In Martvili municipality’s Salkhino village, at the Tsachkhuru Archangel’s Church, on the fourth day after Easter Sunday, crowds of people gather to ask God for mercy. Among them are childless couples and young people who are yet to marry. This day is usually rainy and everything is covered in mist but in spite of bad weather, lots of people attend the traditional ritual. This year too, beginning from 3 am, long column of pilgrims began ascending the hill where the church stands, childless couples holding beautifully decorated cradles in their hands.
According to a legend, once upon a time, near the village of Salkhino, a peasant was working in the field. At midday, his wife went up to him and took along some food. When the peasant sat down to eat, he noticed a stranger and asked him to join. After a while, the peasant noticed that his food and wine did not diminish but rather augmented.
Suddenly, the stranger asked the peasant to dance. The host agreed and when he stood up, the stranger was nowhere to be seen. The peasant realized that he had witnessed a miracle.
The priests think that this legend tells the story of an angel who appeared before the peasant. People also say that Andrew the First Called was once traveling from Samegrelo to Svaneti and he stopped on this place to erect a cross made of stone. As for the church, it was built in 1700s, on the ruins ofolder one, that was erected in 7th century.
Thousands of couples visit the temple to ask for a child and many of them later return to express gratitude. The number of those whose dreams came true is quite high and they try to comfort others, saying they should believe in miracle as it really happens in this church.
Photo by Giorgi Nikolava