This variety does not, by itself, lead to conflict. The
variety encompasses common customs, traditions, and the ethnic and
psychological individualism of the Caucasian people. If measured by diversity
and integrity, the most interesting area in the Caucasus could be
The Treaty of Kuchuk-Kainardji
between the Russian Empire and Sublime Porte on 10 July 1774, in articles
concerning the Caucasus, pronounced
In 1783, Kartli-Kakheti signed the
Treaty of Georgievsk,
continued Russia.s political advance into the
the present analysis, the act established regulations of the two Orthodox Churches (in Russia and Georgia) that made the Patriarch of Georgia a permanent member of the Holy Synod.3 This agreement instituted a new relationship between the Georgian Catholicos-Patriarch and the Holy Synod, giving eight degrees of sanctity to the Georgian Patriarch and ranking it behind the Archbishop of Tobolsk.4 This meant that the Georgian Church lost its independence, coming under the jurisdiction of the Russian Catholicos-Patriarch. Importantly, as the Synod was supervised by a (secular) Ober-Prosecutor who answered to the Empress, the Georgian church became dependent on the Russian state.
The beginning of missionary activity
The idea to use the Orthodox faith to create a common ideology
The Society sent its first missionaries from
The status of the
Following the reforms in the Georgian church, the erstwhile
Clerical Commission of Ossetia was re-established in 1815, now centred in
mountains). The fact that Cossacks were enlisted indicates Russia.s fear of the mountain people.s resistance to the missionary project.
In 1810, the
Abkhazia. Thus, the area of the Commission.s
renewed activity was already much bigger and included territory beyond the
According to the missionaries. reports, they baptised 216 Abkhazians, as well as 2,788 Kists (Chechens and Ingush) living in Georgia, and 43,927 Ossetians between 1817 and 1825.6
In 1857, the Viceroy of the Caucasus, Alexander Ivanovich Bariatinskii, and the
Exarch of Georgia, Isidor
(Nikolskii), reported to the Emperor that, “The
duty of the Orthodox Christian state is to create a Society for the
restoration of Orthodox Christianity in the Caucasus.
tool of Orthodox Christianity herself”7
The report presented by Bariatinskii
and Isidor was discussed for three years in
The Society declared, as did Bariatinskii,
that the main aim of its work was to spread Orthodox Christianity in the
in a report cited in the Survey of Activity of the
Society for Restoration of OrthodoxChristianity in
“Islam for the Caucasian mountain people is the faith of
patriotism. It is the symbol and flag of independence.
For the entire population of the
As this quote makes clear, for Russian policy makers in the
The establishment of the Society proclaimed the aim of restoring Christianity in the region where the natives had been Christians since ancient times. The main directions of the Society.s activity were:
1) To construct and restore churches, and to establish nearby housing for the clergy;
2) To establish and finance parochial schools for the education of the locals;
3) To translate and publish the Bible and other sacred books into local languages and to compile alphabets for peoples who did not have them;
4) To improve the social position of priests and to improve their training.10
Only Orthodox Christians could join the Society. The Council of the Society was the main authority for missionary activities, with the Georgian Exarch serving as
Chairman of the Council. The Society inherited the property of the Clerical Commission of Ossetia, totalling 238,174 rubles,11 and received money from the government and individuals, which by 1861 had reached 376,339 rubles. 12 The Society received lands, including the Karaiaz steppe, amounting to 100,000 square dessiatinas (approximately 275,000 acres) in all. The property of the Society as of January 1, 1864, amounted to 450,188 rubles.13 In 1862-1863, the finances of the Society were increased permanently, thanks to the attention of the Emperor and the Empress of Russia, and reached a .considerable amount..14
The zeal of the government to finance the Society shows the
great importance it gave to the spread of Orthodox Christianity in the
How did the Muslim population and mullahs react to this activity? In its first report (for 1862-1863), the Society admitted that, .the mere fact of the appearance of the Society caused an awakening of religious fear and enmity towards it and presented a challenge for Muslim propaganda, which uses any means to paralyse the defensive activity of the Society..15
Muslim resistance as well as the Georgian mountaineers’
reluctance to give up their traditional customs,including some pre-Christian elements, presented
some difficulties for missionary activity in the
In response, the Emperor appointed the Viceroy of the
region lay in the foundation of Orthodox educational institutions and the immediate compilation of local alphabets.
