SAINT DAVID OF GARESJA

May 27

From the Prologue

David was one of the thirteen fathers of Georgia commemorated on May 7. He was called Garesja because of the wilderness near Tiflis where he lived the ascetical life [from the Georgian gare, `outside' and jdoma, `to sit']. In his old age, David decided to visit the Holy Land with a few of his disciples. He entrusted the care of the monastery to the Elders Lucian and Dodo and began his journey. When they arrived at a hill from which Jerusalem was visible, David began to weep and said: "How can I be so bold as to walk in the footsteps of the God-man with my sinful feet?" David then told his disciples that they, being more worthy, go to worship at the holy shrines, and he took three stones and began to return. But the Lord would not allow such humility to be hidden from the world and an angel appeared to Elijah the Patriarch of Jerusalem and said to him: "Immediately send for the elder who is returning to Syria. In his possession are three stones. He took with him all the grace of the Holy Land: for him one stone is sufficient for a blessing and the other two should be returned to Jerusalem. That elder is Abba David of Garesja." The patriarch immediately sent men who caught up with the Elder David, took the two stones and released him. That third stone remains, even today, on his tomb and possesses the miraculous power of healing.

HYMN OF PRAISE

SAINT DIDYMUS AND SAINT THEODORA

Didymus beautiful, to his death went

And joyfully chanted psalms.

When the young Theodora, this heard,

From the city, hurried after Didymus,

With Didymus she debated

And about death, with him was vying:

O Didymus, O my benefactor,

Let them first kill me!

You, my virgin's honor saved

But from me, took the martyr's wreath.

O Didymus, yours the honor and glory,

But this death, let it be mine!

Remove yourself, let me the sword behead!

To that, Didymus to Theodora said:

Theodora virgin, sister of mine,

Here is the fortune about which I have always dreamed!

Here the opportunity for Christ to die,

For you it is enough that a virgin pure you are,

You the Lord serve in purity,

Give to Didymus, God to repay!

His counsel, Theodora does not accept,

Before Didymus, hurries ahead to death.

And a head for beheading, have I,

And I, a soul in need of salvation!

This debate, O most beautiful!

About death, O blessed competition!

But both, one sword can behead:

Twice like lightning, beheaded both

With the heavenly hosts, now numbered

With their prayers, helping us.





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