300 years of Georgian-Romanian relations
In 2019 Georgia and Romania celebrate the 300th anniversary of Georgian-Romanian relations, however, this is not an exact date and we could start counting from XVII-XVIII centuries. The friendly relations between these two nations stand on three bright pillars: Martyr Anthim the Iberian, Romanian cleric and public figure of Georgian descent,
Metropolitan of Hungaro-Wallachia († 1716), St. Martyr Constantin Brâncoveanu - the Prince of Wallachia († 1714) and Vakhtang VI Bagrationi - the ruler of Kartli and later, the King († 1737).
As it often happens in history, all these prominent personalities have ended their worldly life tragically, but they had left great legacy that the future generations will remember and be proud of. Among these things is the creation of a solid basis for Georgian-Romanian relations, which had begun with the foundation of the first Georgian typography. We should definitely mention here subdeacon Mihail Ştefan (Stepaneshvili, Iştvanovici), Romanian typographer and the best disciple of Anthim the Iberian, which was personally sent to Georgia by Constantin Brâncoveanu and Anthim in order to lead the Georgian printing house and book printing process; also, Domenti IV, the Catholicos of Kartli, younger brother of Vakhtang VI, should be mentioned as a contributor to the strengthening of relations between two nations.
The following chronology are related to the above mentioned facts:
• c. 1650 –the birth of Anthim the Iberian in Georgia, secular name Andria;
• 1654 – the birth of Constantin Brâncoveanu;
• c. 1670 - Andria, who had been kidnapped from his homeland, was ransomed by the Patriarch of Jerusalem Dositheos II, later he took monastic vows as Anthim;
• 1675 – the birth of Vakhtang VI;
• 1688 - Constantin Brâncoveanu became the Prince of Wallachia;
• c. 1688-1689 – Domenti, brother of Vakhtang VI, (the future Catholicos of Kartli) is being in Jerusalem, with the Patriarch Dositheos II, where he apparently took monastic vows
• 1689-90 – upon request of Constantin Brâncoveanu, Prince of Wallachia, Anthim settled in Romania, where he learned Romanian language and typography
• 1691 – Anthim was appointed as the head of the Princely typography in Bucharest;
• 1694-1701 - Anthim became the hegumen of Snagov monastery, where he founded the typography;
• 1701 - Anthim returnes to Bucharest and leads the Princely typography once again
• 1703 - Vakhtang VI was appointed as the ruler of Kartli (Janinishin);
• c. 1704 – Domenti, the brother of Vakhtang VI, traveled to Wallachia and Moldova (presumably with the Patriarch Dositheos II of Jerusalem), where he probably has met Anthim the Iberian and the idea of establishing a printing press in Tbilisi was born;
• 1705 - Anthim became the Bishop of Râmnicu and founded the typography there too;
• 1705 – Domenti, the brother of Vakhtang VI, became Catholicos of Kartli;
• c. 1705-1706 - Vakhtang VI maintains correspondence with Constantin Brâncoveanu about the establishment of Georgian printing press in Tbilisi and requests to send him a knowledgeable man;
• 1707 - Typographer Mihail Ştefan (Stepaneshvili, Iştvanovici), the best student of Anthim, under the command of Constantin Brâncoveanu, departed from Wallachia to Tbilisi in order to establish a printing press and took with him all necessary equipment and printing paper.
• 1708 – Anthim the Iberian becomes the Metropolitan of the Hungaro-Wallachia and establishes printing press in Târgoviște
• 1709 - The Gospel in Georgian language was printed under the supervision of Mihail Ştefan in Tbilisi printing house;
• c. 1709-1710 - Two copies of the first Georgian Gospel were sent to Anthim, who bounded them and sent to Constantin Brâncoveanu with the dedication on behalf of the grateful Georgian people;
• 1712 - Vakhtang VI was called by the Shah of Iran to Isfahan and was in fact imprisoned for 4 years;
• 1712 - Mihail Ştefan left Georgia;
• 1714 - Constantin Brâncoveanu was martyred with his four sons in Istanbul;
• 1716 – Anthim the Iberian was martyred in Adrianopolis (nowadays, Edirne city in Turkey);
• 1716 - Vakhtang VI returned to Kartli and became a king;
• 1724 - Iranians forced Vakhtang VI to leave Georgia and exile to Russia;
• 1737 –Vakhtang VI died in exile in Astrakhan, Russia.
• 1709-1722 - existence of Tbilisi printing press, during this time frame 20 books of theological and secular character were printed.