RENEWAL TUESDAY: THE COMMEMORATION OF SAINTS RAPHAEL, NICHOLAS, IRENE, AND THE OTHER NEWLY-REVEALED MARTYRS OF LESBOS
Renewal Tuesday: The Commemoration of Saints Raphael, Nicholas, Irene, and the Other Newly-revealed Martyrs of Lesbos, Mark the Apostle and Evangelist, Basil the Holy Martyr Bishop of Amasea, Glaphyra the Righteous, Justa the Nun
ACTS OF THE APOSTLES 2:14-21
In those days, Peter, standing with the eleven, lifted up his voice and addressed them, “Men of Judea and all who dwell in Jerusalem, let this be known to you, and give ear to my words. For these men are not drunk, as you suppose, since it is only the third hour of the day; but this is what was spoken by the prophet Joel: ‘And in the last days it shall be, God declares, that I will pour out my Spirit upon all flesh, and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams; yea, and on my menservants and my maid servants in those days I will pour out my Spirit; and they shall prophesy. And I will show wonders in the heaven above and signs on the earth beneath, blood, and fire, and vapor of smoke; the sun shall be turned into darkness and the moon into blood, before the day of the Lord comes, the great and manifest day. And it shall be that whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.'”
The Lord said to his disciples, “He who hears you hears me, and he who rejects you rejects me, and he who rejects me rejects him who sent me.” The seventy returned with joy, saying, “Lord, even the demons are subject to us in your name!” And he said to them, “I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven. Behold, I have given you authority to tread upon serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy; and nothing shall hurt you. Nevertheless do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you; but rejoice that your names are written in heaven.” In that same hour he rejoiced in the Holy Spirit and said, “I thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that you have hidden these things from the wise and understanding and revealed them to babes; yes, Father, for such was your gracious will.”
Commemoration of Saints Raphael, Nicholas and Irene of Lesbos
The Newly-Appeared Martyrs of Lesbos, Saints Raphael, Nicholas and Irene These Saints were martyred by the Turks on Bright Tuesday
(April 9, 1463) ten years after the Fall of Constantinople. For nearly 500 years, they were forgotten by the people of Lesbos, but “the righteous Judge… opened the things that were hid” (2 Maccabees 12:41).
For centuries the people of Lesbos would go on Bright Tuesday to the ruins of a monastery near Thermḗ, a village northwest of the capital, Mytilene. As time passed, however, no one could remember the reason for the annual pilgrimage. There was a vague recollection that once there had been a monastery on that spot, and that the monks had been killed by the Turks.
In 1959, a pious man named Angelos Rallis decided to build a chapel near the ruins of the monastery. On July 3 of that year, workmen discovered the relics of Saint Raphael while clearing the ground. Soon, the Saints began appearing to various inhabitants of Lesbos and revealed the details of their lives and martyrdom. These accounts form the basis of Photios Kontoglou’s 1962 book A Great Sign (in Greek).
Saint Raphael was born on the island of Ithaka around 1410, and was raised by pious parents. His baptismal name was George, but he was named Raphael when he became a monk. He was ordained to the holy priesthood, and later attained the offices of Archimandrite and Chancellor.
In 1453, Saint Raphael was living in Macedonia with his fellow monastic, Deacon Nicholas, a native of Thessaloniki. In 1454, the Turks invaded Thrace, so the two monks fled to the island of Lesbos. They settled in the Monastery of the Nativity of the Theotokos near Thermi, where Saint Raphael became the Igoumen.
In the spring of 1463, the Turks raided the monastery and captured the monks. They were tortured from Holy Thursday until Bright Tuesday. Saint Raphael was tied to a tree, and the ferocious Turks sawed through his jaw, killing him. Saint Nicholas was also tortured, and he died while witnessing his Elder’s martyrdom. He appeared to people and indicated the spot where his relics were uncovered on June 13, 1960.
Saint Irene was the twelve-year-old daughter of the village mayor, Basil. She and her family had come to the monastery to warn the monks of the invasion. The cruel Hagarenes cut off one of her arms and threw it down in front of her parents. Then the pure virgin was placed in a large earthen cask and a fire was lit under it, suffocating her within. These torments took place before the eyes of her parents, who were also put to death. Her grave and the earthen cask were found on May 12, 1961 after Saints Raphael, Nicholas and Irene had appeared to people and told them where to look.
