Tbilisi [Georgia], July 10 (ANI): External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar handed over the holy relics of St. Queen Ketevan, a 17th century Georgian Queen, to the people of Georgia at a grand ceremony on Saturday.
Addressing the event, Jaishankar said, "Today is a special day, not only for Georgia, but also for India. I have the honour to hand over the holy relics of St. Ketevan to the people of Georgia. I consider myself blessed that the purpose of my first visit to Georgia is such an auspicious one."
St. Queen Ketevan was a 17th century Georgian Queen who attained martyrdom. Her relics were found in 2005 at the St. Augustine Convent in Old Goa, India, on the basis of medieval Portuguese records.
"The holy relics were preserved at the St Augustine church in Goa, since the 17th century. Given the immense spiritual value that this relic holds for the people of Georgia, we had kept a secret heritage, as our own. Its return is a testimony to the warm and friendly relations," Jaishankar said.
"I particularly thank the good people of Goa, who have been such reverential custodians of this holy treasure. They have done India proud by being true to our tradition," he said.
He further said, "The martyrdom of St. Queen Ketevan is a story of courage and sacrifice. Her relics were taken to India by two devoted Augustinian monks. One part of the holy relics still remain in India as a remainder of our shared past. But the part, which has now come back permanently to Georgia, due to the decision made by Prime Minister Narendra Modi will surely inspire generations to come in this land."
The presence of some of the relics in India and Georgia is a bridge of faith between our two countries. I hope that in the coming years. The people of both our nations will traverse that bridge is spirituality as much as friendship, Jaishankar added. (ANI)