauty that made me wonder wistfully how one might visit.