Others who received the crown of martyrdom on that day were Basil and Maria, the parents of Saint Irene; Theodore, the village teacher; and Eleni, the fifteen-year-old cousin of Saint Irene.
The Saints appeared separately and together, telling people that they wished to be remembered. They asked that their icon be painted, that a Church Service be composed for them, and they indicated the place where their holy relics could be found. Based on the descriptions of those who had seen the Saints, the master iconographer Photios Kontoglou painted their icon. The ever-memorable Father Gerasimos of Little Saint Anne Skete on Mount Athos composed their Church Service.
Many miracles have taken place on Lesbos, and throughout the world. These Saints hasten to help those who invoke them, healing the sick, consoling the sorrowful, granting relief from pain, and bringing many unbelievers and impious individuals back to the Church.
Saint Raphael is tall, middle-aged, and has a beard of moderate length. His hair is black with some grey in it. His face is majestic, expressive, and filled with heavenly grace. Saint Nicholas is short and thin, with a small blond beard. He stands before Saint Raphael with great respect. Saint Irene usually appears with a long yellow dress reaching to her feet. Her blonde hair is divided into two braids which rest on either side of her chest.
Saints Raphael, Nicholas, and Irene (and those with them) are also commemorated on Bright Tuesday. Dr. Constantine Cavarnos has given a detailed account of their life, miracles, and spiritual counsels in Volume 10 of his inspirational series Modern Orthodox Saints (Belmont, MA, 1990).
The Appearance of the Ivḗron (Portaίtissa) Icon of the Most Holy Theotokos on Mount Athos
This Icon was the property of a pious widow who lived in the area of Nicaea in Asia Minor during the time of the iconoclastic Emperor Theophilos (829-842). When the Emperor’s men arrived there to find and destroy every holy icon, this faithful widow threw the wonderworking Icon of the Theotokos into the sea. Then she beheld a strange wonder. The Icon stood upright on the water and traveled westward across the waves in this position.
After a time the Icon arrived in front of the Ivḗron Monastery on Mount Athos. A certain ascetic named Gabriel took it from the water, and gave it to the monks. They built a small church for the Icon near the gate of the monastery, and placed the Icon there. From that time it was known as the Portaίtissa, or Gate-Keeper.
Since then the Most Holy Theotokos has worked many miracles through her holy Icon. She has cured those who were possessed by demons, healed those who were lame, and given sight to the blind. At the same time, she has protected the monastery from every danger and saved it from invasions of foreigners. Among those who received benefit from the Portaitissa was a Russian princess, the daughter of Tsar Alexei Michailovitch (1651).
The Icon arrived at the Holy Mountain on Bright Tuesday in 1004. Therefore, the Ivḗron Monastery celebrates this radiant festival even to the present day. The Divine Liturgy takes place in the church by the sea, where a spring gushed forth at the place where the Icon had rested.
The Ivḗron (Portaitissa) Icon is also commemorated on February 12, March 31, and October 13.
Ktitórissa or Bematárissa Icon of the Most Holy Theotokos of Vatopaidi Monastery. (Παναγία Κτιτόρισσα ή Βηματάρισσα)
When certain Arabs invaded Vatopaidi Monastery, Hierodeacon Savva, the Bematáris (custodian of the sanctuary) was responsible for the sacred relics and other valuables kept there. He managed to hide the Icon and Constantine's Cross in a well of the Holy Altar, with an oil lamp burning before them. The monastery was looted and the monks were taken captive and brought to Crete. Seventy years later, Hierodeacon Savva was released and he returned to his monastery. There he found some young monks whom he didn't know, and they knew nothing about the hidden relics. Then they uncovered the well and discovered the Icon and the Cross standing upright upon the water, with the oil lamp still burning!
Today the Ktitórissa Icon is in the synthronon (stone seats behind the altar) of the Holy Sanctuary, and it is also called the Foundress, or Builder, because her discovery may be related to the rebuilding of the monastery by three brothers (the monks Athanasios, Nicholas and Anthony) who lived there around the end of the X century.
In memory of this event, the Paraklesis (Canon of Supplication) to the Theotokos is sung every Monday evening, and the Divine Liturgy is served every Tuesday morning in the katholikon. The Ktitórissa Icon is honored on Bright Tuesday, when it is taken around the Monastery in procession.
