Near to Mtskheta, on the left bank of the Mtkvari River, in the desert place, in a small cave the Assyrian Father Shio Mghvimeli – one of the thirteen Assyrian fathers, settled. He was from Antioch and grew up in the family of the pious nobles. During his adolescence the Holy Father joined the disciples of Ioane Zedzaneli, became a monk and spent twenty years with Father Ioane. As the reward for his honest work and obedience, Father Shio got the talent to cure. Worthy Father Ioane received the sign of God from above and He “with Twelve Disciples” came to the country Iveria to strengthen the Christian faith there. The first arrival of the Assyrian fathers in Georgia was in I half of VI c. According to Kartlis Tsxovreba”, this time King Pharasmanes/Parsman ruled the country during which the Iranians domination increased, the king’s institute was abolished and Christianity was threatened. Pharasmanes actively turned to Byzantium and afterwards asked them for the important privileges for the Georgian Church.
Part of the Assyrian fathers came to Kartli in this serious political-religious situation and initially settled on Zedazeni mountain. With blessing of Catholicos Evlavios and Father Ioane, the Holy Fathers went to preach in different parts of the country. Shio Mghvimei found a cave near Mtskheta, in the rocks of Sarkineti and began to serve there. According to the legend, pigeons would bring little food to the monk Shio. Mother Mary and John the Baptizer appeared in front of Shio in the cave and advised him to start a monastic community. Shortly after this many monks gathered on the territory and a cross-domed church of the John the Baptizer was built half in the ground. Despite the constructions added in XI and XVIII c. c. the Church kept its original face.
Shio Mghvim’s Monastery Complex consists of several terraced buildings of different times: Shio Mghvimeli’s original residence and the – cemetery, the Temple of John the Baptizer, the Church of the Assumption of Virgin Mary, the Hall Church of Cross Ascension and the Caves for the monks, which at the same time was a reliable shelter during the enemy invasions.