Categories: Saints

17th of October. Holy Hieromartyr Evdemoz, Catholicos-Patriarch of Georgia (†1642)

Holy Hieromartyr Evdemoz, Catholicos-Patriarch of Georgia (†1642)

Memory 17 October

In the sacred annals of history, let us recount the virtuous life and martyrdom of Saint Evdemoz, who graced the Georgian Orthodox Church during the mid-17th century, amid the reign of King Rostom-Khan, a convert to Islam.

In those tumultuous times, the land was marred by dark deeds. King Luarsab II of Kartli was slain, and King Teimuraz I of Kakheti was forced into exile by the hand of Persian Shah Abbas I, who declared Rostom-Khan as ruler over a united Kartli-Kakheti kingdom. Though Rostom-Khan endeavored to preserve both the Persian customs and the traditions of the Georgian people, society began to crumble beneath the weight of transgressions. The taint of vice permeated, and sins reminiscent of Sodom and Gomorrah multiplied. Even the clergy, divinely ordained, lost their way and strayed from their sacred path.

Yet, amidst this darkness, the chief shepherd of the Georgian nation, Saint Evdemoz, stood steadfast, undeterred by the moral decline of his flock. With unwavering courage, he led his valiant warriors in rebellion against Persia multiple times. Inspired by the noble example of Catholicos Evdemoz, Georgian princes rose against Rostom-Khan’s pro-Persian policies, purging the influence of Islam from their lands.

The spiritual father of Rostom-Khan’s wife, Queen Mariam, was none other than the revered Catholicos Evdemoz. Together, they nurtured the Christian soul of the Georgian people, ensuring its flame would not be entirely extinguished. Churches were built, spiritual literature composed, and national consciousness regained. The wise Catholicos Evdemoz traveled throughout the land, devising and executing a plan to restore King Teimuraz to his rightful throne, which he had been unjustly driven from by Shah Abbas.

Yet, the light of Saint Evdemoz’s faith and leadership threatened Rostom-Khan’s hold on power. In 1642, the king imprisoned the chief shepherd in an attempt to sway him, but neither soft words nor threats could break the indomitable will of the man who loved Christ and his homeland above all else. Even in captivity, Evdemoz fearlessly denounced the king’s actions, urging the people to rise against tyranny. In a heinous act, Rostom-Khan commanded the holy hieromartyr Catholicos Evdemoz’s life to be extinguished within the confines of his prison cell. His sacred body was callously cast off Nariqala Fortress, directed toward the Turkish baths.

In the wake of this martyrdom, a group of faithful Christians reverently retrieved the blessed body of Saint Evdemoz and laid it to rest in the northwest corner of Anchiskhati Church in Tbilisi.

O majestic hierarch of the Church, O eye of the martyrs, and O brilliant star, Saint Evdemoz, we beseech Christ God to shower His mercy upon our souls through your intercessions! May your enduring example of unwavering faith and love for our Savior inspire us to stand firm in the face of adversity and to hold true to our sacred calling. Amen.

Shota Zurabashvili

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