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Гагрский храм Пицундский собор Лыхненский храм Каманский храм Михайловский храм Новый Афон Сухумский собор Драндский собор Моквский собор Бедийский собор Илорский храм

Temple of Bedya

The most valuable architectural monument of Abkhazia is presented by the cathedral erected in late 10 th century in the Bedya village in honor of the Blachern Holy Virgin. This Greek cross temple consists of four supports under cupola while the western ones stand freely and the eastern ones are connected with relevant walls in-between altar. The altar apses and adjacent side premises are semicircular inside.

In its western part the central hall is separated from the side premises by walls decorated with its arches and columns in the upper part.

Both inside and outside the temple walls are covered with smooth sandstone plates. The eastern part of the outside wall is decorated with a large carved cross. The windows' and entry architraves are simple but elegant as per its decorative finishing works and its carving shows some variable ornamental topics made with a great subtlety. Indoors the walls of the temple are covered with rich paintings lost mostly at present. The depiction of the Old Testament subject as the image of Constantine remained at the western wall.

The cathedral possesses a gold chalice to be kept nowadays in the Museum of Arts in Tbilisi . This chalice is incomplete and only its upper part remained. According to an inscription embossed on its edge in “asomtavruli” script it has been presented by Bagrat III and his mother Gurandukht to the temple of Bedya which had been constructed by the same persons. In the church warden's inscription on the chalice Bagrat III was named as the king of Abkhazia as of 999 A.D. as the year of completing construction of the Bedya temple. The chalice surface is decorated with some relief figures of the Saviour, Holy Virgin, Peter and Paul The Apostles as well as any other apostles and evangelists.

Bagrat III was buried in this temple in 1014.

The bishop of Bedya has been in charge of the vast territory from this temple up to the Ingur river. During period of political unity of Abkhazia and Georgia the bishop of Bedya has been numbered as the 26 th ecclesiastic hierarch when he stood just behind of the bishop of Sukhum at the coronation ceremony of the Abkhazian king. The same person has been also noted as a participant of the church councils. In the second half of the 17 th century no services were rendered at the temple and such ceremonies were renewed in the second half of the 19 th century.

Presently some restoration works are performed at the cathedral of Bedya.

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