January 14 (old calendar) / January 27 (new)
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January 14 (old calendar) / January 27 (new)

Leavetaking of the Theophany. St. Sava I, first Archbishop of Serbia (1237). The Holy Fathers slain at Sinai and Raithu: Isaiah, Sabbas, Moses and his disciple Moses, Jeremiah, Paul, Adam, Sergius, Domnus, Proclus, Hypatius, Isaac, Macarius, Mark, Benjamin, Eusebius, Elias, and others (4th-5th c.). St. Nina (Nino), Equal-to-the-Apostles and Enlightener of the Georgians (355). St. Joseph Analytinus of Raithu (4th c.). Ven. Theodulus, son of Ven. Nilus of Sinai (5th c.). Ven. Stephen, Abbot of Khenolakkos Monastery near Chalcedon (8th c.).

SAINT NINA OF GEORGIA

14 janvier

The virgin Nino of Cappadocia was a relative of Great-martyr George and the only daughter of a widely respected and honorable couple. Her father was a Roman army chief by the name of Zabulon, and her mother, Sosana, was the sister of Patriarch Juvenal of Jerusalem. When Nino reached the age of twelve, her parents sold all their possessions and moved to Jerusalem. Soon after, Nino’s father was tonsured a monk. He bid farewell to his family and went to labor in the wilderness of the Jordan.

After Sosana had been separated from her husband, Patriarch Juvenal ordained her a deaconess. She left her daughter Nino in the care of an old woman, Sara Niaphor, who raised her in the Christian Faith and related to her the stories of Christ’s life and His suffering on earth. It was from Sara that Nino learned how Christ’s Robe had arrived in Georgia, a country of pagans.

Soon Nino began to pray fervently to the Theotokos, asking for her blessing to travel to Georgia and be made worthy to venerate the Sacred Robe that she had woven for her beloved Son. The Most Holy Virgin heard her prayers and appeared to Nino in a dream, saying, “Go to the country that was assigned to me by lot and preach the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. He will send down His grace upon you and I will be your protector.”

But the blessed Nino was overwhelmed at the thought of such a great responsibility and answered, “How can I, a fragile woman, perform such a momentous task, and how can I believe that this vision is real?” In response, the Most Holy Theotokos presented her with a cross of grapevines and proclaimed, “Receive this cross as a shield against visible and invisible enemies!”

When she awoke, Nino was holding the cross in her hands. She dampened it with tears of rejoicing and tied it securely with strands of her own hair. (According to another source, the Theotokos bound the grapevine cross with strands of her own hair.)

Nino related the vision to her uncle, Patriarch Juvenal, and revealed to him her desire to preach the Gospel in Georgia. Juvenal led her in front of the Royal Doors, laid his hands on her, and prayed, “O Lord, God of Eternity, I beseech Thee on behalf of my orphaned niece: Grant that, according to Thy will, she may go to preach and proclaim Thy Holy Resurrection. O Christ God, be Thou to her a guide, a refuge, and a spiritual father. And as Thou didst enlighten the Apostles and all those who feared Thy name, do Thou also enlighten her with the wisdom to proclaim Thy glad tidings.”

When Nino arrived in Rome, she met and baptized the princess Rhipsimia and her nurse, Gaiana. At that time the Roman emperor was Diocletian, a ruler infamous for persecuting Christians. Diocletian (284-305) fell in love with Rhipsimia and resolved to marry her, but Saint Nino, Rhipsimia, Gaiana, and fifty other virgins escaped to Armenia. The furious Diocletian ordered his soldiers to follow them and sent a messenger to Tiridates, the Armenian king (286-344), to put him on guard.

King Tiridates located the women and, following Diocletian’s example, was charmed by Rhipsimia’s beauty and resolved to marry her. But Saint Rhipsimia would not consent to wed him, and in his rage the king had her tortured to death with Gaiana and the fifty other virgins. Saint Nino, however, was being prepared for a different, greater task, and she succeeded in escaping King Tiridates’ persecutions by hiding among some rose bushes.

When she finally arrived in Georgia, Saint Nino was greeted by a group of Mtskhetan shepherds near Lake Paravani, and she received a blessing from God to preach to the pagans of this region.

With the help of her acquaintances Saint Nino soon reached the city of Urbnisi. She remained there a month, then traveled to Mtskheta with a group of Georgians who were making a pilgrimage to venerate the pagan

idol Armazi. There she watched with great sadness as the Georgian people trembled before the idols. She was exceedingly sorrowful and prayed to the Lord, “O Lord, send down Thy mercy upon this nation

…that all nations may glorify Thee alone, the One True God, through Thy Son, Jesus Christ.”

Suddenly a violent wind began to blow and hail fell from the sky, shattering the pagan statues. The terrified worshipers fled, scattering across the city.

