The Holy Martyr Archil II

Commemorated on June 21

      The Holy Martyr Archil II belonged to the dynasty of the Chosroidoi, and he was a direct descendant of the holy nobleborn emperor Saint Mirian (+ 342).
      During the reign of Archil II, Gruzia (Georgia) was subjected to a devastating invasion by Murvana-Kru ("the Wild"), called such by the Georgian people for his inexorable cruelty. The position of the Gruzian people was desperate, and the emperor Archil II, together with his brother Myro, the ruler of Western Gruzia, tearfully implored the intercession of the MostHoly Mother of God, and She shew forth Her mercy.
      At a battle by the Rivers Abasha and Tskhenis-Tskhali the Gruzian forces miraculously gained the victory over the significantly superiour forces of Murvana-Kru.

      After this victory the emperor Archil II was occupied with the restoral of the Gruzian kingdom. He rebuilt the city of Nukhpatis, restored ruined churches in Mtskheta and furthered the acceptance of Christianity by many of the mountain tribes. But soon Gruzia suffered a new Arab invasion – with the sudden appearance of Dzhidzhum-Asim (Jijum-Asim). Having accordingly rendered tribute to the Arabs, the nobleborn emperor did not expect this invasion. In order to deliver the land from new devastation and avert the intrusion of Islam upon it, he reckoned it beneficial to go himself to Dzhizhum-Asim, offer formerly independent Gruzia in vassalage and ask for peace. Placing all his hope on the mercy of God and ready to offer up his soul for his holy faith and for his nation, Saint Archil went to the camp of the Arabs. Dzhidzhum-Asim received him hospitably and promised his suzerainty, but insisted on acceptance of Mahometanism. As the "Gruzian Chronicle" relates, the holy emperor Archil calmly answered: "It will not be, that I should forsake Christ, the True God, Who for our salvation took upon Himself human flesh. I know, if I obey thee, then I shalt died a death eternal and shalt suffer eternally; if for my firmness thou do subject me to death, I shalt then rise as did my Lord, and I shalt go to Him".
      Hearing these words, Dzhidzhum-Asim gave orders to seize the confessor and take him off to prison. But neither tortures nor urgings nor promises could make the nobleborn emperor Archil apostacise his faith.
      On 20 March 744 the holy emperor Archil received a martyr's death by beheading. The body of the martyr was secretly taken by Gruzian Christians to the locale Ertso and buried in Kakhetia, in the Notkor church built by the holy emperor himself.

© 1996-2001 by translator Fr. S. Janos.