The Georgian Chronicle

Chapter 9.

The priest Abiathar gave an account something like the following in everyone's presence:

"In the year when blessed Nino came to Mts'xet'a, I was a priest with the diocese of my people. A document was brought to me from the Jews of Antioch saying: 'Our kingdom has been split into three parts—the Romans, Greeks, and Armenians rule us. Our prophets became silent and our temple was demolished. We know from Scripture that when our fathers sinned, God grew angry and gave them into captivity. But when, having experienced tribulation, they repented and prayed to the Lord, God was reconciled, returned them, and had pity on them. This happened seven times in times past. However, after our fathers crucified the son of a poor miserable woman, named Christ, it has been three hundred years that the anger of the Lord is visited upon us. [42] We cry out to Him day and night, but He neither answers us nor is reconciled with us. Consequently it is worth finding out if He is the Son of God described by the laws and the prophets. With your wisdom derived from familiarity with Scripture, look and examine whether all that had been writen came to pass [g50], and whether that man was actually from Heaven.' Now I was in great sadness for many days. Then, looking in Scripture, I found the time designated, commencing with Daniel and concluding with Augustus, emperor of the Romans. While I was so doing, I saw the blessed Nino and was informed by her of the words of Scripture of our prophets and the nature of His dispensation in order, everything from His birth to His ascension to Heaven. And I believed genuinely that He was the hope of the pagans and the salvation of my people of Israel. Then lo, my son and I became worthy of the water of Niebaz which is Bethlehem, which David had desired but had not achieved. The Lord rememberd us in pleasure with His people and He visited us in His salvation, and we dwelled in the house of the Lord, so that we bless the Lord for all eternity, for blessed David made us joyous. God made me see other wonders and good things in this city, under the direction of the blessed Nino."
The listeners were delighted and said to Abiathar: "Tell us what you know about this matter." He replied to them: "We [43] heard from our fathers who had heard from their fathers that in the days of king Herod, news came to the Jews of Mts'xet'a that the kings of Iran had come and taken Jerusalem and that the priests of Bodbe (Budayoy) and Kodi and the Tsgharats'i scribes and the Canaanite translators had fled to the East. All the Jews mourned. However, after a short while glad tidings were heard that the Iranians had come to Jerusalem not in war but to adore the Son of a Virgin born of the son of David. They had as a guide a sentient and wise star of Heaven. When they found [Jesus] in the desert, they glorified Him as God. Amongst themselves instead of weapons, they had as gifts royal gold, healing myrrh and frankincense, as gifts for God. Having offered these things to the child, they departed. When the Jewish people heard this they rejoiced with great happiness. Thirty years later a letter came from Jerusalem, from the priest Annas [g51] to my mother's father Elioz [stating] that the child Jesus who had received gifts from the mages, having grown to manhood, claimed that he was the Son of God. Come, those of you who are able, so that we may implement the laws of Moses regarding him, and kill him. Elioz the priest from the house of Heghi, from the clan of Eghiazar, sagacious in the laws, went there. He had a mother from the same line who entreated him, saying: 'My son, do not partake of the Jews' counsel, for [Jesus is] the [44] message of the prophets, the proverb of the laws, and the word of the living God.' Along with [Elioz] went Ghunkianos (Longinos) of Karsani. They arrived on the day of crucifixion. And as they were nailing [Jesus] to the Cross, the mother of Elioz started and cried out in prophecy: 'Thrice woe to you, killers of your creator, for the peace of pagans, killers of your king of Israel, Savior of the world. Spare us, God our Lord.' At that same moment she expired. Now by lot the cloak [of Jesus] fell to the Jews of Mts'xet'a. Taking it, Elioz brought it to his home. He took it before his sister who kissed [the robe], placed it on her breast, and died in Christ. This was caused by three factors: the death of the Lord, the death of her mother, and the brother's complicity with the Jews. Now when Aderk [Pharasmanes I, A.D. 1-58] who was the king of Iberia heard about this, he marvelled. Yet he did not want to keep the dead man's robe himself. They buried it under a cypress tree, which had been brought as a plant from Lebanon [g52]. And behold, it was [near] the home of Elioz, west of the Mogt'a bridge.