The Society admitted in the same report of 1862-1863 that the compilation of alphabets in the local languages languages was intended to remedy the fact that all local education was conducted by the mullahs. They taught the Arabic language to the local children in order to teach them the Qur.an in Arabic. The Society thought that if they could provide new schools for the youth, where the teaching would be in native languages using books in the (new) local alphabets, they would win the .battle. for Christian propaganda.
According to this plan, Georgian was to be used at schools among the Georgian mountaineers and Armenian, Turkish, and Georgian would be used in south Georgia, in consideration of the ethnic structure of the region (at least for the beginning classes).
The Society was trying to make the Georgian mountaineers give up the local “pagan” traditions and change the local structure of the communities, where often the head of the community was also the elder, or khevisberi. The khevisberi was also the spiritual leader of the community, leading church service during the festival for the community saint. Regular weekly church service among the Georgian mountaineers was not observed, but they had special celebrations of Christian saints such as St. Mary, St. George, and others when they gathered at a special place called khati (in English, .icon.). A khati, which was not a large church but a small building like a basilica, was built for each saint. The khevisberi would lead the ceremony, praying for community, offering sacrifices to the saint, and switching candles.
This structure apparently seemed dangerous, as it made a single person both a spiritual and community leader and gave him great influence on the local community. At present, this institution has been weakened in Georgia, but among some North Caucasian groups it remains strong and defines the unity of community (such as among Chechens and Ingush).
The Viceroy began his work actively and created the post of
Inspector of Orthodox schools in 1864, by the Order of the Society #16, and
assigned two inspectors to this position. In 1873, the local government
created the special position of Inspector of the Society.s
schools under the administration of the Caucasian educational district.. The
Inspector was also responsible for some public schools in regions located
outside the authority of the Governor.s inspectors
in Svaneti and Abkhazia.16
first Inspector, Streletskii from
Muslim priests opposed the Society.s educational activity, since they had previously maintained a monopoly on education in regions with dense Muslim populations,17 and yet they could not stop the Society.s educational activities.
In 1861, the Commission for Introduction of Literacy Among the Mountaineers was established by the Society to compile alphabets. The Society appointed Ivan
Bartolomei as Chair of the Commission, with a staff made up of Pavel Uslar, Dimitry Purtseladze, Vladimir Trirogov and others.
In 1865, the Commission compiled andpublished an Abkhaz alphabet with translations of Abkhaz aphorisms and stories for children. The book was approved as the textbook for use in Abkhaz schools.18 In 1868, the Board of the Society changed this policy, admitted the “infant” position of Abkhaz language and so Abkhaz language remained undeveloped and all translation
projects were ceased.19
Konstantin Davidovich Machavariani and his seventeen-year old student, Dimitry Gulia (the creator of the present Abkhaz alphabet), continued the work only later after 1892.20 The reaction of Georgian intellectuals to this act was remarkable. Jacob Gogebashvili, the creator of the Georgian textbooks (Deda Ena, Bunebis Kari, and others) noted:
“We Georgians must strive to develop and enrich our literature and the liturgical language. And we have to wish the same for the other nations, including the Abkhaz. [...] Exarch Kirion supported efforts to compile an Abkhaz alphabet and create their literature. He demanded that I take part in creating textbooks in the Abkhaz native language.
Georgians in Sokhumi should work towards this goal, as the awakening of the Abkhaz will change their external unity with Georgians into the internal solidarity and intensive Brotherhood”.21
During 1864-1865, some of the Kists
in the Pankisi gorge were converted to Orthodox
Christianity, and the Society opened a school in Pankisi.
The Society invited two Kists to come to
Literacy published the textbook the same year together with
the Chechen alphabet, but soon the work stopped as
The translation of Gospel into Ossetian was finished in 1864 and published in the same year.
