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16th of August Saint Razhden, Protomartyr of the Georgian Church (†457)

16 August

Saint Razhden the Protomartyr, adorned with noble lineage from a Persian lineage, embarked on a sacred journey intertwined with divine providence. As the Holy King Vakhtang Gorgasali joined his destiny with the daughter of the Persian king Hormuzd III Balunducht, Saint Razhden’s fate became entwined with the currents of history.

Upon his arrival in the sacred land of Kartli, Saint Razhden’s heart was touched by the illuminating embrace of the Christian Faith. This spiritual transformation drew the attention of King Vakhtang, who bestowed upon him an estate as a sign of honor and trust. Saint Razhden’s valor and wisdom elevated him to the esteemed role of a military advisor and commander, safeguarding the realm with steadfast dedication.

Amidst the shadows of political turbulence, when the winds of Persian aggression cast a dark veil over Georgia, the fervent Christian convictions of King Vakhtang roused the ire of the Persian king, Peroz. The ensuing battle was a crucible that forged Saint Razhden’s legacy as a valiant and virtuous warrior, a beacon of unwavering faith amidst the tempest of conflict.

Yet, fate’s tapestry wove a path of challenge and sacrifice for the saint. Bound by the hands of captors, Saint Razhden stood before the Persian king, his spirit unyielding in the face of adversarial entreaties. The saint’s resolute proclamation of Christianity as the true faith and Christ as the sole Savior resounded with unwavering conviction.

Refusing to be swayed from his divine path, Saint Razhden endured the pain of merciless beatings and cruel torments. The indomitable flame of faith burned brightly within him, a flame that no darkness could extinguish. Even as the chains of captivity clung to him, his soul soared free in devotion to Christ.

The noble nobility of Georgia beseeched Peroz for Saint Razhden’s release, a plea that was granted, albeit with a solemn oath to return. And so, Saint Razhden journeyed back to his homeland, a reunion filled with bittersweet farewells and steadfast resolve.

Yet, the call of duty and faith resonated once again, leading Saint Razhden to return to the land of captivity. Peroz’s attempts to sway him from his faith were in vain, for the saint’s heart was steadfast in its devotion. Exiled to a military camp, he stood resolute as a steadfast sentinel of faith.

In a final act of cruel resolve, the Persians orchestrated Saint Razhden’s crucifixion, a testament to their fear of his unyielding devotion. With the words “Into Thy hands, O Lord, I commit my spirit,” the saint’s earthly journey concluded, his spirit ascending to divine embrace.

In the shroud of night, devoted Christians reclaimed the cross and tenderly laid the saint’s body to rest, his relics guarded as treasures of faith. Holy King Vakhtang, a beacon of devotion, translated Saint Razhden’s relics to a sacred cathedral, sanctifying Nikozi as a place of eternal reverence.

Radiant star and Great Martyr Razhden, thou who traversed the path from darkness to righteousness, thy trials for Christ a testament of enduring devotion. As believers, we honor thee with words of divine praise, seeking thy intercession to shield us from the snares of temptation.


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