The Legend of St. Nino

The adoption of Christianity in Georgia is connected with the name of St. Nino. By origin, she was from Cappadocia, and her father, Zabilon, was a Roman military commander. Nino’s parents completely dedicated themselves to Christianity, and when the girl was 12 years old, they sold all their possessions, gave the money to the poor, and moved to Jerusalem. There the girl was given to old woman Nianfora for education. That woman often told Nino about Iberia (present Georgia). At that time the country was pagan. The girl, having learned that Iberia was not Christian, started day and night praying for its salvation. And one day Nino saw a dream in which the Virgin gave her a cross woven from the vine, and called her to go to Georgia for preaching Christianity. Nino went on a journey and arrived in Mtskheta (the ancient capital of Georgia), where she was taken care of by the gardener’s family. Nino began to preach Christianity, and many believed. There she prayed for Queen Nana, who was ill and got healed after the prayer. However, the king of ancient Iberia, Mirian, despite the healing of his wife, did not want to renounce paganism and accept Christianity. Once, while hunting, the king was lightened up by thunder and became blind. After that tragic event, he promised to accept Christianity if his eyesight was back. After Nino’s prayer, the king was cured, and Christianity was declared the state religion of Georgia. It happened in the year 337 AD. After much prayer, Nino learned where was hidden the Heaton of Lord, which was handed down from Jerusalem and buried in Mtskheta. Exactly at that place the first Christian Georgian church was built – the present Svetitskhoveli Cathedral.

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