The changed political situation after the end of the wars
prepared fertile ground for the future missionary activity. Now that it did
not have to contend with Murid resistance,
Akhatsikhe pashalik (Akhaltsikhe-Akhalkalaki
distr.) had become part of
The new territories with compact Muslim populations created
some difficulties for the Caucasian governors. Paving the way for the
establishment of the new rule was resolved by forcing the native Muslims
(ethnic Georgians and others) to immigrate to
These regions became the main arenas (together with the
Akhaltsikhe-Akhalkalaki districts, 1861-1885
By 1880, the Society had three schools in Akhalkalaki and two in Akhaltsikhe district,22 and one shelter opened in 1878 at a school in the Akhalkalaki district.23 In 1880, four more parochial schools were opened in Akhaltsikhe district, in Akhaltsikhe, Vale, Safara-Muskhi, and Toloshi.
Akhalkalaki district: Akhalkalaki, Kilda, Baraleti
Society schools were located in three of the four parishes in
the district (the village Mushki being the only
parish without a school), one school in each. The fourthschool
was established in the Muslim
Georgian served as the language of instruction when the school first opened, but later it was replaced by Russian.
In 1880, the Assistant Commander of Civil Affairs in the
The most remarkable development was the establishment of a school in Khertvisi in 1870 where the majority of the population was Muslim. About twenty young men graduated from the school, and in 1880 five Muslim students studied at the Caucasian Teachers Seminary. Four young Armenian men also graduated from
The attempts to use education to spread Orthodox Christianity in Akhaltsikhe-Akhalkalaki districts did not yield the anticipated results. The report of the Society for 1885 shows the disastrous position of the newly converted Christian population in the region.28 For 1880, there were only 77 cases of baptism into Christianity among the Muslim Georgian (Meskhs),29 and this number did not increase considerably in future.
The situation in Abkhazia was different. The Russian Orthodox missions in this region were extremely successful. Building on the activity of the Clerical Commission of Ossetia in Abkhazia, the Society worked to strengthen and spread Orthodox Christianity in the region.
Before examining the main reasons for its success, we must
first examine the form of Islam that was prevalent in Abkhazia.The
establishment of Turkish supremacy over the Black Sea coast of
In 1810, after realizing Russia.s
increasing strength in the Caucasus, the Abkhazian ruler Sapar-bei
Sharvashidze declared his alliance with
The Society reported that despite their conversion, Abkhazian
political interests and religious sympathies still were biased towards
“There is no sign that Christianity is preserved either among the princes or the people”.30
To expand their activity, the missions needed to have detailed
descriptions of different regions and ethnic groups in the
Abkhazia and in the other parts of
The missionaries divided the Abkhazian Muslim population (in accordance with their devotion to Islam) into two groups: fanatics and non-fanatics.
The former, a minority, kept all the traditions of Islam strongly but were not committed to pilgrimages to the sacred Muslim sites nor to praying five times a day.
Non-fanatic Abkhazians, who formed the majority, maintained Islamic traditions by keeping Ramadan and the feast of Kurban-Bairam, and by inviting mullahs to ceremonies. They practised a more syncretic Islam, as they also celebrated Christmas, Easter, New Year, Whit Sunday, and festivities observing the Virgin Mary and St. George. In addition, they worshipped icons and lit candles when praying, dyed eggs on Easter, and poured wine on bread in memory of dead ancestors.31
The missionaries concluded that there was no religious
friction in Abkhazia between Muslims and Christians. The missionaries had
been disturbed by the fact that religious difference did not impede marriage
between Christians and Muslims in the
According to the missionaries’ reports, the two main centres of Islam in Abkhazia were Atsi (in the Gudauta region) and Jgerda (in the Kodori region), where there were two small mosques. The Muslims in Gudauta were more devoted Muslims than their coreligionists in the Kodori region. Nevertheless, the influence of Orthodox Georgians living in Samurzakano (the Gali district of today.s Abkhazia) did not outweigh the influence of Islam on the population of Kodori.
Samurzakano is a territory in Abkhazia where the great majority of the natives are Georgians (Megrelians).
The Society claimed that one outstanding result of missionary activity here was the fact that in 1910 there were not any Muslims recorded among the citizenry. In this situation the missionaries exaggerated the impact of their work, as the great majority of natives in Samurzakano were Georgian Christians even before the missionary activity began.
