Martkopi monastery is located in the ancient village of Martkopi at an altitude of 1350 m above sea level. This area until the VI century called Akriani, “Rocky places”. In the first half of the VI century one of the 13 Assyrian fathers – Anton, who arrived in Georgia, settled in the Akrian Mountains. He Markofski monasterial in the privacy of a recluse, for this it was called “Alone” (in Georgian “Martkopeli”), and the place, respectively, received the name Martkopi. Antony lived in a cave where he kept the image of the Saviour. He tried not to show himself to the locals, but soon he was discovered by hunters from the village of Norio.
In the world literature it is noted that Antony “did not know the local dialect”. Locals even at first wanted to cut off his hand, and then changed their minds. Gradually the rumor of its existence spread around the neighborhood, there were followers, and so Antony built himself a tower (pillar, “light” nearby on the mountain and settled there. When the tower was built a Church named Simeon the Stylite. The image of the Savior was kept there. Antony lived on this tower for 15 years.
After the death of Antony was buried in the Church of Gvtaeba, in the Northern part of the temple – now there is a tombstone in white marble slabs. The monastery was a very revered place in Georgia, so there even moved the residence of the Rustavi bishops. The tower in which the Saint lived was destroyed over time, and the monastery founded by the monk Anthony existed until the middle of the 18TH century.
The image of the Saviour was kept in the main Church of the monastery until 1395. During the invasion of Tamerlane Bishop Markovski George hid the icon, and then himself was killed, and the icon was lost. Over time, it turned into something like the Holy Grail – many monks engaged in self-improvement in the hope that the icon will somehow appear to them. Himself Anthony since portrayed with the image of the Savior in his hands.
As a result of attacks of enemies in the middle of XVIII century the monastery was ruined and emptied. Earthquake in 1823 completed the destruction of the fall of the dome of the temple. The extant domed Church was built in the XIX century by Metropolitan Isidor on the site of the ancient one. The grave of Saint Anthony was found and the image of the Saviour was returned to its place
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