St. Tagine of Georgia, Mother of Martyrs Davit and Tarichan


Commemorated on May 18

Ss. Davit and Tarichan were born to Vardan and Tagine, pious Christians and relatives of the king. Vardan died while his sons were still young, and Tagine’s pagan brother, Theodosius, seized the family’s possessions.

Concerned that the brothers would eventually claim their legal inheritance, Theodosius became determined to convert his sister and nephews to paganism. “Leave behind the Faith of the crucified Christ and receive mine, and I will adopt your children,” he told Tagine. But Tagine firmly guarded the family against her brother’s evilness. “It is enough that you have seized my sons’ estates,” she said. “But you cannot seize the inheritance they will receive from their Father in heaven!”

Theodosius was thwarted by his sister’s resoluteness, so he tried to convert his nephews directly. He called them to him, embraced them warmly, and tempted them with sweets. “Now you are my sons, and everything I have belongs to you,” he told them. “Trust me like obedient sons of a beloved father. Turn from the Faith of your father, and I will show you a better way!”

The holy youths answered, “We are perfectly content with our father’s Faith and will remain loyal to this Faith until the day our souls depart from our flesh. We are prepared to suffer everything for the love of our Lord and Heavenly Father!”

Theodosius did not try to sway his nephews because he feared revenge from the Christian community, so he left them in peace but secretly plotted to murder them. However, Tagine sensed that danger was near and escaped with her sons to the region of Tao in the south.

Theodosius eventually learned that the brothers were herding sheep at the top of a mountain, and he ordered that they be ambushed. But the brothers heard the noise and saw the armed soldiers before they attacked. Davit rejoiced upon seeing his uncle and ran toward him, but Theodosius stabbed him before he could embrace him. Davit dropped the staff he had been holding, and upon falling to the ground, the staff was miraculously transformed into a large tree. Two hundred years later, a group of Christians chopped the tree down and divided the holy wood among themselves.

Having witnessed his brother’s murder, Tarichan raced toward the village for help. However, his pursuers overtook him, stabbed him to death, and ran off. When the soldiers returned to Theodosius, they saw that God had punished him as he was now blind. The men were stunned and could neither utter a word nor move. Later, Theodosius’ eyes filled with bitter tears, and he finally repented.

When first learning of her sons’ deaths, Tagine denounced her brother. Those who heard her cries wept along with her. But while she was stroking the lifeless bodies of her sons, Theodosius came to her, saying, “On you has shone the Inextinguishable Light from the Unapproachable and True Light, the Eternal Light. Pray to the holy martyrs that the Lord have mercy on me and make me, the unworthy, worthy of the seal of Christ, the All-merciful God, Who came into the world. Indeed, He is the One True God!” When Tagine heard these words, she recognized that God had received her sons as a holy sacrifice. Filled with joy, she told her brother, “May God forgive you the murder of my sons!”

She then took a piece of the earth that had been stained by her son Davit’s blood and anointed her brother’s eyes. His sight was immediately restored.

These events occurred in 693. As a witness to the sanctity of His martyrs, our God, Who loves mankind, illumined the martyrs’ bodies with a radiant light each evening when night fell.

Theodosius repented and was baptized into the Christian Faith, and he erected a church in honor of his nephew, St. Davit. The mayor of Divri took St. Tarichan’s holy relics and built a church over them in his name. Blessed Tagine began a new life in the village of Tadzarani and it was there that she fell asleep in the Lord.

By permission of the Orthodox Church in America (www.oca.org)