The Martyrs of Saint David of Garesja Monastery in Georgia in 1616 (also April 4)
Venerable Patápios, Nikon, and Hypomonḗ.
These Saints struggled in a cave where the Monastery of Saint Patápios was built (in the metropolis of Corinth). There the skulls of Saint Patápios the New and Saint Hypomonḗ are treasured, and also the jaw of Saint Nikon the New. These holy relics were placed in silver reliquaries by the Most Reverend Metropolitan Panteleimon (Karanikola).
Saint Patápios is also commemorated on December 8.
Saint Basileus (Βασιλεύς, Βασίλειος) suffered during the reign of Licinius, the ruler of the Eastern part of the Roman Empire. He was elected to the See of Amaseia in the IV century, and participated in the Synods of Ankyra and Neocaesarea in 314 and 315. Saint Athanasios called him "the Great" because Saint Basileus defended the Faith against heresy. He may have influenced Saint Constantine's decision to issue the Edict of Milan (313), granting religious toleration to Christians, Deceitfully, Licinius also signed the Edict, but he hated the Christians and continued to persecute them.
Bishop Basileus was distinguished for his life of faith and his tireless activities in the performance of his duties. He was always preaching, giving counsel, comforting, supporting, and strengthening the souls of the Christians against the world of idol-worshippers. For this reason, the pagan priests and rulers hated him. In 322, when Licinius launched his persecution against the Christians, Bishop Basileus opposed him.
He further provoked the wrath of Constantine's co-Emperor Licinius by hiding the young virgin Glaphyra, the handmaiden of his wife Empress Constantia, the sister of Saint Constantine. The pious maiden, who came from a noble Italian family, angrily rejected the Emperor's advances, asking Empress Constantia for her help. She dressed Glaphyra in men's clothes and told her to leave Nikomedia in secret, giving her a large amount of gold, silver and precious stones. Those in the palace heard her tell Licinius that the girl had gone mad, and lay at death's door.
After a long journey, Saint Glaphyra found herself in Amaseia, where she found shelter in the house of a pious Christian. There she was visited by Saint Basileus who advised her to lead a secluded life, so as not to bring any trouble upon the local Christians from the ruler of the city. At the time, Bishop Basileus was building a church, and the righteous Glaphyra donated all her money to him. She wrote to Constantia telling her where she was, and asking for more gold to be sent to complete the work. The Empress gladly fulfilled her request, but Glaphyra's letter accidentally fell into the hands of Licinius. He ordered the ruler of Amaseia to send Saint Basileus and Saint Glaphyra to him at Nikomedia. However, Saint Glaphyra reposed before the order was received, and therefore, only Saint Basileus was sent to the Emperor. Two deacons, Parthenios and Theotimos accompanied him to Nikomedia.
At Nikomedia, Bishop Basileus was imprisoned, and the Deacons lodged with a Christian named Elpidophoros. On the eve of the trial Saint Basileus saw Elpidophoros and the Deacons, and told them how the Lord had appeared to him that night, informing him how he would be put to death. He asked the Deacons not to grieve for him and he told them to return to Amaseia. The holy hierarch predicted that Elpidophoros would receive a reward in Heaven for taking care of the Deacons.
At the trial, Licinius accused Saint Basileus of hiding Glaphyra, but promised him forgiveness and much honor if he would just sacrifice to their "gods." Having achieved nothing, Licinius ordered the soldiers to beat the Saint, and then behead him. Thus, he received a crown of glory from Christ God (ca. 322).
After the execution, soldiers placed the Martyr's body and head into a boat and, sailing far out to sea, they threw the relics into the water in different places, just as it was foretold to Saint Basileus in prison. That night an Angel appeared three times to Elpidophoros, saying that Saint Basileus was expecting his friends at Sinópē. While on his way to Sinópē the Angel appeared to him again with instructions as to where in the sea he should look for the Martyr's body. At the request of Elpidophoros, fishermen pulled the Saint's body out of the net. Miraculously, the head was reattached to the body. On the neck was there a scar made by the sword, and from the relics there came a wondrous fragrance. Some Christians took them to Amaseia and buried them in the church which the Saint had built.
The Greek Life of Saint Basileus was written by the priest John of Nikomedia, who visited the Martyr in prison and witnessed his execution. He also received information about Saint Basileus from Elpidophoros and the Deacons. The Life says that Saint Basileus was beheaded on March 28. His relics were found at sea after 25 days, i.e. April 21 or 22. They arrived in Amaseia and were buried five days later, on April 26.
