JUSTINO DA LIVORNO’S LETTER DATED BACK TO 1687 YEAR AS THE SOURCE FOR THE HISTORY OF GEORGIA

Eldar MAMISTVALISHVILI

The paper deals with the letter sent to Rome in 1687 by Justino Da Livornos - a missionary of the Capuchin Order (Rtsihivio, vol.31).

Justino arrived in Georgia in the second half of the 60s of the 17th century (1666-1667). He gained a great authority among the locals because of his good knowledge of the Georgian language. The Capuchins’Mission was founded in 1667 in Gori and was led for 7 years. He became Vice-prefect in 1675 after death of Tbilisi Mission Prefect Seraphino da Melikoka and he led it till October 29, 1687. A new Prefect of the Mission, Brother Bartolomeo da Milano arrived in Tbilisi that day. Although Justino was aware of the Roman chiefs’ desire about his returning back to Rome, he decided to obey neither their desire nor the order and remain under the new Prefect’s leadership. His decision might have been supported by a close relationship with King of Kartli, Giorgi XI who is characterized in his letter. 

After reading the letter, it appears that Justino was a heavy-handed, ambitious person,he had difficulty in finding common language with colleagues. When dealing with them he felt his superiority not only in matters of religion, he didn’t hide it. This must have been the reason why a group of missionaries sent letters of complaint to Rome (Justino particularly picked out Father Dionizio da Piachentsa) and this letter also shows that he was not liked in Rome as well.

According to its theme the article is divided into the following parts:1.`Your Excellence and Dear Patrons’’(The translation of Justino’s letter);2. Inevitability of the knowledge of the Georgian language for the missionaries activity in Georgia; 3. On the Ethnicity of Catholics; 4. About King Giorgi XI Catholicism.

Key words: Georgia, missionary, catholic, orthodox, Armenian, Giorgi XI, Justino, Capuchin Order.