The reality was that the observance of Christian traditions in the region persisted, albeit weakly, and that the missionaries had simply strengthened existing tendencies. The Society also emphasized that the population tried to preserve and restore Christianity in other parts of Abkhazia.33
The popular Georgian newspaper Droeba mentioned that about 2,875 Muslims and 876 pagans were baptised in 1867, the majority of whom were Abkhaz.34
The real success in baptising Muslim Abkhazians was achieved by Bishop Gabriel (Kikodze, 1869-1885) of Imereti. He sent David Machavariani (as part of the Clerical Commission of Ossetia) to carry out missionary work in Abkhazia.
Although the Commission for Ossetia no longer existed, Machavariani continued his work after 1869 under the
authority of the Society for Restoration of Orthodox Christianity in the
Georgians contributed significantly to the success of Russian
missionary work. in fact, they defined the success
of the Russian Orthodox missions. Their knowledge of local languages,
customs, traditions, and ethnic psychology simplified their task. Tradition
also played important role. Georgians, indeed, had historically beenthe propagators of Christianity among the different
ethnic groups in the
The Society was a pioneer of mass education in Abkhazia and in
many regions of the
Reorganisation of the Society in 1885
1885 marked a turning point in the history of the Society,
when the Emperor ordered its reorganisation. The
Chairman of the Society became the Exarch of
Georgia, and the Assistant Commander for Civil Affairs in the
The reorganisation was initiated by
the Ober-Prosecutor of Holy Synod and the Commander
for Civil Affairs in the
The report on the state of Christianity for 1885 counted 170 churches under the auspices of the Society. There were 143 parishes in the region:
East Georgia - 64, Vladikavkaz - 26, Sokhumi (Abkhazia) - 37, Guria-Megrelia (West Georgia) - 15, Imereti (West Georgia) - 1.
The Society also had a number of churches in the regions of
Vladikavkaz bishopric - 29, Sokhumi bishopric - 54, Guria-Megrelia bishopric - 14, Imereti bishopric - 1.
In 1885, the Society spent over 281 rubles to repair the
Muslim mosque in village Samovat (Karsi district).39 This
flexible policy in regions where the majority of the population was Muslim
guaranteed local assistance for the foundation of the missionary schools
there. The priests of the Society received generous salaries of about 200-700
rubles annually. The total amount for the maintenance of the clergy increased
to 64,687 rubles in 1885.40 The
Society also granted scholarships to successful pupils to continue their
education at the ecclesiastical schools of
The outcome of the missionary activity during the period of
1860-1885, according to the Society.s reports, was
not impressive except in Abkhazia and in parts of modern-day
This evaluation of immediate causes was correct, but the main reason for local resistance to Christianity was defined by resistance to Russian political rule.
Akhaltsikhe - Akhalkalaki districts, 1885-1910
The most poverty-stricken converts were the Christians in Akhaltsikhe and Akhalkalaki. The authors of the 1885 report stated:
“The prospect of such a poor life restrains even those Muslims who sincerely wish to become Christians. ... Muslims are afraid of Christian priests and try to avoid the meeting with them. Naturally, it is difficult to speak of the possibility of successful missionaryactivity, let alone of success achieved”.43
The missionary activity of the Russian Orthodox Church also focused on Georgian society, as expressed on the pages of Georgian newspapers and magazines such as Tsnobis Purtseli, Shroma, Droeba, Iveria. In assessing
the Society.s activity, the press was mostly critical of the Society not only for its lethargy in spreading Orthodox Christianity but also for its passive educational work.44
The period of 1885-1910 can be considered the second stage in
the history of the Society. The political tides in the
The migration processes in newly acquired territories had
ended. Colonization of the
In 1888, Tsar Alexander III visited
The missionaries and the native Muslims improved their relations by the end of the nineteenth century:
”The Muslims, who not a long time before were full of enmity towards their Christian neighbours, at present express not only religious tolerance but also allowed their children to receive education at Christian schools ... In the year of this report (1896) there were five Muslim young men and one young woman at the Toloshi School (Akhaltsikhe Distr.) They make up one seventh of the total number of pupils there”.46
Beginning in 1901, the situation turned against Christianity.
