10 November 2012

The Grand Duchess Prays for the Welfare of the Caucasus at the Ancient Christian Church of Tkhaba-Yerdy

The Grand Duchess Prays for the Welfare of the Caucasus at the Ancient Christian Church of Tkhaba-Yerdy

As part of her official visit to the Republic of Ingushetia, Grand Duchess Maria of Russia and the President of Ingushetia, Yunus-Bek Yevkurov, visited Tkhaba-Yerdy—one of the most ancient Christian sites in Russia. This was the first stop on today’s itinerary for Her Imperial Highness— the Jeirakh region: the cradle of the Ingush people.

The tour of this “Church of the Holy Two Thousands,” dated to the ninth century, began with an examination of the exterior walls and the entrance, the richly ornate carvings, sculptures, and other architectural and decorative details featuring elements of Christian symbolism. Inside the church, the Grand Duchess was shown the altar with its large stone cross and dome, under which ancient Orthodox Christians performed the baptisms of their children. The distinguished guests listened with great interest to the unique history of the church recounted to them, how, after the decline of Christianity in the wake of the Mongol invasion, the church was turned into a semi-pagan temple, and then later into the location for the convening of the medieval Ingush Council of Elders—the Mekh-Khel.

In honor of the revival of this holy place and of the first visit by the Grand Duchess to the Caucasus, the Secretary of Vladikavkaz-Makhachkala Eparchy, the priest Savva Gagloev, served a brief prayer service, or moleben, beseeching God for peace and prosperity in Ingushetia, in Russia, and in the Imperial House. The priest offered his best wishes for happiness, success, and long lives for Grand Duchess Maria of Russia, President Yunus-Bek Yevkurov, and all those present.

The Grand Duchess told reporters that she prayed for the prosperity of the Ingush region, so that this land would always be peaceful and secure. “For me, it is a great honor to participate in the first service to take place in this church for the past several centuries. One feels here a kind of pristine spirituality in this ancient church. Having traveled a long way to get here, I find it easier to concentrate on prayer and to become calm in spirit here, which is something I will always remember about this place,” Her Imperial Highness said, sharing her impressions of this experience.

“It is very significant that today, in this thousand-year-old church, one of the symbols of Ingushetia, we have held the first church service since the 19th century. This place is a very important part of our history, and we do not intend to keep the church closed from tourists to the fortress, but to let them visit this holy place. The church should fulfill the purpose for which it was built so long ago,” President Yevkurov said.

Issued by the Press Service of the Republic of Ingushetia





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