'Svani' directors visit St Augustian Tower in Goa

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Panaji, Dec 1: Two noted Georgian film directors visited the archaeological site at St Augustian Tower in Old Goa where the holy relics of St Ketevan of the 17th Century are believed to have been buried in the complex.

The directors of the film ''Svani'', Soso Jachvliani and Badri Jachvliani, accompanied by Hindi speaking interpretor compatriot Tina were highly impressed at the pace of research work after they witnessed the site in presence of Goa Circle's Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) Chief N Tahir.

Mr Tahir presented to them a VCD containing a 17-minute documentary film on the site and the ongoing research by the archaeologists, who were trying to unravel the ''mystery'' associated with the relics of the Georgian Queen Ketevan.

Talking to the sources, Mr Tahir said the Greek orthodox Queen venerated even today in Georgia, was declared a Saint after she was strangled to death for refusing to woo Islam and marry Shan Abbas-I of Iran, who abducted her to Shiraj in Persia in 1614 and imprisoned her till 1624 when she attained her sainthood.

One year before her death, two fathers from Goa contacted her in the prison for confession. The legend was that the duo had later exhumed two bones of the Queen and distributed the relics at Georgia, Vatican, Shiraj and Goa.

The arm portion of the relics are reported to have been kept somewhere in the St Augustine Tower Complex in Old Goa, which was once the capital of the Portugese empire.

On request of the Georgian government in 1988, the Indian archaeologists started research to locate the bones on emperical evidence they gathered here and there.

They at last found the site where the bones had been kept.

Recently, they had sent the relics to Hyderabad-based Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology for DNA verification even as the Georgian counterparts sent the relics found there for similar test to USA for matching.

Meanwhile, several delegations from Georgia visited the site in Old Goa and the Indian archaeologists are scheduled to visit Georgia soon for further research on the Saint's relics.


UNI

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