Saint David Orthodox Church

Copyright Keith Kenney, 2011

We live near the top of Holy mountain (also known as Mount Mtatsminda or David Mountain), named in honor of St. David Garedzhi, who lived as a recluse in a cave on one of its slopes. At the top of the mountain is Saint David Orthodox Church (19th century). Around  the church is a small cemetery, where some of the most prominent writers, artists, scholars, and national heroes of Georgia are buried.

Here is the Tbilisi part of St. David’s story. He was born in Syria in the 6th century and became a disciple of St. John of Zedazeni and they traveled together to Georgia. St. David and a disciple, Lucian, settled on top of a mountain in Tbilisi.

Copyright Keith Kenney, 2011

At that time, while the Tbilisi area was under constant threat from the Persian fire-worshippers, St. David spent entire days in prayer, asking the Lord to forgive the sins of those who lived in the city below. When he finished praying for the day, he would stand on the mountain and bless the city.

St. David’s authority and popularity alarmed the fire-worshippers; they accused him of adultery in order to discredit him in the eyes of the people. As a “witness,” they summoned an expectant prostitute, who accused St. David of being the child’s father. In response, the holy man touched his staff to the prostitute’s womb and ordered the unborn child to declare the truth. From out of the womb, the fetus uttered the name of his true father.

Outraged, the bystanders savagely stoned the woman to death. St. David pleaded with them to stop, but he was unable to placate the furious crowd. Deeply disturbed by these events, St. David departed the region with his disciple Lucian.

Copyright Keith Kenney, 2011


About keithrkenney
Keith Kenney is a professor of visual communication at the University of South Carolina. He is living in Tbilisi, Georgia, for a year. This blog is about several topics. "CSJMM-Journalism" is about the students, faculty and staff members of the Caucasus School of Journalism and Media Management in Tbilisi, Georgia. "USC-Journalism" is about the students, faculty and staff members of the School of Journalism and Mass Communications (SJMC) at the University of South Carolina in Columbia, SC. CSJMM and SJMC are recipients of a "Journalism School Partnership" program grant from the US Department of State. The purpose of this $750,000 grant is to improve CSJMM and ensure its sustainability. "Tbilisi, Georgia" is about Susanna Melo and my experiences in Tbilisi. "Columbia, SC" will be about our experiences in our home town--Columbia--when we return home. "Georgia" is about Susanna and my experiences when we travel in Georgia outside of Tbilisi. "United States" is about our experiences traveling in the US. "Films and Photography" is about two documentary films I'm working on in Georgia. One story follows how Adishi handles the rapid tourism that is being developed in Svaneti. The other story follows Tamaz Jalagania, who is a craftsman of swords and guns, an opera singer, and an extraordinary storyteller. "Scholarship" is about my current books, articles, reviews, and grants.

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