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16th of August. The Nine Kherkheulidze Brothers and Their Mother and Sister and Nine Thousand Martyrs of Marabda (†1625)

16 August

On the sacred Feast of the Annunciation in the year 1625, a monumental event transpired that shall forever resonate with honor and religious devotion. The brave Georgians, imbued with unwavering faith, triumphed over the forces of adversity in the hallowed Battle of Martqopi. This glorious victory was not merely a triumph in arms; it was a convergence of divine providence and indomitable courage that unfurled a tapestry of unity and hope.

As the sun cast its golden rays upon the land, the Georgian soldiers, bound by a shared purpose, received the Holy Communion at dawn, seeking divine guidance and strength. Amidst the ranks stood Bishop Domenti (Avalishvili) of Ruisi, a spiritual shepherd donned in his vestments, symbolizing both his sacred duty and his readiness to embrace the cause of faith. His voice resounded with a resolute commitment, echoing through the hearts of the faithful, proclaiming, “Today, we shall wage a battle for faith and for Christ; let my blood flow before yours!”

In a testament to the Georgian spirit, the nine Kherkheulidze brothers shouldered the sacred banner of the army, embodying the valor and unity of the land. The forces of darkness trembled in the face of such steadfast resolve, but the shrewd Isa-Khan Qurchibash rallied his troops under the shadow of Persian might. Yet, the prowess of the Georgian warriors and their devotion to righteousness cast a radiant light that could not be extinguished easily.

The battlefield bore witness to the gallantry of King Teimuraz I of Kakheti, whose every breath was steeped in unwavering dedication. The luminous Giorgi Saakadze, a beacon of military brilliance, fought amidst the tempest of battle, his attire awash with the crimson testimony of sacrifice. Amidst this symphony of valor, the likes of Davit Jandieri, Aghatang Kherkheulidze, and Baadur Tsitsishvili, along with the venerable bishops of Rustavi and Kharchasho, surrendered their mortal coils in the name of their faith and homeland.

When the sun dipped beneath the horizon, and every sword was shattered, the Georgians stood, battle-worn yet unwavering. The symphony of battle, which had spanned from dawn till the depths of night, concluded with a solemn chord—the Georgian army, valiant but outnumbered, met its earthly fate.

In reverent remembrance, we honor the memory of the nine thousand souls who laid down their lives for Christ and the motherland upon the sacred grounds of Marabda. Their devotion, their sacrifice, forever etched in the annals of history, remains a testament to unwavering faith and the profound bond between faith and nation.

O Holy Martyrs of Marabda, luminous exemplars of devotion, we beseech thee to intercede on behalf of our nation and the sanctity of Christ’s Church. May your unwavering dedication inspire us to embrace our faith and heritage with unyielding hearts, that we may march forward in the eternal light of divine grace.

 

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