Muslims in the village Muskhi who had previously
agreed to send their children to the Society’s school suddenly changed their
minds for fear that they would be converted to Christianity. The number of
mullahs was increasing. They were coming from
The report of the Society for 1898-1901 shows that the missionaries were concerned with possible attempts to inspire enmity between Muslims and Christian Georgians. The situation did not encourage peace and friendship, and eventually there were signs of growing hatred because of religious differences.
The Society suggested that the government not give permission
to mullahs from
Beginning in 1889, the Society took a step forward in the restoration
of Christianity in another region of the Black Sea coast of
The foundation of this Missionary Section came as a result of a report by Ambrosi, the leader of the Shemokmedi monastery (Guria, in West Georgia), who was sent as a missionary to Adjaria by the Exarch in 1888.
Ambrosi explored the current position of Islam in the region and concluded that many Christian traditions survived in Adjara. He thought that it proved that the Batumi-Artvini districts could be fertile ground for reviving the ancient faith of the natives . Orthodox Christianity.48
The Missionary Section did not produce any results, despite
the active efforts of the Society. The Society itself recognized the reasons
for its lack of success: the death of Bishop Gregory, who had much influence
among the Muslims in Adjara, and the significant
distance between the residency of the Bishop in Guria-Imereti
It should be recognized that these reasons were not the primary causes of their failure. The main cause was the strong influence of Islamic propaganda in the region:
“Mullahs have a great influence among Muslim Georgians. These
mullahs are fervent fanatics, Adjarians constitute
a tightly united body at their disposal,
and each member of Muslim society is expected to work equally
hard towards its preservation and prosperity. The Muslims strove to preserve
the faith among their brothers... The most malicious in this field are the
mullahs who arrived from
The restoration of Orthodox Christianity in the
On October 21, 1896, the day when Tsar Nicholas II ascended to
the throne, the annual assembly of the Society took place in
The next step to increase the influence of Christianity was to
found libraries at the schools and the churches of the Society,51
to open two parishes in Abkhazia in 1899.52 Special
attention was given to the professional education of the youth. The pupils at
the New Athens Monastery were permitted to continue study for a fifth year to
study agriculture and Psalm teaching.53 The
fruits (lemons) grown at the monastery were represented at the agricultural
exhibition of the
in Abkhazia for cultivating even tender southern plants ... will no doubt bring region a significant profit. To introduce the natives to scientific methods of planting through the help of the New Athens Monastery school’s students ... will result in the growth of economical prosperity in the country”.54
From 1889 to the end of the century, the Muslim population began to increase in Abkhazia: “Many Christian settlements became totally Muslim. Before 1889, not a single village in Abkhazia had a majority Muslim population. Christians lived even in the centres of Islam in Abkhazia (such as Gudauta) and, concerning the birth records, Christian Abkhazians there diligently carried out their Christian duties..55
The Bishop of Sohkumi reported that the inclination of Abkhazians towards Islam was very serious and dangerous for the influence of Christianity in the region. In order to revise and lead the missionary activity in Abkhazia, in 1899 the Society appointed the missionary Tarasi Ivanitskii. His main task was to draft an accurate
picture of the
influence of Orthodox Christianity in Abkhazia. Ivanitskii
reported that the Turks living in Sokhumi, Ochamchire,
and Gudauta were the key factor for the conversion
of Abkhazians to Islam. They secretly kept mosques in Jgerda,
Atsi and even in Megrelia
emphasized that the reason for the weakness of Orthodox Christianity in the
region was its use of Old Church Slavonic for church services instead oflocal languages, and, conversely, the requirement that
the vernacular be used for teaching at schools. He paid particular attention
to the method Ilminskii used in
of Sokhumi, appealed to the Military Governor of
In 1899, the Society relocated the anti-Islamic library from Zakatala district to Abkhazia.
Zakatala district, 1885-1910
The Zakatala district was settled by Georgians of Sunni Islamic confession. The Society expended great effort to restore Orthodox Christianity in the region and
partly achieved its goal.
