Isolated and sheltered from the rest of the world by the high peaks of the Caucasus Mountains, the Svan people have preserved and carried on their ancient culture for centuries. Eastern Orthodoxy arrived around the sixth century, yet, it quickly meshed together with primal customs such as sun worship, blood feuds, and animal sacrifices. This syncretized culture still runs deep among the people.

Because life became increasingly easier beyond the mountains, and deadly avalanches killed many in the late 1980s, many Svan have moved from their ancient homes and villages to the low lands of Georgia. Yet, they still hold to their deeply rooted heritage. Many return yearly to their villages for feast days and family rituals. Their unique music is experiencing a revival, though their unwritten language is dying. Those who remain in the mountains retain their old ways of living, their spiritual traditions, and their language.

The Svan look to a future of increasing notoriety, tourism, and progress; yet, a future of gospel witness looks dim. Will you pray that God will send laborers to this people?

Winter 2014-15