KHIRSA MONASTERY

Khirsa monastery

Khirsa monastery (Region of Kakheti)

The Khirsa monastery was founded in the VI century, to the monk Stephen, one of the 13 Assyrian fathers, now known as the Stephan Khirseli. The Church of St. Stephan Khirseli – Stands out against a similar size. The original basilica was converted into a domed church in the 10th century and further remodeled in the 11th and 16th centuries. The interior is divided up by four columns and terminates in a horseshoe-shaped apse. The building is topped with a tall conical dome constructed in brickwork and pierced by twelve windows.

The church has two doors, on the west and south; the latter leads into the chapel—or eukterion as it is known in the Byzantine world—of St. Nicholas, which is attached to the main church on its southwestern end. There are two more eukterions: to the right of the main sanctuary, on the south end of the church, is a vaulted chapel of the dormition of the Mother of God, and to the left of the sanctuary, on the north, there is a chapel containing the tomb of  St. Stephan  Khirseli. To the west of the church is a tall fortification wall.  There stands also a three storey bell tower and a two storey house for monks.

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