Ingiloes, natives of Zakatala, lived in compact villages: Kakhi, Alibeglo, Koragani, Tasmalo, Zagami, Marsani, Lala-pasha, Musuli, Engiani, etc. Missionaries
reported that Muslim Ingiloes remembered their Christian heritage, respected Christian churches, and kept some Christian traditions. At the beginning of the 20th century,
the Society had five parishes (in Kakhi, Alibeglo, Tasmalo, Koragani and Ketuklo) with four schools (including one for girls) in Alibeglo, Koragani and Ketuklo.
In 1899, E. Maminaishvili was appointed to the post of Inspector of the Zakatala district, replacing the aforementioned Tarasi Ivanitski, who had carried out some of the most important missionary work among the Ingiloes and was now transferred to Abkhazia.
The activity of the missionaries was met with resistance by the mullahs. Ivanitskii reported that the mullahs forbade the Ingiloes (Georgians living in Azerbaijan in Zakatala/Kakhi districts) to speak in Georgian even for everyday usage.57 The same fact was reconfirmed in 1915 by Kavkazskoe Slovo.58 The newspaper mentioned that after 1860s, when the war with Shamil was over and the North Caucasus finally was joined to the Russian Empire, Ingiloes began to lose their native language. Kavkazskoe slovo linked this loss with the persistent efforts to restore the Orthodox Christianity among them. It acknowledged that, “missionary
work had almost no positive result, except for four villages which really turned back to Christianity. All others not only did not express any interest in Christianity but withdrew even further into their religious fanaticism, and hated anything Georgian as a reminder of despised Christianity”.59
The Georgian newspaper Sakartvelo stated that, “many of the villages resolved that mothers would not speak Georgian with their children. To hasten the disappearance of the Georgian language, Ingoloes began to marry women from the Nukhi and Kazakh Districts, which, as known, are settled by Tatars [that is, by Dagestanians and Azeris. The term .Tatar. was often used as a synonym of Muslim. M. G-S.]. Children whose mothers did not speak Tatar were sent to Tatar villages to learn the language and to forget their native Georgian. Ingiloes stopped visit Georgian sacred places [i.e., churches M. G-S.], which they had worshipped until now. They dug up the vineyards, accepted Tatar customs, and
voluntarily went towards total denationalization”.60
Kavkazskoe Slovo also mentioned that, in Georgian newspapers, intellectuals began to devote much attention to the restoration of the Georgian spirit among the Muslim Georgians after the last Turkish invasion of Adjara.
Georgian intellectuals supported their Muslim brothers during this hard period morally and financially, and the interest in Georgian Muslims is increasing among Georgians. The newspaper mentioned that it should immediately begin hard work in Zakatala to restore this lost region to its native culture.61
The same newspaper in October admitted a similar situation
among Abkhazians and Meskhs.62 It is
noted that, “in the western part of the Sokhumi district, Georgian culture is
disappearing. Abkhaz culture, which for many centuries was close to Georgian
culture, is today almost totally detached from the Georgian family. It isperhaps strange, but this voluntary denationalisation
(as seen in the Muslim parts of
I do not think that it can be explained by a lack of interest
from Georgian intellectuals in their Muslim brothers, or by the role of
Orthodox missions in weakening the position of Christianity. The reality is
that Islam began to serve as the flag against Russian supremacy among all
independent people of the
Opposition to Georgians, who were joined to the Russians by a common faith and also who led the Russians to enter the Caucasus, was also a natural feeling among Muslims Georgians and non-Georgians.
