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Back at Transfiguration Convent, Sister Paraskevia is teaching two novices how to care for four terminally ill cancer patients, who also happen to be sisters. Since so many critically ill people approach the sisters for assistance, Mother Mariam has decided to establish a school to train nurses. She is confident the graduates will find jobs; the Georgian Orthodox Church is perhaps the most respected institution in the country, which was mired in corruption in the years leading up to the 2003 Rose Revolution and has yet to right itself fully.

Now, as Georgia continues this difficult task, the Georgian Orthodox Church is making its own recovery, reviving its rich religious traditions. “Georgia once had a wealth of experience in spirituality,” said Father Giorgi. “Now it has had to start all over from the very beginning.”

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Paul Rimple is a freelance reporter based in Tbilisi. Photojournalist Molly Corso contributed additional reporting.

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Tags: Communism/Communist Georgian Orthodox Church