Georgia – Israel 2022

A Joint stamp was issued between Israel and Georgia in honor of 30 years of diplomatic relations on December 20, 2022 (information provided by Varda Lask, Israel, and Don Birschel, USA). The issue of the stamp is described in the Israeli brochure as follows:  ” The Umm Leisun inscription appears on an ancient Georgian tombstone made of limestone and is written in Georgian Asomtavruli script. It was discovered in 2002 during the excavation of a Byzantine-period Georgian monastery in the Umm Leisun neighborhood in southern Zur Baher, 4.5 kilometers south of the Old City of Jerusalem. The tombstone was found in an underground crypt beneath a colorful mosaic floor. The crypt contained 24 skeletons, all adult men, as would be expected in a monastery. The most important tomb has an inscription identifying it as that of “Georgian bishop Iohane”, the oldest monk, with the highest status. This inscription is the earliest known example of Georgian script found on any archeological artifact, both in the Holy Land and in Georgia. The inscription is engraved on the tombstone and measures 81 cm X 49 cm. It dates back to the late fifth or first half of the 6th century and is on display in the Knesset Archeological Garden. The full inscription reads: “This is the grave of Iohane, Bishop of Purtavi, a Georgian”. 

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