In pagan times Katskhi Pillar was thought to represent a local god of fertility. With the arrival of Christianity in the 4th century, it became a place of seclusion and asceticism.
A church was first built atop the rock between the 6th and 8th centuries — no one knows exactly how or why.
It is not known how the pagans who built the temple carried the materials up the steep pillar without large cranes that are used today.
The church is currently being restored with the help of brave volunteers who carry vital materials up the steep ladder.
Father Maxim, 55, who has lived in the church for 18 years, says he dreamed of living there as a child.
‘Since I was a child I dreamed of settling on the top of this pillar as other hermits did in ancient times,’ he told the Daily Mirror.
‘When I came here with my friends I envied the monk who had lived there long ago – now I am here too I am happy.’