Saint Greatmartyr Ketevan the Queen of Georgia (+1624) – September 13

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Saint Greatmartyr Ketevan the Queen of Georgia (+1624)

September 13

Source:

https://oca.org

https://oca.org/saints/lives/2017/09/13/102608-greatmartyr-ketevan-the-queen-of-georgia

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The holy Queen Ketevan was the daughter of Ashotan Mukhran-Batoni, a prominent ruler from the Bagrationi royal family. The clever and pious Ketevan was married to Prince David, heir to the throne of Kakheti. David’s father, King Alexander II (1574-1605), had two other sons, George and Constantine, but according to the law the throne belonged to David. Constantine was converted to Islam and raised in the court of the Persian shah Abbas I.

Several years after David and Ketevan were married, King Alexander stepped down from the throne and was tonsured a monk at Alaverdi. But after four months, in the year 1602, the young king David died suddenly. He was survived by his wife, Ketevan, and two children—a son, Teimuraz, and a daughter, Elene—and his father ascended the throne once more.

Upon hearing of David’s death and Alexander’s return to the royal throne, Shah Abbas commanded Alexander’s youngest son, Constantine-Mirza, to travel to Kakheti, murder his father and the middle brother, George, and seize the throne of Kakheti. As instructed, Constantine-Mirza beheaded his father and brother, then sent their heads, like a precious gift, to Shah Abbas.

Their headless bodies he sent to Alaverdi. (Since the beginning of the 11th century, Alaverdi had been the resting place of the Kakhetian kings.) The widowed Queen Ketevan was left to bury her father-in-law and brother-in-law.

But Constantine-Mirza was still unsatisfied, and he proposed to take Queen Ketevan as Continue reading “Saint Greatmartyr Ketevan the Queen of Georgia (+1624) – September 13”

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Saint Joseph Bishop of Alaverdi, Georgia

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Saint Joseph Bishop of Alaverdi, Georgia

September 15

Saint Joseph chose the monastic vocation at a young age. Having arrived in Georgia with his teacher Saint John Zedazni , Saint Joseph settled in Kakheti in the relatively undeveloped and wild Alaverdi region. Here he began his ascetic exploits.

A Kakheti noblemen during an hunt found himself on the Alaverdi plain and was so astonished, seeing Saint Joseph standing at prayer, that he remained with him. Reports about this nobleman becoming a monk and about the holy life of the Monk Joseph spread throughout Kakheti. People seeking holiness and the ascetic life began to throng to Alaverdi to Saint Joseph. A monastery thus arose, and a church in honour of the Great Martyr Saint George was built.

Chosen to lead the monastery, Saint Joseph with fatherly love concerned himself about the brethren of the monastery, and about the spiritual enlightenment of Kakheti. Pagan superstitions were still not eradicated, and Saint Joseph, with cross in hand, often left the monastic solitude to preach the Word of God.

Beholding the saintly and immaculate life of the monk Joseph and his sincere desire to serve them, the Kakheti people willingly and joyfully accepted the Gospel teaching, and abandoned their pagan customs.

Saint Joseph composed a catechism (lost in the 16th Century) by which he taught the flock entrusted to him. Nearing the end of his life of dedicated service, Saint Joseph secluded himself in a tight cell for complete silence. In the year 570 occurred his peaceful and blessed end. Sainted Joseph was buried in the church of the holy Great Martyr Saint George in Alaverdi.

In the 9th Century in place of the former church was erected the great Alaverdi cathedral within which, on the left side of the Altar at the north wall, rests the body of Saint Joseph.

Saint Joseph is a particularly popular saint in Kakheti, particularly around Alaverdi, and it is common to see his icon in people’s homes in Eastern Georgia. The Alaverdoba festival in Kakheti coincides with the autumn harvest of grapes and other crops, and the harvest festival for several days in late September culminates with the feast of Saint Joseph on this day.