St. David Gareji
Commemorated on Thursday of the seventh week after Pascha (Easter),
on June 3/16 (“Mamadavitoba” in Tbilisi, VI century).
on May 7/20 – Saint Ioane of Zedazeni and his twelve disciples Syrian Fathers: Abibos of Nekresi, Anton of Martqopi, Davit of Gareji, Zenon of Iqalto, Tadeos of Stepantsminda, Ise of Tsilkani, Ioseb of Alaverdi, Isidore of Samtavisi, Mikael of Ulumbo, Piros of Breti, Stephane of Khirsa, and Shio of Mgvime (VI century)
Saint David of Gareji was Syrian by birth. The future ascetic became a disciple of Saint John of Zedazeni and journeyed with him to Georgia. Saint David and his spiritual son Lucian settled on a mountain above Tbilisi, the capital of Kartli.
After some time Saint David set off on a pilgrimage to Jerusalem. He entrusted Lucian to fulfil his responsibilities at the monastery and took some of the other brothers with him. When the pilgrims were approaching the place called the “Ridge of Grace,” from which the holy city of Jerusalem becomes visible, Saint David fell to his knees and glorified God with tears. Judging himself unworthy to follow in the footsteps of Jesus Christ, he was satisfied to gaze upon the city from afar.
Then he stood at the city gates and prayed fervently while his companions entered the Holy City and venerated the holy places. Returning, Saint David took with him three stones as treasures from the “Ridge of Grace.” That night an angel appeared to the patriarch of Jerusalem and informed him that a certain pious man named David, who was visiting from afar, had taken with him all the holiness of Jerusalem.
The angel proceeded to tell him that the venerable one had marched through the city of Nablus, clothed in tatters and bearing on his shoulders an old sack in which he carried the three holy stones. The patriarch sent messengers after the stranger with a request that he return two of the stones and take only one for himself. St. David returned the two stones, but he declined the patriarch’s invitation to visit him. He took the third stone back with him to the monastery, and to this day it has been full of the grace of miraculous healing.
After Saint David brought the miraculous stone from Jerusalem, the number of brothers at the monastery doubled. The venerable father ministered to all of them and encouraged them.
The Lord God informed Saint David of his imminent departure to the Kingdom of Heaven. Then he gathered the fathers of the wilderness and instructed them for the last time not to fall into confusion, but to be firm and ceaselessly entreat the Lord for the salvation of their souls.
He received Holy Communion, lifted up his hands to the Lord, and gave up his spirit.
From “Lives of the Georgian Saints” by Archpriest Zacharaiah Machitadze, Saint Hermans Press.
Lord, grant that we may be kept this night without sin. Blessed are You, O Lord, God of our fathers. Praised and glorified is Your name throughout the ages. Amen.
Let Your mercy be upon us, Lord, even as we put our hope in You. Blessed are You, O Lord, teach me Your statutes. Blessed are You, Master, let me understand Your statutes. Blessed are You, O Holy One, enlighten me with Your statutes. Lord, Your mercy endures forever; do not spurn the work of Your hands. Praise befits You, worship befits You, glory befits You, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, now and forevermore. Amen.