Saint Gabriel the Lesser was a major figure in the eighteenth- century Georgian Church. Few details of his life are known, but it is evident that the education he received was quite good for the period. Striving toward the monastic life but still living in the world, Gabriel tried in every way to close himself off from the vanity of the world. He kept a small sewing shop in Tbilisi and distributed most of his profits to the poor.
One day St. Gabriel abandoned his business and set off for the Davit-Gareji Wilderness, where he was tonsured a monk.
St. Gabriel occupied much of his time with writing, and his works left a significant mark on the spiritual literature of Georgia. He compiled several collections of patristic writings, and he also wrote original works of a theological nature. His original writings include An Explanation of the Hierarchical Liturgy, which describes in detail the meaning of every part of the service, Spiritual Stories of the Pious, The Life and Labors of Venerable Schemamonk Onisphore, A Short Story of Porphyry, and writings on the Nomocanon of the Sixth Ecumenical Council.
Among the brothers at his monastery, St. Gabriel was distinguished by a remarkable capacity for love and a fervent desire to help others: he helped all, cared for all, and encouraged all.
During the Great Fast in 1802, a certain archdeacon came from Tbilisi to Davit-Gareji Monastery, desiring to draw closer to the ascetic way of life. After some time, however, he became anxious to see his family and decided to return home. St. Gabriel accompanied him on his way, but the two men were suddenly assailed by Dagestanis, and the holy father was killed. The brothers carried his relics back to the monastery and buried them there with great honor.
O most radiant star, Holy Father Gabriel the Lesser, pray to God for us!
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