Prince Alexander of
The Society, 1885-1910
The reorganisation of the Society marked increased engagement in different fields of missionary activity and also some revision of its methods. Monies allocated for the restoration and construction of the churches was doubled, reaching 200,000 rubles.63
The Inspector of the Svaneti-Batumi-Artvini
regions examined the Society.s schools and assessed
the state of Christianity in Abkhazia for 1894-95. His sudden death ended the
review, but in 1896 Society appointed a new missionary, Evtikhi
Maminaishvili, who worked successfully under the Society.s authority in Zakatala
The Society reported in 1896 that its schools consisted of: 21
for young men, 8 for young women and 19 coeducational institutions in
different regions of
It had forty schools in Muslim districts: four in Zakatala, four in Akhaltsikhe-Akhalkalaki, seven in Abkhazia, eighteen in North Ossetia, six in South Ossetia, and one in Pankisi (among Chechens and Ingush).64 The number of students at the schools were:
30 boys in Pankisi (Chechens and Ingush);
72 boys and 9 girls in the Zakatala district;
237 boys and 52 girls at the schools of Akhaltsikhe-Akhalkalaki districts;
289 boys and 13 girls in Sokhumi district schools;
1,157 boys and 367 girls in
263 boys and 26 girls in South Ossetia.65
The hardest task was to improve teaching methods. Using the vernacular in teaching and preaching would assist in the victory of Orthodoxy, according to the Society.s resolutions. It was decided to use the Georgian clergy in organizing missionary work. .A Khevsuri, or Svani, or mountaineer ... who is familiar with local conditions, is educated... and who is appointed to the post of priest or teacher would not hesitate [to go] and never would request to be reassigned to another location. Besides, he will be content in his native country among his countrymen, with the customs and traditions he is already familiar with. He will have a stronger influence than a priest or teacher who would need some time to study the native culture..66
To proceed with this plan, Society granted scholarships to the most successful students from the region for graduate study at the St. Petersburg and Kazan Theological Academies, the Tbilisi and Kutaisi Theological Seminaries, the Kutaisi Theological School, the Tbilisi Diocese Women.s School, and St. Nino Women.s School at the Bodbe Convent.
The Society discussed the missionaries. reports
on different parts of
Why had the success of Christian education not led to the
success of Orthodoxy itself in the Muslim regions of
the Zakatala district)?
The Society reported that the difficulty was due to the
multi-religious societies of the
“Nowhere else are the universal ideas of Christian
enlightenment embodied ... as in the church schools of the
The church school has not been an unusual entity for the non-Orthodox population, even for the Muslims. The latter are the neighbours of Russians and, when given the opportunity, the Muslims send their children to church schools. ... If a missionary was skilful, any missionary institution could have a great influence on the wide-scale Christianization (mostly of Muslims) at the school. Muslims are afraid of the missionary but don.t fear the mission school, and this in particular is the way to draw in Christianity without force and to bring Christian and Muslim
customs in contact”.68
The Society acknowledged that it should recognize the role of its schools as institutions of public education and assist in the conversion of the natives into Orthodox Christianity.69
The Society.s schools used the same teaching methodology as throughout the Russian Empire. The textbooks used at the schools were the best textbooks at the time, such as the .Reader in Russian Literature.(by Ushinskii), .Arithmetic. (Grubbe), .Deda Ena. (Georgian language), .Kartuli Anbani. (Georgian alphabet), and .Bunebis Kari. (Biology, Gogebashvili). Textbooks, notebooks and other necessary school things were free for the students and teachers.
By 1910, the society managed 53 parishes and 83 educational
institutions in the
the region. It stated that 2,063,795 rubles totally were spent only for the education of the natives. Correspondingly, 2,761 rubles were spent in 1860, and 75,498 rubles in 1909.70 The number of the Society.s donors varied between 30 and 158. The Society had 53 parishes and 83 schools. The number of those converted from Islam were:
Ingiloes 162 (1869 - 1903)
Kists 161 (1864 - 1868)
Meskhs 96 (1880 - 1895)
Adjarians 23 (1888 - 1899)
Abkhazians 21,336 (1866 - 1902)
Assyrians 3 305 (1867 - 1902)71
The Survey concluded with the statement:
“Instead of the crescent of the mosque, many of mountaintops
As the result of the missionaries. activity
among the Muslim natives of Caucasus, we can conclude that the methodology of
cultural conquest in the
The main difference with the British missionary activities was
The Orthodox Georgian priest served as the best means to accomplish this aim.
The non-Christian (Muslim) population began using Islam as their tool against Russia.s expansion. This medium was used many times in 19th and 20th centuries.
The current situation in the Caucasus, with increasingly
religious shape of national struggle of the Caucasians (Chechens, Dagestanis and other Caucasian nations) is a reminder
that religious and national relations remain undecided in today’s
Dmytryshyn (Hinsdale, Ill.: Dryden Press, 1974), Chs. 7, 8, 23.
