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Religion Today Blog Christian Blog and Commentary

Turkey: 1,000-Year-Old Tomb Discovered in Ancient Church

  • Veronica Neffinger
    Religious persecution, missions, Christianity around the world
  • 2016 Jul 07
  • Comments

An ancient tomb has been discovered in Turkey inside a church built in the seventh century A.D.


According to, the church is part of the Georgian Ishkhani monastery complex. The ancient tomb was discovered as experts worked to restore the church--a process that began in 2013.


The tomb has been dated to around 1009 A.D., and experts believe it is the burial site for a high-ranking official such as a noble or a bishop. 


Historian Buba Kudava speculates that the tomb could be the burial place of King Gurgen, the father of Bagrat III, founder of the famous Kutaisi church.


A member of the restoration team, Levan Tsikarishvili, discussed the experience of discovering the tomb:


"It is difficult to convey the emotions that overcame me when, having crept into the narrow, extremely dark head of the crypt, I lit my lantern and became the first witness of this unique opening.


"The extensive inscriptions bear witness that this crypt belongs to some high-ranking representative of secular nobility or clergy, possibly even an emperor or bishop. The date of construction of the tomb is indicated as 1009. Such crypts with such rich paleographic material are a rarity of rarities, representing great historical and cultural value."



Publication date: July 7, 2016