St. Nina, the
Enlightener of Georgia
January 27 (January 14, Old Calendar)
St. Nina (also Nunia, Nino) was the niece of the Jerusalem Patriarch Juvenal. From childhood she had loved God with all her heart and deeply pitied those who did not believe in Him. Her father Zebulon, of Cappadocia, left for a hermitage and her mother became a deaconess, after which St. Nina was given to a pious nun for her education. The nun frequently told of Georgia (presently Gruzia) when it was yet a pagan country. These tales instilled in Nina a strong desire to visit this country and to enlighten its inhabitants with the light of the Gospels.
The Mother of God appeared to Nina and promised her that she would take her to that land. When the Lord opened a path to her, the young Nina indeed went to Georgia, where she quickly gained the love of the people. She baptized Mirian, the Tsar of Georgia, his wife Nana and their son, Bakar, who then aided Nina in her missionary efforts zealously. In the course of her life, St. Nina traveled throughout Georgia and succeeded in bringing all the people to the Christian faith-- all during the time when the Emperor Diocletian was fearfully persecuting Christians. Hearing of the power of her prayers, many of the ill began to come to her. The Bishop and priests of Constantinople were summoned, and the first Church was built in Georgia, dedicated to the Apostles. Slowly, almost all of Georgia became Christian.
St. Nina, desiring neither honor nor fame, withdrew to a mountain and there, in solitude, thanked God for the conversion of the pagans to Christianity. After several years she gave up her solitude and went to Kahetia (Khiva?) where she converted the Tsarina Sofia to Christianity. She rested from her many labors and entered into peace in the Lord in the year 335. On the place of her death, the Tsar Marian erected a Church in honor of the great martyr George, a distant relative of St. Nina. Her grave is in a church in Samtavro. She performed many miracles during her lifetime and after her death.
The finding of Christ's chiton is connected to the memory of St. Nina. During the crucifixion of the Savior, this chiton fell to a Roman soldier by way of casting lots and surfaced in Georgia thereafter. Through God's intervention, St. Nina found this chiton buried by the roots of a cedar tree.
Troparion, Tone 4
O handmaid of the Word of God,/ who in preaching equaled the first-called Apostle Andrew,/ and emulated the other Apostles,/ enlightener of Iberia and reed-pipe of the Holy Spirit,/ holy Nina, pray to Christ our God to save our souls.
Kontakion, Tone 2
Let us sing praises to the chosen of Christ,/ Equal-to-the-Apostles and preacher of God's word,/ the bearer of good tidings who brought the people of Katralina/ to the path of life and truth,/ the disciple of the Mother of God,/ our zealous intercessor and unwearying guardian,/ the most praised Nina.
Holy Protection Russian Orthodox Church
2049 Argyle Ave. Los Angeles, California 90068