Saint Nino made her home beneath a bramble bush in the garden of the king, with the family of the royal gardener. The gardener and his wife were childless, but through Saint Nino’s prayers God granted them a child. The couple rejoiced exceedingly, declared Christ to be the True God, and became disciples of Saint Nino. Wherever Saint Nino went, those who heard her preach converted to the Christian Faith in great numbers. Saint Nino even healed the terminally ill Queen Nana after she declared Christ to be the True God.

King Mirian, a pagan, was not at all pleased with the great impression Saint Nino’s preaching had made on the Georgian nation. One day while he was out hunting, he resolved to kill all those who followed Christ.

According to his wicked scheme, even his wife, Queen Nana, would face death for failing to renounce the Christian Faith. But in the midst of the hunt, it suddenly became very dark. All alone, King Mirian became greatly afraid and prayed in vain for the help of the pagan gods. When his prayers went unanswered, he finally lost hope and, miraculously, he turned to Christ: “God of Nino, illumine this night for me and guide my footsteps, and I will declare Thy Holy Name. I will erect a cross and venerate it and I will construct for Thee a temple. I vow to be obedient to Nino and to the Faith of the Roman people!”

Suddenly the night was transfigured, the sun shone radiantly, and KingMirian gave great thanks to the Creator. When he returned to the city, he immediately informed Saint Nino of his decision. As a result of the unceasing labors of Equal-to-the-Apostles Nino, Georgia was established as a nation solidly rooted in the Christian Faith.

Saint Nino reposed in the village of Bodbe in eastern Georgia and, according to her will, she was buried in the place where she took her last breath. King Mirian later erected a church in honor of Saint George over her grave.

TROPARIA AND KONTAKIA

Troparion of the Sunday, Tone 2
When Thou didst descend to death, O Life immortal, / Thou didst slay hell with the splendor of Thy godhead! / And when from the depths Thou didst raise the dead, / all the powers of heaven cried out: / O Giver of life, Christ our God, glory to Thee!

Apodosis of Theophany, Troparion of the feast 
When Thou, O Lord, wast baptized in the Jordan,/ the worship of the Trinity was made manifest;/ for, the voice of the Father bare witness unto Thee,/ calling Thee His beloved Son;/ and the Spirit in the form of a dove/ confirmed the certainty of His word./ O Christ our God, Who hast appeared and enlightened the worlds,// glory be to Thee!

Troparion of the saint Nina,  Tone 4
O Holy Nina, equal of the apostles, minister of the word of God, who emulated the first called Andrew and the other apostles in apostolic preaching, enlightener of Iberia and harp of the Holy Spirit: entreat Christ God, that our souls be saved.

Kontakion of the saint, tone 2
Come ye all, and let us hymn today the all-praised Nina, the preacher of the Word of God, the equal of the apostles, who was chosen by Christ, the wise evangelist who has led the people of Kartalinia to the path of life and truth, the disciple of the Mother of God, our fervent helper and tireless guardian.

Kontakion of the Feast, Tone 4
Thou hast appeared today to the whole world,/ and Thy light, O Lord, hath been signed upon us/ who hymn Thee with understanding./ Thou hast come, Thou hast appeared,/ the Light unapproachable.

Kontakion of the Sunday, Tone 2

Hell became afraid, O Almighty Savior, / seeing the miracle of Thy Resurrection from the tomb! / The dead arose! Creation, with Adam, beheld this and rejoiced with Thee! / And the world, O my Savior, praises Thee forever.

Colossians 3:12-16 (Epistle)

12

Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering;

13

bearing with one another, and forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against another; even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do.

14

But above all these things put on love, which is the bond of perfection.

15

And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to which also you were called in one body; and be thankful.

16

Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.

Luke 18:18-27 (Gospel)

18

Now a certain ruler asked Him, saying, “Good Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?”

19

So Jesus said to him, “Why do you call Me good? No one is good but One, that is, God.

20

You know the commandments: ‘Do not commit adultery,’ ‘Do not murder,’ ‘Do not steal,’ ‘Do not bear false witness,’ ‘Honor your father and your mother.’

21

And he said, “All these things I have kept from my youth.”

22

So when Jesus heard these things, He said to him, “You still lack one thing. Sell all that you have and distribute to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me.”

23

But when he heard this, he became very sorrowful, for he was very rich.

24

And when Jesus saw that he became very sorrowful, He said, “How hard it is for those who have riches to enter the kingdom of God!

25

For it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.

26

And those who heard it said, “Who then can be saved?”

27

But He said, “The things which are impossible with men are possible with God.”

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About the Author

Emma Cazabonne

Emma Cazabonne

Emma Cazabonne was born and raised in France. She taught English before entering the Cistercian Order. She translated and published articles relevant to her interest in Cistercian spirituality, the Middle Ages, and Orthodoxy. She moved to the United States in 2001, converted to Orthodoxy in 2008, and married. Her husband is an Orthodox priest. She continued to publish articles, a Cistercian texts anthology, then finally launched her career in literary translation, while teaching French. If you are interested in having your book translated into French, she can be contacted here https://wordsandpeace.com/contact-me/

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