1. Evidence of old-timers collected by Chichinadze
EVIDENCE OF MARTYRS AND CONFESSORS COLLECTED BY ZACHARY CHICHINADZE 1. Evidence of old-timers collected by Chichinadze
Many of the events related to the persecution of Orthodox Christians in the Georgian lands could have gone into oblivion and remained unknown if it was not for the works of the Georgian publisher and ethnographer Zachary Chichinandze.
It was through this man, who was deeply in love with Georgian history and culture, the Lord brought to us the most valuable data related to the Islamization of western Georgia. The publisher and writer Zachary Chichinadze, who published more than 300 books in Georgian, visited Adjara for the first time in 1889, brought books written in Georgian to Kobuleti for free distribution among local Muslims, torn away from the Turkish rule from their native culture and writing. It should be mentioned that during the period in which Chichinadze visited Adjara lands, its borders differ from today's borders. In 1878, after the next Russian-Turkish war, the so-called Berlin Treaty was signed. According to it, the historical Turkish lands of the ancient principality of Tao-Klarjeti and Adjara, including Batumi, Artvin, Kara, and Ardagan regions were included in the Russian Empire. The last three of them, most of their territories are not part of Georgia today, since the Soviet government already concluded with the Turkey in 1921, first the Moscow Treaty, and after it the Kars Treaty, according to which the southern part of the Batumi region, the Kara region, Artvin and The Ardahan regions were passed to Turkey again.
However, Chichinadze managed to conduct his research exactly in that happy period for Georgia, when the lands were freed from the gentiles and gathered together. In 1890 and 1891, he again came to this region with a new load of books. After that, he stayed in Adjara for educational work and ethnographic research for 10 years. Chichinadze collected oral traditions, proverbs, customs, sayings, studies the peculiarities of local Islamic practices while traveling through the villages of Georgian Muslims. Local residents brought their children to learn Georgian literacy. The result of these became the book "History of the former Ottoman Georgia", "Islamization of Georgia or Spread of Islam in western Georgia in the 17-18th centuries" and others. Thanks to these works, we know a lot about the feat of the martyrs who gave their lives for Christ during the Ottoman invasion and domination.
It is necessary to mention that the works of Chichinadze have a strictly scientific nature, alien to any, even Orthodox, prejudice. He only scrupulously collects the data and transmits it as he heard from Georgian Muslims, trying not to process it, give estimates and analysis. He behaves the way an objective witness or a scientist. In his presentation, he does not take the side of the persecuted or the persecutors, but only narrates about what the Adjarian Muslims who passed on from memory to the memory of those terrible events told him. It is especially valuable that it actually comes from Muslims, not from Christians. So it obviously cannot be embellished in favor of Christians, which sometimes happens because of jealousy, not according to the mind of the narrator, if he narrates through the prism of his ardent faith. On the contrary, when reading these testimonies, it is worthwhile to evaluate them with the understanding that they came from those who once entered Islam, denied Christ and conveyed these memories to their descendants, who were already brought up in an alien religion. This means that the accusations against Christians, which sometimes can be heard in these stories, are biased, put forward by the enemies of the faith of Christ and the interpretation of events are of an engaged nature. In general, these certificates are just as valuable as the documents of the political administration and internal affairs that tell about executions and persecutions against thousands of Orthodox new martyrs.