HOLY TRINITY CATHEDRAL
Sameba - Holy Trinity Cathedral of Tbilisi is the main cathedral of the Georgian Orthodox Church located in Tbilisi, the capital of Georgia. Constructed between 1995 and 2004, it is the third-tallest Eastern Orthodox cathedral in the world and one of the largest religious buildings in the world by total area. Sameba is a synthesis of traditional styles dominating the Georgian church architecture at various stages in history and has some Byzantine undertones.
The idea was to build a new cathedral to commemorate 1,500 years of autocephaly of the Georgian Orthodox Church and 2,000 years from the birth of Jesus. In May 1989, the Georgian Orthodox Patriarchate and the authorities of Tbilisi announced an international contest for the "Holy Trinity Cathedral" project. Finally the design by architect Archil Mindiashvili won. The subsequent turbulent years of civil unrest in Georgia deferred this grandiose plan for six years, and it was not until November 23, 1995, that the foundation of the new cathedral was laid.
The construction of the church was proclaimed as a "symbol of the Georgian national and spiritual revival". On November 23, 2004, on St. George's Day, the cathedral was consecrated by Catholicos Patriarch of Georgia Ilia II and high-ranking representatives of fellow Orthodox Churches of the world. The ceremony was also attended by leaders of other religious and confessional communities in Georgia.
the Sameba Cathedral is erected on the Elia Hill, which rises above the left bank of the Kura River (Mtkvari) in the historic neighborhood of Avlabari in Old Tbilisi.
Designed in a traditional Georgian style but with a greater vertical emphasis The Cathedral has a cruciform plan with a dome over a crossing resting on eight columns. At the same time, the parameters of the dome is independent from the apses, imparting a more monumental look to the dome and the church in general. The dome is surmounted by a 7.5 meter tall gilded gold cross.
the cathedral consists of nine chapels (chapels of the Archangels, John the Baptist, Saint Nino, Saint George, Saint Nicholas, the Twelve Apostles, and All Saints); five of them are situated in a large, underground compartment. The overall area of the cathedral, including its large narthex, is 5,000 square meters and the volume it occupies is 137 cubic meters. The interior of the church measures 56 meters by 44 meters, with an interior area of 2,380 square meters. The height of the cathedral from the ground to the top of the cross is 105,5 meters. The underground chapel occupies 35,550 cubic meters. The height is 13 meters.
Natural materials are used for construction. The floor is made of marble tiles and the altar is also decorated with mosaic.
The Sameba complex, the construction of which is already completed, consists of the main cathedral church, a free-standing bell-tower, the residence of the Patriarch, a monastery, a clerical seminary and theological academy, several workshops, places for rest, etc.
Catholicos Patriarch of Georgia Ilia II also took part in painting works of the Sameba Cathedral; he painted several icons and a big image of the Holy Virgin that can be seen at the entrance. There are two floors under the ground; on the second floor there are museum and conference hall.
Holy Trinity Cathedral is considered one of the main sights of Tbilisi.