Commemorated on May 1
Saint Zosimas of Kumurdo lived and labored from the end of the 15th century through the first half of the 16th century. To the world he was known as Zebede. He was raised by Princess Ketevan, the daughter of King George VIII (1446–1466).
In 1515 Zebede was tonsured a monk and given the new name Zosimas. It is believed that in the same year he was also consecrated a bishop. An inscription at Kumurdo Church attests to his hierarchical rank: “May the Lord have mercy on Zosimas, bishop of Kumurdo. Amen.”
St. Zosimas is credited with compiling a handwritten anthology of prayers, homilies, and other writings in the year 1537. The anthology concludes with two of the holy father’s own wills.
In addition to his pastoral, educational and church-building activity in the Kumurdo diocese, St. Zosimas also performed many important works in the Holy Land of Jerusalem. In the 15th and 16th centuries the struggle between Orthodox Christians and Roman Catholics over whom God had appointed heir to the holy hill of Golgotha became particularly acute, and the Orthodox Church was forced to defend the rights that it had acquired in previous centuries. At that time St. Zosimas arrived in the Holy Land and joined the struggle to liberate Golgotha from the Catholics. In honor of his valiant efforts, two vigil lamps were later hung in his name in the churches at Golgotha and the Holy Cross Monastery.
It is significant to note that from the 15th century the names of the bishops of Kumurdo have been inscribed in an important chronicle called Ertgulebis Tsigni, or The Book of Faith. Throughout history the hierarchs of Kumurdo have defended the unity of the Georgian Church and stood steadfast as pillars of national-religious sentiment and examples of faith.
On October 17, 2002, the Georgian Church canonized the holy hierarch Zosimas of Kumurdo and reinstated the bishopric of ancient Kumurdo.
© 2006 St. Herman of Alaska Brotherhood.