Venerable Ioane of Shavta, Bishop of Gaenati, and Evlogi the Prophet and Fool-for-Christ (13th century)

Memory 1 (14) April

Sts. Ioane of Shavta and Evlogi the Prophet and Fool-for-Christ. Sts. Ioane of Shavta and Evlogi the Prophet and Fool-for-Christ.
Sts. Ioane of Shavta and Evlogi the Prophet and Fool-for-Christ.

The great Georgian hymnographer, philosopher, and orator St. Ioane of Shavta labored in the 12th and 13th centuries, during the reign of the holy queen Tamar. Few details of his life have been preserved, but we know that he received his education at Gelati Academy, where he studied theology, ancient and Arabic history, philosophy, and literature. He was later tonsured a monk and labored at Vardzia Monastery.

When the Georgian army under the command of Queen Tamar’s husband, Davit Soslan, entered into battle[1] with the sultan Rukn al-Din, Queen Tamar journeyed to Odzrkhe Monastery to pray for help. Catholicos Tevdore of Kartli and many hierarchs and monastics accompanied her there. Among them, St. Ioane of Shavta stood out as a wise theologian and philosopher and a brilliant hymnographer.

During the Liturgy at Odzrkhe Monastery a miracle occurred: endowed by God with the gift of prophecy, St. Evlogi the Fool for-Christ fell to his knees, lifted his hands to the heavens and cried out: “Glory to God! Almighty Christ!…Do not fear the Persians, but rather depart in peace, for the mercy of God has descended upon the house of Tamar!”

Evlogi’s words were clearly a divine revelation. St. Ioane of Shavta turned to Queen Tamar, rejoicing, “Your Highness! The Almighty has made known to us our victory in the war from the lips of a fool-for-Christ!” Evlogi confided his secret to St. Ioane: disguised as a fool, he had been concealing his God-given gift. But now it seemed that the gift would become apparent to all, so Evlogi quickly disappeared out of sight to escape the people’s attention.

St. Ioane of Shavta composed his “Hymns to the Theotokos of Vardzia” in thanksgiving for Georgia’s victory in the Battle of Basiani.

He is also recognized as the composer of “Abdul-Messiah,”[2] a famous ode to the holy queen Tamar.

Our Holy Father Ioane of Shavta lived to an advanced age and was canonized soon after his repose.

O most honorable Holy Hierarch Ioane of Shavta and divinely-robed

Evlogi the Fool-for-Christ, pray to God for the peace and perfection of our

bodies and souls, and enable us to glorify His loving-kindness!


[1]The Battle of Basiani (ca. 1203).

[2] Abdul-Messiah: servant of Christ.

Archpriest Zakaria Machitadze


For further information on the book THE LIVES OF THE GEORGIAN SAINTS by Archpriest Zakaria Machitadze contact St. Herman Press:
St. Herman Press, P.O. Box 70, Platina, CA 96076
http://www.stherman.com/catalog/chapter_five/Lives_of_the_georgian_saints.htm

4/18/2007

See also
Blessed John, Fool-for-Christ of Moscow Blessed John, Fool-for-Christ of Moscow
Commemorated June 12/25, July 3/16
Blessed John, Fool-for-Christ of Moscow Blessed John, Fool-for-Christ of Moscow
Commemorated June 12/25, July 3/16
John feared God alone, and spoke the truth to every person no matter how highly placed. Even to Tsar Boris Gudunov he would often repeat the words: “You, with your smart head in the air, take a look at God’s affairs. God has a lot of patience first, but when He beats, it really hurts.”
Venerable Ioane of Manglisi (†1751) Venerable Ioane of Manglisi (†1751)
Archpriest Zakaria Machitadze
Venerable Ioane of Manglisi (†1751) Venerable Ioane of Manglisi (†1751)
Archpriest Zakaria Machitadze
Saint Ioane (Saakadze) of Manglisi was born in 1668 and spiritually nurtured in the Davit-Gareji Wilderness. Outstanding in virtue, Ioane was quickly ordained a hieromonk, and soon after consecrated bishop of Manglisi.
Saint Ambrosi the Confessor, Catholicos-Patriarch of All Georgia (†1927) Saint Ambrosi the Confessor, Catholicos-Patriarch of All Georgia (†1927)
Archpriest Zakaria Machitadze
Saint Ambrosi the Confessor, Catholicos-Patriarch of All Georgia (†1927) Saint Ambrosi the Confessor, Catholicos-Patriarch of All Georgia (†1927)
Archpriest Zakaria Machitadze
In response to one of the Bolshevik interrogations, the patriarch asserted, “Confession of Faith is a spiritual necessity for every nation — persecution increases its necessity. Faith deepens, being contracted and accumulated, and it bursts out with new energy. So it was in the past, and so it will be in our country. Georgia is no exception to this universal law.” St. Ambrosi spoke these remarkable last words to his persecutors: “My soul belongs to God, my heart to my motherland, and with my flesh you may do whatever you wish.” The court sentenced the Catholicos-Patriarch of All Georgia to seven years, nine months and twenty-eight days in prison.
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