A Photographic Pilgrimage to the Holy Land of Georgia, the burial place of Christ’s Robe at Mtskheta in Georgia
The Feast of the Robe of our Lord, the Myrrh-streaming and Life-giving Pillar
St. Sidonia of Georgia(1th century)
Equals-to-the-Apostles King Mirian and Queen Nana, and
Saints Sidonia, disciple of St. Nina and Abiatar (4th century)
Commemorated October 1/14
The soldiers had cast lots for the Robe of our Lord on Golgotha, it was acquired by Elioz of Mtskheta and Longinoz of Karsani , and with great honor they carried it back with them to Mtskheta. Upon their arrival, Elioz met his sister Sidonia, who took from him the Sacred Robe.With much grief she listened to the story of our Savior’s Crucifixion, clutched the Robe to her breast, and immediately gave up her spirit.
Many miracles were worked by the Robe, and news of this flashed like lightning throughout Mtskheta. King Aderki had a great desire to possess the Robe but, frightened by the miracles, he did not attempt to free it from Sidonia’s embrace. Elioz was obliged to bury his sister and the Precious Robe together. A cypress tree grew up on Sidonia’s grave.
At the beginning of the 4th century, according to God’s will and the blessing of the Most Holy Theotokos, the holy virgin Nino arrived in Kartli to preach the Christian Faith. She settled in the outskirts of Mtskheta, in the bramble bushes of the king’s garden. St. Nino inquired as to the whereabouts of our Lord’s Robe, but no one could remember where it had been preserved. In her quest for the Precious Robe, she became acquainted with Elioz’s descendants, the Jewish priest Abiatar and his daughter, Sidonia. St. Nino converted them to Christianity.
St. Nino was blessed by God with the gift of healing. She healed the afflicted through the name of our crucified Savior and and through the grace of the cross formed from grapevines by the Theotokos and bound with strands of St. Nino’s hair.
At that time King Mirian ruled Kartli. Following in the footsteps of his ancestors, he worshiped the idol Armazi, but in the depth of his heart he was drawn to the Faith that the holy virgin was preaching. Mirian’s wife, Queen Nana, was the daughter of a famous military leader of Pontus. Thus, the king had received some prior knowledge of the Faith of the Greeks. After a miraculous healing, King Mirian became intrigued by the Faith that St. Nino was preaching and spent several hours seeking her counsel.
King Mirian began to construct a church.Seven columns to support the church were formed from the wood of a cypress tree that had grown in the king’s garden. Six of the columns were erected without a problem, but the seventh could not be moved from the place where it had been carved. St. Nino and her disciples prayed through the night, and at dawn they watched as a youth, encompassed by a brilliant light, descended from the heavens and raised the column. The miraculous column began to shine and stopped in mid-air at a height of twelve cubits.
Sweet-smelling myrrh began to flow from under the Holy Pillar’s foundations, and the entire population of Mtskheta flocked to that place to receive its blessing. Approaching the Life-giving Pillar, the sick were healed, the blind received sight, and the paralyzed began to walk.
At the confluence of the Mtkvari and Aragvi Rivers in Mtskheta, the king and queen, the royal court, and all the people of Kartli were baptized into the Christian Faith.
Glorifying the Most Holy Theotokos and the Son born of her, all the nations of the earth celebrate the light of the Holy Pillar and the Robe of our Lord. They flow with holy myrrh as a sign of immortality, that our souls may find life everlasting!
From the book: THE LIVES OF THE GEORGIAN SAINTS by Archpriest Zakaria Machitadze, St. Herman Press, P.O. Box 70, Platina, CA 96076