Saint Basileus is also commemorated on April 30 (the transfer of his relics).
Saint Stephen the Enlightener of Perm, and Apostle to the Zyrians, was born around the year 1340 into the family of Simeon, a cleric of the Ustiug cathedral. He was greatly influenced by his pious mother Maria. Endowed with great abilities, he already displayed an unusual zeal for the service of the Church: in a single year he learned to read the Holy Books and he assisted his father in church during services, fulfilling the duty of canonarch, and also that of reader.
The young saint received monastic tonsure at the Monastery of Saint Gregory the Theologian at Rostov. The monastery was famed for its fine library. Since Saint Stephen wanted to read the holy Fathers in their original language, he studied Greek.
In his youth, when he had assisted his father in church, he frequently spoke with the Zyrian people. Now, having been immersed in the rich culture of the Church, Saint Stephen burned with a desire to convert the Zyrians to Christ.
To facilitate the enlightenment of the Zyrians, he compiled an alphabet of their language and translated some of the Church books. For this pious work Bishop Arsenius of Rostov (1374-1380), ordained him to the rank of hierodeacon.
Having prepared himself for missionary activity, Saint Stephen journeyed to Moscow (1379) to see Bishop Gerasimus of Kolomna, who then oversaw the affairs of the metropolitanate. The saint implored him, “Bless me, Master, to go into a pagan land, Perm. I want to teach the holy Faith to the unbelieving people. I am resolved either to lead them to Christ, or to lay down my life for them and for Christ.” The bishop joyfully blessed him and ordained him as a hieromonk. He provided him with an antimension for the altar table, holy chrism and service books, and Great Prince Demetrius gave him a document of safe passage.
From Ustiug Saint Stephen made his way along the North Dvina River up to the confluence of the Vychegda into it, where settlements of the Zyrians began. The proponent of faith in Christ suffered many toils and struggles, deprivation and sorrow, living among the pagans who worshipped idols “with fire, water, trees, a stone and golden woman-figure, and shaman, and wizard, and wood.”
Father Stephen was sad to see that the Zyrians continued to worship a “sacred birch tree.” Immense in its thickness and height, the birch tree grew on an elevated spot. The Zyrians gathered there and brought wild animals there for sacrifice.
Saint Stephen’s cell was not far from the birch tree. He prayed and set fire to the tree in order to end the superstition. The Zyrians, seeing that the tree had been destroyed, meant to kill him. The saint said to them, “Judge for yourselves whether or not your gods have any power, since they are not able to defend themselves from the fire. Can they be gods, when they are so powerless? They have no mind, neither can they see or hear. Your idol could not defend itself against me, a weak man. Are all your other gods so powerless? The Christian God is not like this. He sees everything, knows everything and is Almighty, since He created the whole world and foresees everything. How good He is, particularly to those who know Him! I desire only what is good for you, to bring you to the true God. He will love you and bless you, when you sincerely begin to honor Him.” On the site of the “sacred birch tree,” Saint Stephen built a church in honor of the Archangel Michael, the vanquisher of the spirits of darkness.
The newly-baptized Zyrians themselves began to remove that which they once worshiped. They cut down sacred trees, they destroyed idols, and they brought to Saint Stephen the rich gifts set aside for the pagan sacrifices. He told his Zyrian helper Matthew to throw everything into the fire, except the linen cloth which was used for foot wrappings.
But things came to a head among the Zyrians after Saint Stephen got the better of their chief priest Pama, who rose up against the spread of Christianity. The pagan priest entered into a debate with Saint Stephen. “Christian, you have only one God,” said Pama, “but we have many helpers on the land, and in the water, granting us good hunting in the forests, and with its abundance providing food and pelts to Moscow, the Horde and faraway lands. Our gods reveal to us the magic mysteries, inaccessible to you.”
Saint Stephen answered that the true God is one; the Almighty is one, but experience has proven that the idols are powerless. After a lengthy dispute the pagan priest Pama challenged Saint Stephen to pass through fire and water in a test of faith. Saint Stephen humbly replied, “Great is the Christian God. I accept your challenge.”
Pama, however, lost his nerve and entreated the saint to save him from certain death. “You are witnesses,” said Saint Stephen to the people “how he wished to resolve the dispute about faith by fire and water, but he does not wish to be baptized. Who has regard for Pama now? What is to be done with him?”
