Takaishvili, E. S.

Completing his education at St. Petersburg University, Takaishvili returned to his native Tiflis and became an important public figure through his teaching and archeological activities. He worked for both the spread of literacy among the native population, and the collection and publication of ancient Georgian manuscripts. He led excavations to the 10th-century Bagration principality of Tayk Khardjk, in Georgian Turkey, especially interested in its churches. During the Great War he helped to organize digs in Northern Anatolia, expanding Georgia, and after 1917 he helped to found a university in Tbilisi and was a member of the short-lived constituent assembly. He took his enormous collection of Georgian antiquities to Paris, where he kept them until he was able to return with them after World War II; the return of the antiquities eased relations between Stalin and de Gaulle. Then, he lived under house arrest in Tbilisi; Georgian Church canonized him in 2002.