Source: Georgian Journal
January 27, 2016
The Georgian Orthodox Church celebrates today the day of Saint Nino (Ninooba Holiday). Former Director of the National Agency for the Cultural Heritage Preservation of Georgia, Nikoloz Vacheishvili has published an interesting story concerning this day.
“A story to tell for Ninooba: In 2005 (or maybe it was 2006) the restoration work at Gergeti Trinity church was underway. Nothing new was expected to be discovered. We only had to organize the interior and solve the roofing problems. The only thing that looked strange was the iconostasis painted blank blue by Russians. After another day, from under the paint appeared different, simpler colors. They called us at the ministry and said the old frescoes appeared. "What shall we do?" they asked. Then they sent us some photos and a sample of the "Russian" paint. We couldn’t wait to see it with our own eyes, so we all left for Gergeti immediately.
The strange "russification" layer was slowly removed and we could see some drawings. Then some inscriptions in the Asomtavruli alphabet [the oldest Georgian script] appeared and then a ruby red, very thin fresco of St. Nino and an inscription that read: "Saint Nino, Mother of Georgia." It was very exciting! The fresco was covered with paint by a Russian exarch, when Ilia Chavchavadze was returning from Saint Petersburg. Now it has reappeared. It is one of very few images of Saint Nino. It dates back to the 16th century and shows how popular she was in the mountains too.
I took these photos that same day.“
The day of Saint Nino is celebrated by the Georgian Church twice a year: on May 19/ June 1, when she came to Georgia and on January 14/27, when she died.