New Delhi: The Queen was forced to convert to Islam and join a harem by the Iranian ruler, but she had opposed the same.
"Today is a special day, not only for Georgia but also for India. I have the honor to hand over the holy relics of St. Queen Ketevan to the people of Georgia. I consider myself blessed that the purpose of my first visit to Georgia is such an auspicious one," said External Affairs Minister Dr. S Jaishankar at the Handing over Ceremony of St. Queen Ketevan relics during his two-day visit.
"Delighted to welcome my Indian counterpart @DrSJaishankar on his first visit to Georgia, who has brought the relics of Georgia's Queen Ketevan.
This visit is to play a huge role in strengthening ties between our countries and upgrade our relations to a completely new level," tweeted David Zalkaliani, Vice-Prime Minister and foreign minister of the country.
The presence of some relics in India and Georgia is a "bridge of faith" between two countries Dr. Jaishankar said, "The martyrdom of St. Queen Ketevan is a story of courage and sacrifice. Two devoted Augustinian monks who witnessed the last years of her life took her relics to India.
One part of the holy relics remain in India as a reminder of our shared past."
The relic was excavated in Goa in 2016.
St. Queen Ketevan was the Queen of Kakheti, a kingdom in eastern Georgia in the 17th century.
She was married to Prince David of Kakheti, who later became the king of the region.
After his death, Ketevan devoted herself to religious works.
In his speech, Dr. Jaishankar said, "The holy relics have been preserved at the St. Augustine Church in Goa since the 17th century. Given the immense spiritual value this relic holds for the people of Georgia, we had kept this sacred heritage as our own. Its return is a testimony to our warm and friendly relations."
He also thanked the "good people of Goa who have been such reverential custodians of this holy treasure."
"They have done India proud by being true to our tradition of respecting faiths," Dr. Jaishankar said.
It is said India's 'Panchatantra' influenced Georgian folk legends.
During the medieval period, Georgian missionaries, travelers, and traders visited India.
Some Georgians also served in the courts of Mughal emperors.
Udaipuri Begum, one of Mughal ruler Aurangzeb's wives, was of Georgian descent, says Wikipedia.