When the Jews heard all of this they were ashamed of themselves and planned to slay [Elioz] by lapidation, since by reason of his deep knowledge of the Old Testament he had verified the divinity of Christ, glorifying [Him] with the [45] Father and the Spirit. When the king heard the Jews' clamor, he rebuked them and commanded that this [Christian] preaching not be impeded in his land, for he had heard about the miracles which had occurred in Armenia and Rome" [g53].

Chapter 10.

Then saint Nino together with her believing disciples dared to propagate the faith of Christ by various signs which she effected through the drawn cross. Sleeping kneeling on her knees, she saw this same vision three times: a flock of black-colored birds descended into the river and emerged white. They went to the garden and grazed on its flowers. Taking a little thence, they gave it to the lord of the garden. [Nino] related this vision to Abiathar's daughter, and she said: "You who came as an exile are made an heir of paradise and of the tree of life. That is the glad tidings of our fathers, and the work of the heavenly man Jesus and of his innocent blood. But you Jerusalem, Jerusalem, spread your wing and gather up those whose lot is heavenly, among whom we too are gathered by this woman saint who makes this place [resemble] a paradise of ease." Now saint Nino grew in asceticism and constant prayer. The pagans were amazed at her constancy.

[46] In those days a certain woman went around with a sick child [suffering from] incurable pains, in the hopes that she might find someone who couId save the boy with drugs [g54]. She herself was ill-disposed toward, and a curser of, Christ and had prevented many [from attending] Nino's preaching. But when all else failed, she took her son and laid him down before saint Nino. The blessed [Nino] said to her: "I do not have [the ability] to cure humanity, although my Christ, creator of the visible and invisible [does have this power]." Placing the boy on her bed, she made the sign of the cross and said: "Jesus, my God, King of eternity, heal this lad in the name of Your might, so that the pagans know that You are the sustainer of humankind which is Your flock, and that You are due worship, honor, and glory forever, amen." Having said this, she returned to the woman her lad — healed, beautified, and full of joy. And [the woman] said: "There is no other God besides your Christ, Lord and Prince of life and death." She departed in delight and told everyone what had happened. Then she returned to Nino and did not leave her side.

In those days queen Nana was afflicted with an incurable illness. All those skilled in the art of healing admitted defeat, saying that no one could cure that ailment. They [47] told the queen about Nino and she sent to have her brought. They went and found [Nino] praying in the thicket of a tamarisk grove, in front of a cross. They related to her their mistress' words. But [Nino] said to them: 'At this hour I shall not withdraw my heart from my Lord. But should she wish, let her come to us.' When the queen (tikin) heard this she said: "Raise me up and take me to her." A great multitude of men and women went with her. They took and placed her on Nino's bed. [Nino] prayed for a long while, and placed the cross on four sides of her, and immediately she sat up, cured. Arising from her place, [the queen] went to her home, glorifying Christ God, together with the entire multitude. Thereafter she studied the truth, learning the precepts of Christ from saint Nino and from the priest Abiathar, who was called Paul in the faith [g55].

King Mirian was amazed and asked Paul how it happened that God became man, what those teachings were, and what Christianity meant. And [Paul] related to him, as he was able, everything in order. Mirian had a book which told about the line of Nimrod and the construction of K'asheni. He had this brought before him, and reading it discovered there something to the effect that when they started building the tower and [48] the city of K'agheni, a voice came from On High saying: "I am Mik'ayel, prince of the eastern regions. Cease what you are building, for God will destroy it. But in later times there shall come a heavenly king who shall accomplish what you desire. And they would see [him] scorned among the people [but that] his love would consume the beauty of the world. For kings would leave their kingdoms and love poverty, not the glory which you seek, oh Nimrod." [The text is confused here.] Reading this, the king became lost in thought, astounded that both secular and clerical writings testified to Christ. But he was unable to abandon his patrimonial, customary religion [worship of] the sun, fire, Aramaz and other images.

