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Georgia - Tbilisi - Tbilisi Sioni Cathedral - Sun rays shining through beautiful copula - alias - Should not God love us all the same :-)

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The "Sioni" Cathedral of the Dormition - სიონის ღვთისმშობლის მიძინების ტაძარი - is a Georgian Orthodox cathedral in Tbilisi, the capital of Georgia. Following a medieval Georgian tradition of naming churches after particular places in the Holy Land, the Sioni Cathedral bears the name of Mount Zion at Jerusalem. It is commonly known as the "Tbilisi Sioni" to distinguish it from several other churches across Georgia bearing the name Sioni. The Tbilisi Sioni Cathedral is situated in historic Sionis Kucha (Sioni Street) in downtown Tbilisi, with its eastern façade fronting the right embankment of the Mtkvari River. It was initially built in the 6th-7th centuries. Since then, it has been destroyed by foreign invaders and reconstructed several times. The current church is based on a 13th-century version with some changes from the 17th to 19th centuries. The Sioni Cathedral was the main Georgian Orthodox Cathedral and the seat of Catholicos-Patriarch of All Georgia until the Holy Trinity Cathedral was consecrated in 2004.

 

I wanted to capture such sun-rays coming through ceiling of a church since I got to Armenia, however the right conditions were never in place... you need sun - which was very rare during days I was there and when the sun was present and I was in the church, there was not enough dust/smoke that the sun could shine through. Therefore I was really glad that the first cathedral in Tbilisi offered me such a view, especially with copula with Christ like this. Unfortunately nothing in life is really for free, it always asks something back. I must have upset local priest because as soon as I finished capturing this (during very active service) and just wanted to enjoy the atmosphere, someone from the church came to me and ask me to leave. I was rather surprised as I didnt take any photos at that moment and just stood still... I was asked again and I was still not willing to leave, after few moments a woman next to me told me : "You are catholic, and this is Orthodox church, you must leave !!" and I thought : "WOW, should not God love us all the same, regardless the religion, especially when the religion is same - Christianity !! (besides I'm not catholic :-)) anyway I didnt want to make a scene and left the church.... still wondering, but happy I got such photos !! :-) on similar note - as I just arrived to Tbilisi from Armenia, where I also visited main service on Sunday morning in the main country Cathedral and it was wonderful experience, besides those many tourists brought by many buses to enjoy the atmosphere. I have assumed that Georgia is the same... but I was wrong.. or it might just have been that I didnt have any obvious signs of being Orthodox person :-))

 

Camera Model: Canon EOS 5D Mark II; Lens: 24.00 - 105.00 mm; Focal length: 47.00 mm; Aperture: 4.0; Exposure time: 1/40 s; ISO: 2500

 

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Taken on May 7, 2011