The saint who brought the Christian faith to Georgia

Saint Nina, enlightener of Georgia

Saint Nina

Saint Nina is revered for her apostolic service that brought Christianity to Georgia. Through her Christian virtues and ascetic life, she was gifted with the power to work wonders, through which many people came to Christ voluntarily. She was also a loving, patient and respectful teacher who reached out to the royalty and the common people in the capitals and the remote highlands.

Saint Nina was born in 296 in Cappadocia, a city with a large Georgian population at the time. As a child, the saint was spending a lot of her time reading the Scriptures and wept many times over the passages about Christ's crucifixion. One of them (e.g. John 19:23-24) spoke about the Chiton of the Lord, which, as she learned from her family, had been taken to Iberia (present-day Georgia). She also learned that Georgia was a land where the Virgin Mary herself was going to preach but did not do so because she had been directed by an angel of the Lord to go to Athos instead. Saint Nina was praying zealously so she could see Georgia converted to Christianity and find the Chiton of Jesus Christ. After one of those prayers, the Holy Virgin appeared to her in her dream blessing her to go to the Iberian Kingdom and leaving in her hands a cross of grapevine branches (now kept at the Zion Cathedral Church in Tbilisi).

Saint Nina's mission to Georgia was difficult and perilous. Her companions were martyred on orders from the emperor of Armenia, which they were crossing en route, and she barely escaped execution. In Georgia, after healing many members of the royalty and common people through her prayer to Christ, she was brought before the king who ordered her to be executed under pressure from the pagans. As the preparation for the execution was in progress, a thick mist covered the area where the king was standing, causing him to lose his ability to see. When payer to the Pagan idols failed to restore his vision, he called out to the Lord and was healed. The King of Iberia accepted baptism, and Christianity eventually installed itself in Georgia.

Saint Nina continued her mission in the Georgian highlands. Through her prayers, the whereabouts of the Chiton was revealed to her. Having seen the conversion of Iberia to Christianity, St. Nina ended her Apostolic service. She received Holy Communion and died peacefully in 335, at age 39.

January 27, 2022
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