THE TRANSLATION OF THE HONORABLE VESTURE

July 10

From the Prologue

At the time of the suffering of our Lord Jesus for mankind, there was to be found among the ranks of the Roman army in Jerusalem a Georgian named Elioz from the town of Mtskheta. His mother had heard of Christ and, in her heart, believed in Him. Seeing her son off to the army in Palestine, she counseled him not to do anything against Christ. When the Lord was nailed to the Cross, the sound of the hammer on Golgotha reached the ears of Elioz's mother in the town of Mtskheta. Hearing this sound, she cried out: "Woe is me because I did not die before this time. Death would have rescued me from this dreadful sound!" Saying this, she fell dead. Elioz, at that time, was beneath the Cross and with the other soldiers cast lots for the tunic [robe] of Christ. He won the vesture and brought it to Mtskheta and gave it as a gift to his sister Sidonia. She, having heard about the death of the Lord and that her brother was a participant of the shedding of innocent blood, fell dead holding the tunic of the Lord firmly in her hands and no one was able to tear it away but were compelled to bury the tunic with her. A cedar tree sprouted from her grave from which poured forth a sweet-smelling healing myrrh. In time, the cedar tree fell and the place was forgotten. Following her prayer, St. Nina, found this place with the help of a pillar of fire. The baptized Emperor Mirian erected a church there dedicating it to the Holy Apostles. In the year 1625 A.D., the Shah Abbas took this tunic and sent it to Moscow as a gift to Prince Michael Feodorovitch and Patriarch Philaret. This tunic was placed in the Cathedral Church of the Dormition [Assumption] of the Blessed Virgin in Moscow.

HYMN OF PRAISE

THE MOTHER OF ELIOZ

The mother of Elioz counseled him:

Elioz, O sight of my eyes,

"Behold, you are entering the imperial army

Precisely in the land of my forefathers.

In that land, the King has appeared

From of old awaited, Christ the Lord.

By the prophets, the Savior prophesied.

To Georgia, news of Him came

Unseen miracles, He performs

And, unheard of words, He speaks

Among men, establishing the Kingdom of God,

Everywhere, news of Him is heard.

Men and angels rejoice

But this joy is darkened

By the evil malice of the Jewish elders,

Thought to kill the Savior

By the new curse, the people oppressed.

But, my son, the sight of my eyes,

In their evil, you do not enter,

Into the Blood of the Just One, do not enter."

Time was passing, in its course,

One day the mother at prayer

The sound of the hammer on the Cross she heard,

The mother screamed as though in a live fire:

"O death, why did you not come to me sooner,

That I do not, that awful sound hear

That announces the death of the Sinless Savior

And of the Jewish nation, the curse.

O son, O Elioz,

To your mother, why did you not listen?

Into the Blood of the Just One, why did you enter?"

Having said this, the lamenting mother,

To the ground fell. To God her soul rendered.





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