Saturday, April 10, 2021

The Six-Thousand Martyrs of Georgia (†1615)

On April 10 we commemorate two large groups of Georgian Orthodox martyrs under the sword of Islam: the Six-Thousand (†1615) recounted below, and the Martyrs of the Kvabtakhevi Monastery, who were burned alive by their Muslim tormentors in 1386.

Better known are the 100,000 Holy Martyrs of Tbilisi in 1227, who refused to deny Christ and were beheaded, thus receiving their heavenly crowns.


The Six-Thousand Martyrs of Georgia (†1615)

From The Prologue of Ochrid for April 10




In the wilderness of David-Garejeli in Georgia, there were twelve monasteries in which many monks practiced and lived the ascetical life for centuries. 

In 1615 A.D., the great king of Persia, Shah Abbas I, attacked Georgia, devasted it and beheaded many Christians. Once while hunting early in the morning on the Feast of the Resurrection, Shah Abbas noticed many lights in the mountains. They were the monks from the twelve monasteries in procession around the Church of the Resurrection with lighted tapers in hand. When the Shah discovered that they were monks, he asked in amazement: "Has not all of Georgia been given over to the sword?" He then ordered his solders to immediately go and behead all the monks. 

Martyrs of the Kvabtakhevi Monastery in Georgia (†1386)

On April 10 we commemorate two large groups of Georgian Orthodox martyrs under the sword of Islam: the Martyrs of the Kvabtakhevi Monastery (recounted below), who were burned alive by their Muslim tormentors in 1386, and the Six-Thousand Martyrs of Georgia (†1615).

Better known are the 100,000 Holy Martyrs of Tbilisi  (†1227), who refused to deny Christ and were beheaded, thus receiving their heavenly crowns.


Martyrs of the Kvabtakhevi Monastery in Georgia

Commemorated April 10 | OCA



In the 14th century, during the reign of King Bagrat V (1360-1394), Timur (Tamerlane) invaded Georgia seven times. His troops inflicted irreparable damage on the country, seizing centuries-old treasures and razing ancient churches and monasteries.

Timur’s armies ravaged Kartli, then took the king, queen, and the entire royal court captive and sent them to Karabakh (in present-day Azerbaijan). Later Timur attempted to entice King Bagrat to renounce the Christian Faith in exchange for permission to return to the throne and for the release of the other Georgian prisoners.

For some time Timur was unable to subjugate King Bagrat, but in the end, being powerless and isolated from his kinsmen, the king began to falter. He devised a sly scheme: to confess Islam before the enemy, but to remain a Christian at heart. Satisfied with King Bagrat’s decision to “convert to Islam,” Timur permitted the king to return to the throne of Kartli. At the request of King Bagrat, Timur sent twelve thousand troops with him to complete Georgia’s forcible conversion to Islam.

When they were approaching the village of Khunani in southeastern Georgia, Bagrat secretly informed his son Giorgi of everything that had happened and called upon him and his army to massacre the invaders. 

Thursday, March 25, 2021

Can there have been Two Annunciations?

 




Today is March 25, the Feast of the Annunciation of the Archangel Gabriel to the Virgin Mary. 

As the hymn for the Feast says, 

Today is the beginning of our salvation,
The revelation of the eternal mystery!
The Son of God becomes the Son of the Virgin
As Gabriel announces the coming of Grace...

Islam also begins with an annunciation of sorts, to Muhammad, coincidentally by a spirit being also identified as the angel Jibril (Gabriel). Only the nature and outcome of that annunciation is quite different from the one to the Virgin Mary six centuries earlier.

This article contrasts the Annunciation to the Virgin Mary — filled with light and grace — with that 'second annunciation' — a dark annunciation — to Muhammad. This is one of the most significant and revealing facts about Islam, one which we should always keep in the forefront of our considerations.

If Muslims worship the Same God as Christians, how could that Same God possibly send two such radically opposed revelations and messages? And could it be the Same God if He chose to send His revelation to Muhammad through such a dark and blatantly evil "annunciation"?