Identity of Christianity and Homeland Defense in Hagiography

Identity of Christianity and Homeland Defense in Hagiography




Martyrologic literary, Hagiographic literature, “Martyrdom of St.Eustathius of Mtskheta”, Nerse Eristavi


Original Georgian martyrologic literary works  cover the whole cycle of an old Georgian literature. It dates back to V-XVIII centuries. Primary reasons of the emergence of the Cult of Saints should be found in the New Testament books. Introduction of the "Martyrdom" literary genre in the hagiographic literature was caused by the martyrdom of the Christ and his apostles. Since hagiography is characterised by its syncretism, it does not even lose its actuality  or contemporaneousness because of its ideology. Source criticism materials that are abundantly found in “Martyrdom of St.Eustathius of Mtskheta” make an important basis for doing historical and literary studies and making the corresponding outcomes. The literary work provides information concerning the global issues of the epoch, that is crucial for understanding the persona characteristics and strengths of Eustathius.  Due to the Imperial policy of Persians, there was an interregnum  period in Eastern Georgia.  The supreme power of the king was replaced by the Marzban appointed by the Shah (same as the King) of Persians.  At that period of time,  Georgian Rulers (known as “Mamasakhlisi”) and gentlefolks were beside Persians, though their rights were rather formal and nominal. At such a difficult period, when the Persians dominated Kartli, recognition of Christianity by Eustathius, who was a Persian by descent,  was the great bravery and courage. The Martyr for the Christ had also become the defender of our country’s interests. He is considered as a National hero, as martyrdom for the Christ had been associated as devotion to the country. By his actions and decisions, Eustathius was against to the cruel politics of conquerors, and here, exactly, is revealed not only his religious, but also his human, civil positions and attitudes.  This position is better reflected in St. Razhden’s actions, who became an ally of the King Vakhtang.  As Abo was constantly beside Nerse Eristavi, it is possible to suppose that he even shared his political ideology. Historical background of that period makes Abo’s torture more valuable and meaningful but not only of his torture, even Abo's civil position is completely explicit. By his deeds, he was apparently against the Arab conquerors that is proved by his preaching the Christian religion and his polemical discussions with Amira. In the original Georgian hagiography, authenticity of Orthodox Church for the national identity preservation is emphasized, and the paths of religious and national salvation are also intersected. Therefore, each saint is considered not only a Martyr of the Christ, but also a national hero and a fighter against aggression.


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How to Cite

Giorgadze, N. (2023). Identity of Christianity and Homeland Defense in Hagiography. Transactions of Telavi State University, (1(35).