The St. Grigol Peradze Annual International Caucasian Conference has been organized by the Centre since 2002, and concerns historical issues, as well as the contemporary countenance of the Caucasus. From its inception, Dr. David Kolbaia, head of the Centre’s Caucasian Studies seminar, has acted as the session’s initiator, organizer and academic supervisor.
Each year Caucasian scholars from all over the world attend the conference. The sessions are also distinguished by special guests, including members of the clergy and politicians from Caucasian nations. The conference has received the honorary patronage of the Office of Presidents Lech Kaczyński and Bronisław Komorowski.
Selected lectures from the conference are later printed in the Centre’s academic journal “Pro Georgia. Journal of Kartvelological Studies”.
Saint Grigol Peradze was born 13 September 1899 in Bakurciche (Kacheti Province), Georgia. He was a priest in the Georgian Church and a soldier in the defense of Georgian independence against the Bolsheviks in 1921. He later emigrated and lived out the rest of his life abroad. He was a scholar and publisher of the history of the Church and biographies of saints. In 1933, he became a Professor of Patrology and head of the Patrological seminar at the Faculty of Orthodox Theology, University of Warsaw.
In May 1942, he was arrested by the Gestapo in Warsaw. In November that same year, he was sent to Auschwitz. There, sacrificing his life in exchange for the lives of other prisoners, his life ended on 6 December 1942.
Each year, this date is commemorated by the Centre and participants of the conference by laying wreaths under the plaque located on the wall of the University of Warsaw’s Institute of History. The plaque commemorates professors of the University of Warsaw, murdered during the Second World War, among them St. Grigol Peradze.
Grigol Peradze was canonized by the Georgian Orthodox and Apostolic Church in September 1995 as a “saint martyr” and as such he is also worshiped by the Polish Orthodox Church.