3 Full Collection of Regulations and Ddecrees concerning to Orthodox Faith of the Russian
Empire, v. II. (
4 Ibid., Al. Khakhanov, Anniversary of Joining of Georgia to
5 Report of Synod to the Emperor of Russia from 21 June, 1811, p.8 (in Russian).
of Activity of the Society for Restoration of OrthodoxChristianity
7 Ibid., p.92.
For the full version of Bariatinski.s report, see
pages 91-98;); Bishop Kirion,
Short View of the History of
Georgian Church and Ekzarkhat for 19th Century (
8 Ibid., p. 101.
9 Ibid., pp. 92-93.
of the Society for Restoration of Orthodox Christianityin
the Caucasus for 1906-1907 (Tiflis, 1909),
.Chart of the Society for Restoration of Orthodox Christianity in the
11 Dudko, A. P.. From the History of Schools in Abkhazia before the Revolution, 1851-1917 (Sokhumi, 1956), p. 25 (in Russian).
of the Society for Restoration of Orthodox Christianityin
13 Ibid., p. 4.
15 Ibid., pp. 6-7.
16 Survey., p. 194.
17 Report. for 1862-1863, p. 7.
I. Abkhazian Alphabet (
19 Survey., p. 157.
20 Uslar, P. Abkhazian Language (
J. Selected Works, v. III (
of the Society for Restoration of Orthodox Christianity in the Caucasus for
23 Ibid., p. 193.
24 Ibid., p. 51.
25 Ibid., p. 69.
26 Ibid., p. 77.
27 Ibid, p. 82.
of the Society for Restoration of Orthodox Christianity in the Caucasus for
29 Survey., p. 172.
30 Survey., p. 62.
31 Survey., p. 64.
32 Survey. p. 71.
33 Survey., p. 70.
34 Droeba, no.5, January 30, 1869, p. 1 (in Georgian).
35 Shroma, no.2, September 2, 1881, p. 4 (in Georgian).
36 From the History of Schools in Abkhazia., p. 25.
37 Report.for 1885, pp. 3, 10;
.Chart of the Society for Restoration of Orthodox Christianity in the
38 Report . for 1885, p. 7.
39 Ibid., p. 16.
40 Ibid., p. 17.
41 Ibid., p. 18.
42 Ibid., p. 27.
43 Ibid., pp. 31-32.
44 Droeba, no. 67, March 29, 1881, pp. 1-2; Droeba, no. 104, May
1881, pp. 1-2; Droeba, no. 35, February 15, 1881, p. 1 (in Georgian).
45 Iveria, no. 100, May 14, 1898, p. 3 (in Georgian).
of the Society for Restoration of Orthodox Christianity in the Caucasus for
of the Society for Restoration of Orthodox Christianityin
the Caucasus for 1898-1901 (
48 Survey., pp. 145-146.
49 Ibid., pp. 40-41.
50 Report . for 1896, p. 15.
51 Report . for 1898-1901, p. 19.
52 Ibid., p. 48.
53 Ibid., p. 61.
54 Ibid., pp. 61-62.
55 Ibid., p. 80.
56 Ibid., p. 111.
57 Ibid., p. 147.
58 Kavkazskoe slovo, no. 210, September 18, 1915, p. 4,.Concerning the Question of Georgian-Ingiloes. (in Russian).
59 Kavkazskoe slovo, no. 210, September 18, 1915, p. 4.
60 Report . for 1989-1901, p. 147.
61 Kavkazskoe slovo, no. 210, September 18, 1915, p. 4.
62 Kavkazskoe slovo, no. 236, 1915, p. 3.
63 Report . for 1896, p. 18.
64 Report . for 1896, .Register of the Society.s Schools,. pp. 62-
65 .Statement of Inspection of the Society.s Schools for 1896,. pp.
62-102 (in Report . for 1896).
66 Report . for 1898-1901, p. 29.
67 Ibid., pp. 15-16.
68 Report of the Society for Restoration of Orthodox Christianity
in the Caucasus for 1906-1907 (
69 Ibid., p. 77.
70 Survey., pp. 196-197; 199.
71 Survey ., pp. 170-174.
72 Survey., p. 201
Issue 4 Summer 2003
260 Stephens Hall MC #2304
Manana Gnolidze-Swanson is a senior research fellow at the G. Tsereteli Institute of Oriental
Studies at the