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Patriarchal cathedral in Pitsunda

In the centre of Pitsunda behind of green pointed tops of cypresses one can see the white plain walls and cupola of the Patriarchal Cathedral in honor of the St. Andrew The Apostle constructed in early tenth century. This cathedral refers to the type of Greek cross (cross domed) temples with three naves and three apses. It has been erected with brick and stone located in an established order. The temple walls are laid over by stone plates solely, then such masonry becomes to be a mixed one when the stone rows are intermingled with brick layers. The more is the height then the stone layers are thinner and the brick ones are thicker respectively. The upper part of the walls, drum and cupola above, inner supporting pillars are made completely of bricks having unequal size. The crosses made of thick bricks are laid over central altarpiece apse outside between the windows. The temple is full of air and light, its smooth walls are covered with a plaster and have been once decorated by frescoes whereof the medallions' belt remained in the altarpiece.

Indoors and in the west part of the cathedral there is a shrine with two tombs of St. Andrew and St. Simon The Apostles evidencing by relevant fresco paintings inside.

The cathedral of Pitsunda in the middle of the tenth century became the arch-see of the Abkhazian Catholicoses. Here such catholicoses of the Abkhazian church were to be elected, the bishops were laid hands on, the holy oil (myrrh) was prepared.

In the 11 th -12 th centuries the cathedral was renovated for many times. In the seventeenth century due to a threat of attacking by Turks the arch-see of the Abkhazian catholicoses was transferred to Gelaty (Georgia) while the cathedral was abandoned.

In the second half of the nineteenth century the cathedral was restored and consecrated in honor of the Repose of the Holy Virgin.

Currently the cathedral holds a concert hall but the prime Christian temple of Abkhazia is waiting in the wings so that to raise its orthodox anthem within sanctuary (presently there is a stage available) under singing of the ecclesiastic choir.

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