On February 8, two remarkable events are celebrated in Georgia - Commemoration of Saint King David the Restorer and the day of the foundation of Georgian University. On February 6, 2023, a scientific conference dedicated to these events was held at Tbilisi Theological Academy and Seminary. The Vice-Rector for the Scientific Field, Doctor of Theology, Deacon Tsotne Chkheidze addressed the gathered audience with his welcome speech. As proof of the recognition by the Georgian nation and the Orthodox Church of the indelible merits of this great King and great man Saint David the Restorer, he recalled the words of Ilia Chavchavadze: “The Church of Georgia, which has always devotedly taken care of our nation and never let the nation forget its glory, praises and glorifies the outstanding King David on January 26, who, with the blessing of the Church, is called Restorer as an everlasting memorial by the infallible judgment of the nation.” He noted that the newly founded university was to be responsible for the mission of intellectual and spiritual advancement of the nation. Eldar Bubulashvili, Professor of Tbilisi Theological Academy and Seminary, Doctor of historical sciences, Academician of Gelati Academy of Sciences, presented a speech, titled – “The Holy King David the Restorer”. The speaker spoke exhaustively about the merits of King David the Restorer, the governmental, ecclesiastical, military, socio-economic and cultural- educational reforms implemented by him, his personal virtues, which were his charity and religious tolerance, about the most important battle fought by the King against the Seljuk Turk, known as the Battle of Didgori or the “Great Victory” (August 12, 1121).
To attest the special authority of King David the Restorer the world over at that time with interesting facts, Mr. Eldar touched on the references preserved in historical sources about the Holy Grail and the Cross of Anselus, which, according to some presumptions, are also related to the name of King David the Restorer. Professor Sergo Vardosanidze, Head of the Department of History of Georgia, Doctor of Historical Sciences and Theology, presented the speech, titled “February 8 Is the Day of the Foundation of Tbilisi University” to the audience. The scholar talked about the important events that preceded the establishment of the university. He noted that, although the first university was opened on February 8, 1918, the idea of establishing a university arose much earlier, at the beginning of the 19th century. The speaker dwelt on the special merit of Ilia the Righteous and the figures of the 60s in terms of implementing this idea, about the difficulties that followed the implementation of this great idea, about Ivane Javakhishvili’s tireless efforts to establish the first Georgian university and the first rectors and professors of the university. At the end of his speech, Mr. Sergo noted, precisely, on the roots of the University all the other important educational centers in Georgia have grown.
The work of the conference was summarized by the Rector of Tbilisi Theological Academy and Seminary, Protopresbyter Giorgi Zviadadze. He thanked the participants of the conference for their deep, thorough and very meaningful analysis of the mentioned issues.