At this time a mage, a relative of the king, became ill. Mirian said to saint Nino: "You are the daughter of Aramazd or the child of Zade who brought you here as a foreigner and granted you competence in healing, to glorify you. Now heal those of my family [who are sick] and do not be a spreader of the deviant faith of the Greeks. For, although the Iranian god T'rujan expelled and took them by cloud and hail [g56], it is [or they are] firm elsewhere, and such warfare is the custom of world-governors. Yet we [still] have Gayim and Gats'im and ancient gods of our fathers—they are the ones [49] who make the sun rise, who provide rain, and who make the bounty of the world increase." The saint replied: "I am a slave woman, a creation and worshipper of the unseen and unknown divinity, of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, which is the creator of Heaven and earth; which, because of its manifold mercy gives to those who scorn it life, sustenance and honor as it will to you. For it gave you a mind and speech that you know the height of the sky, the position of the stars, the depth of the sea, and the breadth of the land, and that by these things they recognize the governor and fashioner of such things. And I tell you that such an immeasurable greatness which clothes the sky with clouds, with thunderous sounds of the air, and shakes the entire world by the hand of the great Christos, descended from on high with mercy and adopted our nature, and completed [His] lifetime in thirty-three years. He was dishonored and crucified by a thoughtless people —but by [His own] volition, not by necessity. In three days He resurrected and went to Heaven. He dispatched preachers throughout the world to [profess] belief in His name, and to live in piety, and to stay away from the idols of superstition. I tell you this so that you believe that what I do is in His name. Located here is a robe which covered Him. And, so they say, the sheepskin coat of Elia, who saw God, is here too. Now in order for you to accept fully what [I have] said, bring me the Khurasanean mage, the enemy of the truth, and he shall deny his heresy and profess with faith whatever I make him say." As soon as they brought [the mage] to that garden beneath [50] the planted pines, [Nino] turned him to the west and had him say three times: "I renounce thee, satan," then turning him eastward had him say, "I fall before Thee, holy Trinity and appeal to Thee, Thou crucified God." Nino wept and made the sign of the cross with the cross. Like smoke, the evil spirit departed from [the mage] and that man became healed of the dew ("demon") and healed of his pains. He believed in Christ with his entire family [g57] and those who beheld him glorified the Father and Son and the Holy Spirit, time without end. Amen.

After this, the king went hunting through Muxnar, on the twentieth day of July, a Saturday. While they were on the road, satan spoke to the king's heart and [through the king] said to his four advisors: "Why is it that we have become lazy in worshipping the gods, after that witch arrived and preached Christianity? Now let us destroy her and those who have been deceived by her, and remain in our patrimonial religion." Hearing this, they were delighted and became even more eager. Accepting the plan they passed through the borders of Muxnar, then ascended Mt. T'xut in order to see Kazbk' and Up'lists'ixe from that elevation. Lo, a mist and fog arose, the sun was eclipsed at noon and it became night. Terror descended upon them. They abandoned the king and dispersed. He, trembling, and fearful for his life said:

[51] "Jesus Christ, God of Nino, take me into Your service and remove me from hell, for my gods were unable to aid me. I believe You can, and that day and night are Yours. Crucified Lord, save us with Your Cross, for I believe that this darkness has descended not over everyone, but solely upon those of us who, after the coming of Your light, [still] love the darkness." As soon as he had said this the sun dawned with fresh air. [The kings'] troops found him. Descending from their horses, they fell on their faces, worshipping the Cross and saying: "You are the God of Heaven above and upon the earth, light and darkness belong to You. We bless You, Lord of lords and God of gods. And since it was in this place that You took us to Yourself, here we shall erect the sign of Your Cross, by which Your name is glorified by ineffable wonders forever." They turned homeward, dispatching in advance [g58] messengers to those who sat mourning because of the evil news they had heard [about the king's disappearance]. As soon as [the mourners] heard about the peaceful return, the entire multitude arose with great joy and went before the king. King [Mirian] spoke: "Glorify in unison Christ God, creator of Heaven and earth. But where is my mother, saint Nino? For her God is my God." They informed him: "Behold she is praying for you with fifty people among the blackberry bushes." They went to her, and prostrating themselves, adored her. However, she put forth her hand and put them on [52] their feet. Turning them eastward she advised them to worship their savior, Christ, and to confess Him as the Son of the living God. The entire multitude wept upon seeing the king and blessed the living God.

