The Foundation of the Church and Archaeological Museum of the Holy Metropolis of Abkhazia was founded by Archimandrite Dorotheos (Dbar) in 2002 at the New Athos Theological School.
The Foundation has an extensive collection of pre-revolutionary books, icons, lithographs, photographs and church utensils of XVIII – XX centuries. In addition, various architectural artifacts of ancient Abkhaz temples and other archaeological materials dating back to the X-XIX centuries are kept in the Foundation. The collection also contains a collection of paintings and graphic works on religious themes of modern Abkhaz artists.
Most of the exhibits of the Foundation of the Archaeological Museum of HMA were discovered or acquired in Abkhazia from 2002 to the present time.
In order to accommodate the exposition of the Church and Archaeological Museum of HMA, it was decided to use the eastern three-storey outbuilding of the New Athos monastery. In Soviet times, this building was equipped as an exhibition hall for a branch of the Abkhaz State Museum. In 2010, in the course of reconstruction works within the framework of the Comprehensive Plan for the Social and Economic Development of the Republic of Abkhazia, all internal ceilings and partitions of the outbuildings of the Eastern building were dismantled. After the completion of the reconstruction works, only bearing walls remained in all buildings of the Eastern wing (including the building of the future Church and Archaeological Museum of HMA).
On 16 January 2019, at the meeting of the Council of the Holy Metropolis of Abkhazia there was considered an issue on the establishment of the Church and Archaeological Museum as a structural division of HMA. This proposal of Archimandrite Dorotheos (Dbar) was approved unanimously by all members of the council. In June 2019, the Charter of the HMA Church and Archeological Museum with the corresponding documents was prepared and approved. In July 2019, the staff of the HMA Church and Archeological Museum was formed.
From 2015 to the present time, the online exposition of the Foundation of the Archaeological Museum of HMA has been replenished. Exhibit materials (about 200 exhibits) are already available on the official website of HMA: www.anyha.org/category/museum/. The use of materials from the Foundation of the Church and Archaeological Museum of HMA for commercial purposes is unacceptable.
Since 24 July 2019, the Church-Archaeological Museum of HMA offers to visitors of the New Athos Monastery an excursion to the cathedral church of St. Panteleimon, which includes an introduction to the history, architecture and frescoes of the church. According to the legislation of the Republic of Abkhazia, the bookkeeping of the Holy Metropolis of Abkhazia provides data on tickets sold to the tax inspectorate of the Gudauta district to pay VAT.
The collected funds from the sale of tickets will be used to restore the Eastern wing of the New Athos monastery and the building of the Church and Archaeological Museum of HMA.
The administration of the Church and Archaeological Museum of HMA appeals to all residents of Abkhazia with a request to provide information or transfer to the museum of materials and artifacts on the ancient and modern history of Christianity in Abkhazia.
Address: Republic of Abkhazia, Holy Metropolis of Abkhazia, Monastery of St. Apostle Simon the Canaanite in New Athos. Phone: 7 (940) 7070497.