“Let the deceiver be put to death,” the people said, “for if Pama is set free, he will make mischief for you.” “No,” the saint replied, “Christ has not sent me to hand anyone over to death, but to teach. Since Pama does not wish to accept the saving Faith, let his stubbornness punish him, but I will not.” Pama was banished. In thanksgiving for his victory over the chief pagans, Saint Stephen built a church in honor of Saint Nicholas at Vishero. After this, the saint’s preaching of Christ was more successful.
In 1383, Saint Stephen was consecrated Bishop of Malaya Perm [Lesser Perm]. Like a loving father he devoted himself to his flock. To encourage the newly-converted, Saint Stephen opened schools adjacent to the churches, where they studied the Holy Scriptures in the Permian language. The saint supervised the instructions, and taught them what they needed to know in order to become priests and deacons. Saint Stephen taught several of his students how to write in the Permian language. The saint built churches, in which he placed Zyrian priests, and services were conducted in the Zyrian language.
Saint Stephen translated the HOROLOGION [Book of Hours], the PSALTER, and other liturgical books into the Zyrian language.
During a crop failure the saint provided the Zyrians with bread. Many times he protected them from the trickery of corrupt officials, gave them alms, and defended them from the incursions of other tribes, interceding for them at Moscow. The fruit of his efforts and good deeds came in the conversion of all of Perm to Christianity. This great deed was accomplished by his strength of faith and Christian love. The life of the saint was a victory of faith over unbelief, of love and meekness over malice and impiety.
There was a touching “meeting in absence” of Saint Stephen of Perm with Saint Sergius of Radonezh, occurring in the year 1390 as Saint Stephen journeyed to Moscow on church business. Saint Stephen fervently loved the Radonezh ascetic and very much wanted to pay him a visit, but had no time to do so. Ten versts from the monastery of Saint Sergius, Saint Stephen turned in the direction of the monastery and with a bow he said, “Peace to you, my spiritual brother!”
Saint Sergius, who was eating a meal with the brethren, stood up, made a prayer and, bowing towards the direction where the saint rode, answered, “Hail also to you, pastor of the flock of Christ, may the peace of God be with you!”
The deep spiritual connection of Saint Stephen of Perm and Saint Sergius of Radonezh is recalled even today in a certain prayer recited each day in the trapeza.
Besides building churches, Saint Stephen also founded several monasteries for the Zyrians: the Savior Ulianov wilderness monastery 165 versts from Ust-Sysolsk, the Stephanov 60 versts from Ust-Sysolsk, the Ust-Vym Archangel, and the Yareng Archangel.
In the year 1395 Saint Stephen again went to Moscow on affairs of his flock, and died there. His body was placed in the Church of the Transfiguration in the Moscow Kremlin. The Zyrians bitterly lamented the death of their archpastor. They earnestly entreated the Moscow prince and the Metropolitan to send the body of their patron back to Perm, but Moscow did not wish to part with the relics of the saint.
The glorification of Saint Stephen began already at the beginning of the fiftenth century. The Life of the saint was written soon after his death. The hieromonk Pachomius the Serb composed the service to him, with the hieromonk Epiphanius the Wise, who was a disciple of Saint Sergius of Radonezh. He also knew Saint Stephen and loved to converse with him.
The Virgin Glaphyra. Licinius burned with passion for Glaphyra, a maidservant of his wife Constantia.The holy virgin reported this to the empress and sought her help. Dressing her in men’s attire and providing her with money, the empress Constantia sent her to Pontus in the company of a devoted servant. They told the emperor that Glaphyra had gone mad and lay near death. On her way to Armenia, Saint Glaphyra stopped in Amasea, where the local bishop, Saint Basil, gave her shelter.
At this time the saint was building a church in the city. Saint Glaphyra donated all the money that she had received from Constantia for its construction, and in a letter to the empress she asked her to send additional funds to complete the church. The empress fulfilled her request. However, Saint Glaphyra’s letter fell into the hands of the emperor. The enraged Licinius ordered the governor of Amasea to send him the hierarch and the maidservant. Saint Glaphyra died before the edict arrived in Amasea, and Saint Basil was sent to the emperor. Two deacons, Parthenius and Theotimos, followed after him and lodged near the prison where the saint was held.
