Ambrosius of Georgia

Ambrose I. (Georgian ამბროსი, Ambrosi; native Besarion Chelaia; born September 7, 1861 in Martwili, Georgia, † March 29, 1927 in Tbilisi ) was a Georgian minister. From 1921 to 1927 he was Patriarch of the Georgian Orthodox Church of the Apostles. Because he protested against the Soviet occupation of Georgia, he was convicted in a show trial to several years imprisonment. In September 1995, he was canonized by the Synod of the Georgian Orthodox Church of the Apostles.



In 1885 he completed a course of study at the Theological Seminary in Tbilisi. In Abkhazia he was ordained a priest and worked in Sukhumi, in the monastery New Athos and in Lichini at Gudauta. He taught there at the same time Georgian, criticized the Russian authorities of Russification of Abkhazia and inciting anti- Georgian emotions in the Abkhaz population.

1896 to 1900 he studied at the Theological Academy in Kazan, wrote his thesis on "The struggle of Christianity against Islam in Georgia ". In 1901 he returned as a priest monk back to Georgia. Was Archimandrite of Tschelischi Monastery in the northwestern province of Racha. In 1904, he joined the office of the church synod in Tbilisi, was Archimandrite of the Monastery of the Transfiguration of the Lord.

Spokesman of the autocephalous

After the turn of the century he was one of the leaders of a movement for autocephaly of the Georgian Orthodox Church, demanded the restoration of their independence from Russia in 1811 abolished the use of the Georgian language in worship and the filling of 740 vacant priest places. In 1905 he took part in a conference of the Georgian clergy in Tbilisi, which was broken up by police. In the same year he was forbidden to hold religious services. He was deported to Central Russia and exiled to the Troiski Monastery in Ryazan, where he dealt with earlier Georgian church history.

In 1910 he was released, but was not allowed to return to Georgia before the collapse of the Tsarist regime in 1917. The newly independent Georgian Orthodox Apostolic Church ordained him in the same year as Metropolitan of Tschkondidi, West Georgia.

Patriarch of Georgia

On February 7, 1922 Ambrose protested in a memorandum to the participants of the Conference of Genoa, on behalf of the Georgian people against the occupation of Georgia and the human rights abuses of the Soviet regime. He urged the civilized States to intervene to stop the political persecution in the country.

In February 1923 Ambrose and all members of the Georgian Patriarchalrates were arrested by the Soviet secret police, the GPU and remanded in custody. In March 1924 a public show trial was opened against them. Ambrose was accused of conspiring with the West and of concealing historic church treasures that should go into state property.

Although the arrested with him priests showed solidarity with Ambrose, the Patriarch took over in the process solely responsible for the actions of the church leadership. He said it would be consistent with his duty, and the traditions of the Georgian Church. His defense concluded with the sentence: "My soul belongs to God, my heart my country. You, my executioner like to do with my body what they want. " The judges dared not a death sentence, but convicted Ambrose to eight years' imprisonment and the confiscation of his property.

1926 Ambrose was released early from prison. The public attacks against him, however, were not set. He died from the effects of his imprisonment and was buried in the Sioni Cathedral in Tbilisi.


In September 1995, he was canonized by the Synod of the Georgian Orthodox Church of the Apostles and was given the honorary title of Saint Ambrose the Confessor (Georgian ამბროსი აღმსარებელი, Ambrosi Agmsarebeli ). Of his death, March 29, was determined to be his name.