The name of the monastery originates from that of the village Bethany in Palestine, recorded in the New Testament. The monastery was depopulated and half-ruined due to wars and foreign invasions. It was restored in the latter half of the 19th century, through the efforts of Hieromonk Spiridon Ketiladze, succeeded by Hieromonk Ilia Pantsulaia. Both were shot during the Soviet purges.The monastery consists of the main domed church of the Nativity of the Mother of God, a smaller hall church of St. George (1196), and a ruined tower. According to modern scholars, the church is actually an expanded, domed and decorated version of an earlier basilica probably dating from the 10th century.