The theme of the dissertation is “The Statutes of ‘Vakhanis Kvabebi’: Place and Significance in the Ancient Georgian Monastic Tradition”. It is a study of the content and circumstances of the formation of the statutes (typicon) of one of the most ancient Georgian monasteries, the famous Vakhan cave monastery.
The scientific supervisors of the work were Rev. Prof. Alexander Shchelkachev, Head of the Department of General and Russian Church History and Canon Law at STOU, and Associate Professor Peter Yurievich Malkov, Head of the Department of Theology. Consultant advice was provided by Ia Evgenievna Melnikova and Natalia Gennadievna Golovnina, teachers at the Faculty of Theology.
The official opponents and the authors of the initial reviews noted that the dissertation submitted for defense testified to fundamental and scrupulously conducted research. The author managed to date the Statute of the Vakhan Caves – the text is from the first third of the 12th century – as well as to find out that this typicon was written or finally edited by a layman, Takaedin Mkhargdzel-Tmogveli, a representative of the ancient aristocratic Mkhargdzeli family and son of Sargis I.
Metropolitan Andre’s research allows us to speak of the originality of the spiritual tradition of the Vakhan monastery reflected in the typicon. He was able to convincingly demonstrate this by examining the Statutes in the context of the Eastern ascetic and canonical tradition: the complex of cathedral definitions, Byzantine canonical monuments, and other monastic statutes and rules. One of the areas of his work with the manuscript of the Vakhan Statutes was the identification of texts of Holy Scripture used in it, how specifically scriptural texts are quoted and subjected to original exegetical interpretation by the author of the Statutes.
The members of the dissertation council unanimously voted in favor of awarding Metropolitan Andrei (Gvazava) the degree of Candidate of Theology, and also expressed the wish that this work, so important for understanding the formation of the modern tradition of Georgian monasticism, be translated into Georgian and published soon.