Then saint Nino wrote a letter to Helen, queen of Rome, and Mirian wrote to Constantine the Great, [saying]: "The Lord has visited Iberia with great mercy. Send us priests to give us life with water and the spirit." Saint Nino herself did not cease preaching with the twelve [g59] women who were constantly with her. Subsequently the king thought to build a church before the priests arrived. They entered the garden, cut down the pine tree, fashioned six columns from it, set the foundations and erected the six columns. But as for the seventh column which was larger than all the others, they were unable to lay it in place neither with the [strength] of the multitude nor by machines, until sunset. So they left off and went away, greatly surprised. Now saint Nino spent the night there with the twelve women praying tearfully. During the night there were shocks, movements and thundering as though the two mountains, Aramaz and Zade [were about to] collapse, destroy the [channels of] the two rivers, Kur and Arag, and divert them upon the city and the fortress. The women with Nino were terrified and started to flee. But the saint said: [53] "Fear not, for this is an illusion and not reality. The mountains stand firm, the rivers continue along in their courses, and people in the city are sleeping peacefully. Rather, unbelief, having become a mountain, has indeed crumbled, and the blood of children who were sacrificed to the idols—which represents those rivers—has turned thence, and the wailing sounds which lament their destruction are those impure deceiving dews themselves." Having said this, she exhorted [the women] to be courageous and [Nino] herself shed streams of tears. Until cockcrow there was agitation and clamor as though a large army had surrounded, taken, and destroyed the city, and [as though] an order had been given in a loud voice saying: "Xora the Iranian king has commanded you, and the king of kings Xoraxosrov orders the Jews to stand back, separate, and not die, and behold [g60], king Mirian has been slain." But the blessed apostle stretched forth her arm saying: "Go to the outer darkness, for lo, the Crucified One, your slayer has come. Begone to the north!" They immediately disappeared. Close to dawn, a fiery youth clad in unapproachable light appeared to saint Nino and told her three things. Then [the angel, or Nino herself] went to the column and raised it on high. Now a woman named Sidonia (Sidina) saw all of this. She went to Nino and asked: "What is this, blessed queen?" The latter replied: [54] "Remain silent and pray." And behold, they saw the column move gently, lit by light, and descend upon its cut base. As it grew light, the king arrived with a huge crowd. They saw that the column had flown, untouched by any hand, and had settled itself upon its pedestal. Raising their voices they glorified God. On that day numerous miracles occurred there. For a Jew, who had been blind from birth, was taken near the column and his/her eyes were immediately opened. Then one of the royal offspring, Hamazaspuni, eight years old, who was paralyzed, was brought by his mother and placed on a litter in front of the column. [The mother] beseeched Nino for the salvation of her lad. [Nino] touched the column with her hand, then placed her hand on the lad, saying: "Jesus Christ Who came in the flesh for the salvation of the world, bless thls boy." The lad arose immediately and stood upon his own feet. And seeing this, the whole multitude blessed God; and awe descended upon them all. The king made a covering for the column. And they completed the construction of the church, to the glory of God [g61].

Chapter 11.

Now king Constantine, seeing the envoy of Mirian, was overjoyed because of Iberia's conversion to Christianity, for he believed that thereby [the Iberians] had completely severed [55] their ties with Iran. Queen Helen likewise rejoiced, and they glorified God. They sent [to Mirian] a bishop named Yovhannes, two priests, three deacons, a cross, and an icon of the Savior. After arriving, [the Byzantine clerics] illuminated with baptism the king, his wife, and children [g62], and prominent men at a place called Mokt'a, but thereafter called "the place where the Chiefs were illuminated [baptised]." All of Iberia was baptised excepting [folk] in Mt'ewulik', in Caucasus and among the Jews of Mts'xet'a. Fifty men of the Barabbayink' [descendants of Barabbas] were baptised. The king loved them and gave them [the fortress of] Didits'ixe. However Mirian's son-in-law, P'eroz (who held Aghbania/Aghuania as far as Partaw), did not heed the Word of Life. Then Mirian sent bishop Yovhannes and a senior man with him to Constantine requesting many priests, a fragment of the Lord's Cross and masons for building churches. [Constantine] sent all that he had requested plus the tablet [which rested] at the Lord's feet, the nails [driven] into His hands, other vessels of the church and expenses so that the church of the country of K'art'li would be built in his name. The bishop came to the Erushet'i (Ushet') country, laid the foundation of a church, deposited the nails there and leaving the builders and expenses [for compensation]. He crossed over to Manklis, laid the foundation of a church and deposited the blessed tablet there. The king heard about this and was saddened that relics had not been placed in the royal city but elsewhere, and because the [56] emissaries had not come there first. Saint Nino said: "King, grieve not, for every place is worthy of propagating the Lord's name. Here [in this city] great holiness and a testimony of the Lord [is to be found]—[His] blessed robe." The king heard from Abiathar all about the robe and he glorified Christ, saying: "Blessed is the Lord God Who removed this from the Jews who hated Him and bestowed it upon us distant ones by His mercy." Then upon the arrival of the bishop, the masons commenced constructing a church outside the city. This is presently a church with a bishop in residence. At the start of the construction, saint Nino spoke: "Christ [g63], Son of God, partaker of glory, You came to the line of David with your renown and strength, born the only-begotten God of an only-begotten mother, a light to all, an image of the Father, a powerful source baptised by water and the Spirit, crucified and buried in the heart of the earth, resurrected in three days, ascended to Heaven, future judge of the living and the dead, be Thou a protector and buttress for all who depend upon Thee; and blessings on Thee forever, amen."

