The biographies of Sts. Mikael and Arsen the Georgians have unfortunately not been preserved. It is known that they were contemporaries of Patriarch Sergius of Jerusalem (843–859). The following entry is recorded in the synodicon of Jerusalem’s Holy Cross Monastery: “Our Holy Fathers Mikael and Arsen, founders of Olympus.”
The record indicates that Sts. Arsen and Mikael established Georgian monasticism on Mt. Olympus. According to Paul Ingorokva, a scholar of the Georgian Middle Ages, Arsen was probably a disciple of St. Grigol of Khandzta. Ingorokva calls Arsen “a handsome gentleman, a kind monk full of wisdom, the son of a great nobleman, and a relative of St. Eprem, bishop of Atsquri.”
It is believed that at some point Arsen moved from Khandzta Monastery to Palestine and labored there with a certain Macarius of Leteti. Afterward, St. Arsen founded a Georgian monastery on Mt. Olympus in Asia Minor. Twenty years later, Venerable Ilarion the Georgian arrived on Mt. Olympus and found three Georgian monks who were almost certainly disciples of Mikael and Arsen.
O Holy Fathers Mikael and Arsen, most radiant stars, bestow upon us the grace of your prayers and enlighten the faithful of our nation and the world!
Zakaria Machitadze contact St. Herman Press:
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