The Beteli Center

A B O U T T H E C E N T E R

The Beteli Center serves as a multipurpose center located near the center of Tbilisi, Georgia.
The Center takes its name from the Hebrew word ל ֵא) Bethel), ბეთელი meaning “the house of
God.” The Beteli Center works closely as an arm of the Evangelical Baptist Church of Georgia to
uphold its mission of reconciliation among the ethnic, religious, and social groups in Georgia. In
addition, the Center also acts as a place to house international pilgrims who come to Georgia
for cultural experiences. Finally, the Center also hosts the cultural experiences which continues
centuries long tradition of icon painting.

H I S T O R Y

In 1999 following the aftermath of the Second Chechen-Russian War, Chechen refugees began
fleeing into Georgia seeking asylum. During this time, members of the Cathedral Baptists Church,
later known as the Peace Cathedral, sought to provide support for the refugees which led to their
work with the humanitarian organization Beteli. They began their relief efforts with the
establishment of a school for the refugee children. In 2000, the organization then moved on to
construct a building as a continuation of their relief efforts. This building became the Beteli
Center. It has been offering support to the people from different countries of the world.

M I S S I O N

DThe primary mission of the Beteli Center at its founding was to provide aid to struggling Chechen
refugees fleeing the Second Chechen-Russian War after the ECB community of Georgia began
long-term relief efforts to attempt to help the refugees integrate and make a new life in
Georgia. Since then, its mission has expanded with the goal that the Beteli Center itself will
become a multipurpose center to help the Georgian people and Georgian society to recover after
the collapse of the Soviet Union through developing projects and plans meant to heal and
advance the country’s society as a whole. Many of these new purposes for the Center include
acting as a home for the elderly, many of whom became desperately poor after the collapse of
the Soviet Union and unable to find jobs in the new economic environment of Georgia, to provide
training seminars in a variety of fields of including computers, business, hand skill training,
carpentry, etc. The center also functions as a library, conference center, Art school carpenter’s
workshop, and provides offices for the Evangelical Baptist Church of Georgia.
Recently it has been sheltering refugees from Ukraine. The Ukrainians have established their
workshop “Kulbabka” – dandelion, Where they produce ceramic artifacts.

A R C H I T E C T U R E + L A Y O U T

The Beteli Center’s total acreage encompasses roughly 4,300m with the building itself occupying
2,140m of that land. It consists of two floors each divided into 3 parts. The center of the building’s
front-facing façade is decorated with a mural of the three guests Abraham is said to have received
in the book of Genesis and is meant to symbolize that the Center is openly hospitable to all who
come to its doors.
The 1st portion of the 1st floor is primarily designed to take care of the elderly or sickly and
includes a common room, single and double apartments/guest rooms, single apartments with
handicap accommodations, an elevator to the second floor, a washing room, and a therapeutic
art room that also houses the dianconicol Sisters. The 2nd portion of the 1st floor, often referred
to as the main part of the building, includes the main entrance, a small dining room/conference
room, a main dining room, kitchen, storage facilities, and a toilet and dressing room for the
personnel. The 3rd portion is reserved for continuing skill development and job training with
several classrooms, triple bedrooms for students complete with bathroom facilities, teacher
bedrooms, and offices for school facilities as well as for the Evangelical Baptist Church of Georgia.
Future plans for this particular section of the center include centering a business school here,
organizing language and computer training for young people who may be under-qualified to find
a job, training for church workers and pastors, and hosting conferences on topics such as ecology,
ethics, and theoretical thinking courses to accompany the more hand skills training aspects of
many of the programs.
The 2nd floor of the Beteli Center is dedicated mostly to the upper management portions of the
operation. The 1st part of the 2nd floor serves as the base of operations for the work the Center
does though the Humanitarian Charity Association, “Beteli,” housing St. Luke’s Chapel
(consecrated in 2004 by Bishops Stephen Platten and Malkhaz Songhulashvili) the main
administration for the organization as well as storage space to house many of the goods which
are then given to the poor in Tbilisi and beyond.1 The 2nd portion of the floor serves as the
conference section of the main building with a hall capable of housing approximately 400-500
people. Finally, the 3rd portion of the floor is reserved to act both as a library to store academic
texts as well as an art gallery to display traditional Georgian artworks.