The pious Christian Elpidephoros bribed the jailer and each night he visited the saint with Parthenius and Theotimos. On the eve of the saint’s trial, he sang Psalms and chanted, “if I should sojourn at the extremity of the sea… even there Thy hand would guide me, and Thy right hand would hold me” (Ps 138/139:9-10). These were prophetic words.
Three times he broke down in tears. The deacons were afraid that the saint would not be able to endure the coming torments, but he calmed them.
At the trial Saint Basil resolutely refused the emperor’s offer to become a pagan priest, and so he was sentenced to death. Elpidephoros gave the soldiers money, and they allowed the saint to pray and to speak with his friends before execution. Then the saint said to the executioner, “Friend, do as you have been ordered.” Calmly, he bent his neck beneath the sword.
When the martyr had been beheaded, Elpidephoros tried to ransom his relics from the soldiers. But the soldiers were afraid of the emperor and they threw the saint’s body and head into the sea. After this, an angel of God appeared to Elpidephoros three times in a dream, saying, “Bishop Basil is in Sinope and awaits you.”
Heeding this call, Elpidephoros and the deacons sailed to Sinope, and there they hired fishermen to lower their nets. When they lowered the net on the suggestion of the deacons Theotimos and Parthenius, they came up with nothing. Then Elpidephoros declared that he would ask them to lower the net in the name of the God Whom he worshiped. This time, the net brought up the body of Saint Basil. The saint’s head was attached to his body once more, and only the gash on his neck indicated the blow of the sword. The relics of Saint Basil were taken to Amasea and buried in the church he built.
On April 26, the Orthodox Church commemorates the Uncovering of the relics of Saint Ioannikios of Devič. For his life, please see December 2.
In 1616 the Persian shah Abbas I led his enormous army in an attack on Georgia. Having quenched his thirst for the blood of the Christians, he arranged a hunt in the valley of Gare (Outer) Kakheti. He encamped with his escorts in the mountains of Gareji and spent the night in that place.
At midnight the shah’s attention was drawn to a flaming column of lights advancing up the mountain. At first he took it to be an apparition. He was soon informed, however, that a famous monastery was situated in that place and on that night the monks were circling their church three times with lighted candles in celebration of Christ’s Holy Resurrection. Immediately the shah commanded his army to march to the monastery and destroy all those found celebrating.
That same night an angel of the Lord appeared to Abbot Arsenius of David-Gareji and told him, “Our Lord Jesus Christ is calling the brothers to His Heavenly Kingdom. On this night great suffering awaits you—you will be killed by the sword. He who desires to prolong his earthly life, let him flee, but he who thirsts to purify his soul for eternity, let him perish by the sword, and the Lord God will adorn him with the crown of immortality. Tell this to all who dwell in the monastery, and let each man choose for himself!”
The abbot informed the monks about his vision, and they began to prepare for their imminent sufferings. Only two young monks feared death and fled to a mountain not far from the monastery. At the chanting of the Lord’s Prayer near the end of the Paschal Liturgy, the monastery was completely surrounded by Persian warriors. Abbot Arsenius stepped out of the church and approached their leader to request that the monks be given a bit more time to finish the service and for all the brothers to receive Holy Communion.
The Persians consulted among themselves and agreed to honor this request. The fathers partook of the Holy Gifts, encouraged one another, and presented themselves clad in festive garments before the unbelievers. First the Persians beheaded Abbot Arsenius; then they massacred his brothers in Christ without mercy.
After the Persians finished killing the monks, they were organized into several regiments and made their way towards the other monasteries of the Gareji Wilderness. Halfway between the Chichkhituri and Saint John the Baptist Monasteries the Muslims captured the two young monks who had earlier fled and demanded that they convert to Islam.
The monks refused to abandon the Christian Faith and for this they were killed. A rose bush grew up in the place where they were killed and continued to fragrantly blossom through the 19th century, despite the dry and rocky soil.
At the end of the 17th century, King Archil gathered the bones of the martyrs with great reverence and buried them in a large stone reliquary to the left of the altar in the Transfiguration Church of David-Gareji Monastery. Their holy relics continue to stream myrrh to this day.
The brothers of the Monasteries of Saint David of Gareji and Saint John the Baptist received a blessing from Catholicos Anton I to compose a commemorative service for the martyrs and to designate their feast day as Bright Tuesday, or the third day of Holy Pascha.
No information available at this time.