During his two-day official visit to Georgia, Foreign Minister S Jaishankar handed over the holy relic of Queen Ketevan to the Georgian government in a ceremony, the Foreign Ministry said in a statement. His Holiness and Beatitude Ilia II, Catholicos and Patriarch of All Georgia, and Georgian Prime Minister HE Irakli Garibashvili were present at the event.
Saint Queen Ketevan was a 17th century Georgian queen who achieved martyrdom. His relics were found in 2005 at St. Augustine Convent in Old Goa, based on medieval Portuguese documents.
They are believed to have been brought to Goa in 1627 and buried in the St. Augustine complex. At the request of the Archaeological Survey of India, the CSIR-Center for Cellular and Molecular Biology, Hyderabad, performed a DNA analysis which confirmed its authenticity.
In 2017, at the request of the Georgian government, India sent the relics to Georgia for a six-month exhibition. The relics were personally received by His Holiness and Beatitude Ilia II, the Catholicos-Patriarch of Georgia as well as many Georgians in September 2017.
– Dr S. Jaishankar (@DrSJaishankar) July 9, 2021
This loan of the relics was extended for six months and was returned to India in September 2018. The holy relics spent the year traveling to different churches in Georgia.
“Considering the persistent demand of the Georgian side for the permanent transfer of the holy relics and also considering the historical, religious and spiritual sentiments attached to the Holy Queen Ketevan by the Georgian people, India has decided to donate part of the holy relics to the Georgian government and people. This will strengthen the bonds of friendship and understanding between India and Georgia, âthe Foreign Ministry said.