Saint Razhden, Protomartyr of the Georgian Church (†457)
Memory 3 (16) August
Saint Razhden the Protomartyr was descended from a noble Persian family. When Holy King Vakhtang Gorgasali married the daughter of the Persian king Hormuzd III Balunducht, the queen took Razhden with her to
In Kartli Razhden converted to the Christian Faith, and King Vakhtang presented him with an estate and appointed him as a military adviser and commander.
At that time
His accomplishments in this battle earned Razhden his distinction as a brave and virtuous warrior.
Before long the furious King Peroz ordered that “a certain Persian aristocrat who had converted to Christianity and survived the battle” be taken captive. The Persians surrounded Razhden, bound his hands and feet, and delivered him to their king. Peroz received him with feigned tenderness, saying, “Greetings, my virtuous Razhden! Peace be to you! Where have you been all this time, and for what reason have you turned from the faith of your fathers to confess a creed in which your fathers did not instruct you?”
Razhden fearlessly asserted that Christianity is the only true faith and that Christ is the only true Savior of mankind. King Peroz tried to conceal his anger and cunningly lure Razhden to his side, but his attempt was in vain. Convinced that his efforts were futile, Peroz finally ordered that the saint be beaten without mercy. The expert executioners trampled St. Razhden, battered him, knocked out his teeth, dragged him across jagged cliffs, then chained him in heavy irons and cast him into prison.
When the news of Razhden's suffering and captivity spread to Mtskheta, the Georgian nobility came to Peroz and requested that he free the holy man. Peroz consented to their request, but made Razhden vow to return.
“If he hopes in the Crucified One, then he also is fit to suffer crucifixion!” Such was the Persians' verdict. They erected a cross, crucified Christ's humble servant, and prepared to shoot at the pious man with bow and arrow.
“Into Thy hands, O Lord, I commit my spirit!” were the last words of St. Razhden.
That night a group of Christians stole the Persians' cross, took the holy martyr's body down from it, and buried his holy relics in secret. A few years later Vakhtang Gorgasali translated St. Razhden's relics from Tsromi to Nikozi (in central
O radiant star and Great-martyr Razhden, thou who didst turn from godlessness to walk in the way of the righteous, suffer trials for Christ, and stand out among the saints, we believers glorify thee with divine praise. Through thine intercessions deliver us from every temptation!
For further information on the book THE LIVES OF THE GEORGIAN SAINTS by Archpriest Zakaria Machitadze contact St. Herman Press:
St. Herman Press, P.O. Box 70, Platina, CA 96076
17 / 08 / 2007
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