GIORGI ATONELI (THE ATHONITE)
GIORGI ATONELI (THE ATHONITE) (ca. 1009-1065). Georgian philosopher and scholar, the head of the Iviron Monastery. Giorgi Atoneli was born into a royal official’s family in Trialeti and received education at the monasteries at Tadzrisi and Kakhuli. Around 1022, he traveled to Constantinople, where he studied for the next 10 years. Returning to Georgia, he entered the Kakhuli Monastery and embarked on his religious career. In the 1030s, Giorgi Atoneli traveled widely in Anatolia, the Holy Land and Greece and lived at the Georgian monastery on the Black Mountain, where he was mentored by prominent Georgian monk Giorgi Shekenebuli. In 1040, he moved to the Mount Athos in Greece, where he joined the Georgian Iviron Monastery and became its head four years later.
Under Giorgi’s direction, the Iviron Monastery earned a reputation for its scholarship and became a center of the Georgian cultural life. Giorgi maintained close contact with Georgia and helped King Bagrat IV to regulate the Georgian Orthodox Church (GOC). In 1057, he defended the autocephaly of GOC in a bitter argument with the Church of Antioch. He directed the translations of numerous Greek, Syriac and Arabic works into Georgian, including the treatises of John of Damascus, Basil the Great, Athanaseus of Alexandria and others. Giorgi Atoneli also produced the so-called Giorgiseuli edition of the Bible. He wrote several influential works that set the standards for the Georgian hymnography, liturgy, hagiography and others fields; among his major works were Tskhovreba netarisa mamisa chuenisa ioanesi da eptvimesi da utskebai mis mokalakobisa matisai, Sakharebai gamokrebuli satselitsdo, Pavle gamokrebuli satselitsdo, Tueni atormetnive and others. He is buried at the Iviron Monastery in Greece.