Georgia (/ˈdʒɔːrdʒə/; Georgian: საქართველო, tr. Sakartvelo, IPA: [sɑkʰɑrtʰvɛlɔ] ) is a country in Eurasia, located on the crossroads of Eastern Europe and West Asia. Nestled between the Greater Caucasus and Lesser Caucasusmountain ranges, it is bounded to the west by the Black Sea, to the north and northeast by Russia, to the south by Turkey and Armenia, and to the southeast by Azerbaijan. The capitaland largest city is Tbilisi. Georgia covers a territory of 69,700 square kilometres (26,911 sq mi), and its 2015 population is about 3.75 million. Georgia is a unitary, semi-presidential republic, with the government elected through a representative democracy.
Official languages: Georgian
Currency: Georgian Lari
Time Zone: UTC+04:00
According to the legend it was Georgia that the Mother of God had to go with the apostolic sermon spreading the doctrine of Christ in new lands. Therefore, Georgia is considered the country chosen by the Mother of God who is the patroness of this jewel land located in the Heart of Caucasus at the crossroads where the West meets the East.
However, at the Savior's will the Virgin Mary was left in Jerusalem. Instead of her St. Apostle Andrew the First-Called went there (Part of His relics preserved in Mtskheta Svetitskhoveli Cathedral). Other apostils to have preached Christianity in Georgia where St. Simon the Zealot (Canaanean, it was Simon's wedding that Christ and his disciples attended in Cana of Galilee in which Christ turned water in six stone jars to wine), Saint Matthias (apostle chosen to replace Judas Iscariot), St. Bartholomew the Apostle, St. Thomas the Apostle (the head of the Apostle kept in Tbilisi Sioni Cathedral). Sources also mention St. Peter the Apostle to have traveled to Georgia while two other Apostilles of Christ are also named by other sources.
It was in 4th century AD that St. Nino, Equal of the Apostles and Enlightener of Georgia reached the borders of the ancient Georgian Kingdom of Iberia preaching the Christian faith when Christianity was adopted as state religion in Georgia. The Grapevine Cross also known as the Georgian cross or Saint Nino's cross is a major symbol of the Georgian Orthodox Church and is preserved in Tbilisi Sioni Cathedral.
The Georgian Orthodox Church gained autocephaly during the early Middle Ages; it was abolished during the Russian domination of the country, restored in 1917 and fully recognised by the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople in 1990.The special status of the Georgian Orthodox Church is officially recognised in the Constitution of Georgia and the Concordat of 2002, although religious institutions are separate from the state, and every citizen has the right of religion.