National Archives of Georgia


Georgian Gospel-Palimpsest was Inscribed in UNESCO Memory of the World Register

15:23 | 6 December, 2017


Another Georgian Manuscript in the Register of UNESCO – Georgian Gospel-Palimpsest, preserved in the National Archives of the Ministry of Justice of Georgia, was inscribed in the Memory of the World International Register. The manuscript was exhibited in the Exhibition Pavilion of the National Archives on December 6. The Minister of Justice, Thea Tsulukiani and the Catholicos-Patriarch of all Georgia Ilia II opened the event. The presentation was attended by the Minister of Education and Science, Mikheil Chkhenkeli, Minister of Culture and Monument Protection of Georgia, Mikheil Giorgadze, Heads of the National Academy of Science, National Center of Manuscripts, Tbilisi State University, National library. Decision about the submission of the Gospel in the World International Register was made by The International Advisory Committee of UNESCO. The Georgian manuscript was among 78 collections and documents that were added to the register in 2017. Nomination of the manuscript was submitted by the National Archives of Georgia in UNESCO in 2016.

Before creating a new description of the most important and rare Georgian manuscript (2015), there was only a short information on the gospel-palimpsest. The study has shown that the manuscript contains three-layered palimpsest papers and there are not two but at least four manuscripts in the form of basic text and bottom layers.  Text chronology was also specified.

All three stages of Georgian alphabet are presented in the manuscript. The oldest layer which is determined by the 9th-10th centuries is written in Asomtavruli, the second and third layers (12th-14th centuries) – Nuskhuri and the wills of 13th-18th centuries – Mkhedruli. 

The manuscript is well decorated: it has miniatures of Saint Matthew the Evangelist, Saint Mark the Evangelist, Saint John the Evangelist and the Saint Prochore. The beginning of the Gospels is lined up by the headpieces.

The writer of the bottom layer – Giorgi and was scribed by monk Estate.

The manuscript was transferred to the National Archives of Georgia in 1924. Its research is still under way.

Besides the new nomination, two other nominations, also preserved in the National Archives of Georgia, were inscribed in the Memory of the World Register:

  1. Vakhushti Batonishvili's Atlas and "Description of the Kingdom of Georgia" (2013);
  2.  8 Ancient Manuscripts preserved in the National Archives (2015):

Anbandidi Gospel, 13th century

Plaster, 10th century

Lectionary, 10th century

Neumatic Hymns, 10th-11th centuries and palimpsests

Charter of donation of land for a vineyard to the Chorepiscopus Daniel Nekisadze from Iovane, the Archibishop of Manglisi and Tbilisi (1440-1462, palimpsest)

Renewal of the Charter of Immunity of King George VIII to Svetitskhoveli (1447, palimpsest)

The Triodion (13th-14th centuries, palimpsest)


In January 2018, the Exhibition Pavilion of the National Archives will exhibit all Georgian manuscripts and historical documents inscribed in UNESCO Memory of the World Register. 


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