Venerable Fathers Mikael and Arsen the Georgians (9th century)

Memory 3 (16) May

Sts. Mikael and Arsen the Georgians. Sts. Mikael and Arsen the Georgians.
Sts. Mikael and Arsen the Georgians.

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[1] 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.[2] 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!


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

5/22/2007

[1] 1 Synodicon: a commemoration book.

[2] Mt. Olympus, located in Bythinia of Asia Minor, southeast of Prousa, was an important monastic center from the 5th to the 14th centuries. The monasteries of Olympus came to include the monastic communities on the plain of Prousa. The number of monasteries in the region is numbered at around fifty, their apogee occurring between the 8th and 10th centuries, when Olympus occupied the first place in the list of holy mountains. Monasteries in the region included Atroa, Chenolakkos, Medikion, and Pelekete.

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