On the 13th of June, 2019, at 12:00, a session of the Dissertation Committee of Tbilisi Theological Academy and Seminary, working under the aegis of the Autocephalous Apostolic Orthodox Church of Georgia, was held at the Patriarchate of Georgia. The session heard the defense of the thesis of the doctoral student Tsotne Chkheidze, titled: “A Theological Analysis of the Symbolic Acts of the Old Testament Prophets”.
The supervisor of the thesis was PhD, President of Gelati Academy of Sciences, Metropolitan Ioane (Gamrekeli), the official assessors – PhD in Theology, Professor Archdeacon Demetre (Davitashvili) and PhD in Theology Irakli Orjonia.
The chairman of the session was PhD in Historical Sciences, Professor, Metropolitan Anania (Japaridze).
The members of the commission were:
Metropolitan Shio (Mujiri), PhD in Theology;
Metropolitan Stephen (Kalaijishvili), PhD in Theology;
Archpriest Maxim (Chanturia), PhD in Theology, Professor;
Edisher Chelidze, PhD in Theology and Philology, Professor;
Sergo Vardonasidze, PhD in Theology and History, Professor, Rector of St. Andrew the First-Called Georgian University of the Patriarchate of Georgia;
Giorgi Andriadze, PhD in Theology.
During the presentation of the thesis, the PhD student expressed his special gratitude to the Catholicos-Patriarch of All Georgia Ilia II, through whose highest authority and blessing the Dissertation Committee was founded and the Doctoral Department was established at Tbilisi Theological Academy and Seminary. Tsotne Chkheidze thanked the Rector of Tbilisi Theological Academy and Seminary, PhD in Theology and Philology, Professor, Protopresbyter Giorgi Zviadadze, who had made the presentation of his candidature for the educational programme of Doctorate and whose prayers and blessing enabled him to take the Doctoral programme. The Doctoral student noted that with the special efforts of Protopresbyter George Zviadadze, the academic and scientific environment conducive for the academic process has been created at this school, students have every condition to ensure a successful study in all three stages of teaching. The candidate also extended his gratitude to Metropolitan Ioane Gamrekeli, PhD in Theology, Professor, President of Gelati Academy for his dedication to the work.
The reviews and opinions of the members of the commission brought to light the fact that the works of complex nature, dedicated to the Old Testament prophets’ symbolic actions, are written by researchers working outside the Church, who do not consider the Holy Fathers’ exegesis and interpret biblical passages arbitrarily.
The scientific novelty of the presented dissertation is to discuss the issue on the basis of the Church Fathers' interpretations, namely:
1) the notion of a symbolic action;
2) a new definition of the term;
3) an analysis of biblical episodes as based on the methods of theological research.
The Dissertation Committee assessed the work of Tsotne Chkheidze as excellent. According to the opinion of the members of the commission the presented dissertation was one more step forward in the path taken by Tbilisi Theological Academy and Seminary and the Rector’s contribution in this success is the greatest.