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History of Georgia
St. Nino

St. Nino's tomb is shown at the Bodbe Monastery, Kakheti. St. Nino's attribute, a Grapevine cross, is a symbol of Georgian Christianity. She has become the most venerated saint of the Georgian Orthodox Church.


St. Nino


Nino was born in the small city - Colastri, in Cappadocia. She was the only child of Zabulon, the famous Roman general. Her relatives were St. George and Houbnal I, the Patriarch of Jerusalem.

Nino, during her childhood was brought up by her relative and the nun named Sarah Bethlehemlianka. Nino went to Rome with the help of her uncle where she decided to preach the Christian gospel in Iberia, known to her as the resting place of the Christ’s tunic. Nino received a vision where the Virgin Mary gave her a grapevine cross and said:

"Go to Iberia and tell there the Good Tidings of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and you will find favor before the Lord; and I will be for you a shield against all visible and invisible enemies. By the strength of this cross, you will erect in that land the saving banner of faith in My beloved Son and Lord."

Nino managed to convert some villages to Christianity in Northern Anatolia and Armenia, while on her way to Iberia.

Nino reached the borders of ancient Georgian Kingdom of Iberia in about 320 A.D. There, she placed a Christian cross in the small town of Akhalkalaki and finally reaching Mtskheta. Iberian Kingdom has been influenced by the neighboring Persian Empire which played an important role as the regional power in the Caucasus. The Iberian King Mirian III and his nation worshiped the syncretic gods of Armazi and Zaden. Soon after the arrival of Nino in Mstkheta, the Queen of Iberia Nana requested the audience with the Cappadician.

Queen Nana suffered from severe illness, had some knowledge of Christianity. Nino having restored her health, won to herself disciples from the Queen's attendants. The queen officially converted to Christianity and was baptized by Nino. King Mirian was tolerant of Nino's new faith however, he secluded himself from Nino and the growing Christian community in his kingdom. The legend tells, theat while on the hunting trip, the King was suddenly struck blind as the total darkness. In a desperate state, King Mirian uttered the prayer to the God of St Nino.

As soon as he finished his prayer, the light appeared and the King returned to his palace. As the results of this miracle, the King of Iberia renounced idolatry under the teaching of St. Nino and was baptized as the first Christian King of Iberia. In 327 A.D King Mirian made Christianity as the state religion of his kingdom, making Iberia the second Christian state after Armenia.

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