Thursday, February 21, 2008
Saint Nino (Georgian: წმინდა ნინო, Greek: Άγιη Νίνω),(sometimes Nina or Ninny) Equal to the Apostles and the Enlightener of Georgia, (c. 296 – c. 338 or 340) was a woman who preached and introduced Christianity in Georgia.
According to most widely traditional accounts, she was from Kolastra, Cappadocia (Greek: Καππαδοκία), was a relative of Saint George, and came to Georgia (ancient Iberia) from Constantinople. Other sources claim she was from Rome, Jerusalem or Gaul (modern France) . She performed miraculous healings and converted the Georgian queen, Nana, and eventually the pagan king Mirian III of Iberia, who, lost in darkness and blinded on a hunting trip, found his way only after he prayed to "Nino's God". Mirian declared Christianity an official religion (c. 327) and Nino continued her missionary activities among Georgians until her death.
Her tomb is still shown at the Bodbe Monastery in Kakheti, eastern Georgia. St. Nino has become one of the most venerated saints of the Georgian Orthodox Church and her attribute, a Grapevine cross, is a symbol of Georgian Christianity.
Nino reached the borders of ancient Georgian Kingdom of Iberia in about 320 A.D. There, she placed a Christian cross in the small town of Akhalkalaki and started preaching the Christian faith in Urbnis and finally reaching Mtskheta (the capital of Iberia). Iberian Kingdom has been influenced by the neighbouring Persian Empire which played an important role as the regional power in the Caucasus. The Iberian King Mirian III and his nation worshiped the syncretic gods of Armazi and Zaden. Soon after the arrival of Nino in Mstkheta, the Queen of Iberia Nana (daughter of King Asphagor) requested the audience with the Cappadician.
Queen Nana, who suffered from severe illness, had some knowledge of Christianity but not yet converted to it. Nino having restored her health, won to herself disciples from the Queen's attendants, including a Jewish priest and his daughter, Abiathar and Sidonia. Queen officially converted to Christianity and was baptized by Nino herself. King Mirian aware of his wife's religious conversion was tolerant of her new faith however, he secluded himself from Nino and the growing Christian community in his kingdom. However, his isolation to Christianity did not last for long. According to the legend, while on the hunting trip, the King was suddenly struck blind as the total darkness emerged in the woods. In a desperate state, King Mirian uttered the prayer to the God of St Nino:
If indeed that Christ whom the Captive had preached to his Wife was God, then let Him now deliver him from this darkness, that he too might forsake all other gods to worship Him.
In 334 A.D, Mirian commissioned the building of the first Christian church in Iberia which was finally completed in 379 A.D. on the spot where now stands the Svetitskhoveli Cathedral in Mstkheta.
Nino, having witnessed the conversion of Iberia to Christianity, withdrew to the mountain pass in Bodbe, Kakheti. St Nino died soon after; immediately after her death, King Mirian commenced with the building of monastery in Bodbe where her tomb can still be seen in the churchyard.
St Nino in Iberia
Posted by bushganizer258 at 8:09 AM