At that same time some people told the bishop that at the base of a small mountain there was a beautiful and fragrant tree which healed deer, wounded by hunters, whenever they ate its fallen leaves or fruits. He said to them: "Truly this [57] country has always been protected by the Lord, even before it recognized Him." Taking the king's son, Rev, the bishop went and cut down the tree at its base, and brought it to the city on Friday, the twenty-fifth of March. It was covered with leaves. Erecting it at the door of the church, for thirty-seven days it did not wilt, as if it were still attached to its root. On the first of May, they fashioned three crosses [from the tree]. One of these they erected, and in the sight of the entire public a luminous cross crowned with stars descended from Heaven and covered the wooden cross until morning. Then two stars arose from it, one flying eastward and the other, westward. Saint Nino said: "Go up to a high place and note where the stars go." They ascended and watched and said that one star was glowing at the summit of Mount T'xut' which arises in Kasb, while the other one [went] to Dabi in the Raxet'i country. They took the two crosses and erected them in the places pointed out by the Lord by the twinkling stars. They erected the senior cross on a rock [g64] which stands opposite the city, and they designated the day of Great Easter, the Feast of the Cross for all Iberia, [lasting] eight days. Now after [some] days, on a Wednesday, once more the cross flared forth light, having at its top a halo of twelve stars. Seeing these wonders, many of the pagans turned to the Lord and were baptised. The believers were yet more confirmed in the faith and blessed God, worshipping the holy sign. Resembling sparks from metal, the angels of [58] God encircled the cross and lit upon it.

In these days, the son of Rev, who was the heir of the kingdom, grew deathly ill. His father brought him and laid him before the cross, and he became well at once, and they glorified God. The child's father built a marble altar on the cross and each year came with gifts of offering to adore the cross. A person blind in both eyes came and fell before the holy symbol and seven days later the eyes were opened. On a litter they brought and placed at the foot of the cross a woman who had been afflicted by dews for eight years. Twelve days later she went home cured. A mother brought her dead child and placed it near the cross. Many people said to her: "Take it away and bury it, and be not so bold." But she did not lose hope. At night the child arose and his mother took him home. When the people saw this they blessed the crucified God. It was not only those who came near who enjoyed the blessings of healing, but also those at a distance who [merely] spoke the name of the holy cross of Nino. And many barren women received children as a blessing of the cross.

In this period king Constantine sent a deacon who had a letter from the Frank (Branjk') people who had been illuminated [g65] by [Nino's] father [Zabulon]. For they had heard that the sun [59] of justice had dawned in Armenia and Iberia with dazzling rays and that very great acts of God had transpired among them. They sent a letter [expressing] the joy of their hearts and wanted to learn from the Frank attendant; [they wanted him] to write everything accurately regarding the events which occurred in Armenia and Iberia to the glory of God and to give it to them. The deacon found out, wrote it down, and took it to his own land, to the Franks.

Then king Mirian planned to militarily compel his son-in-law P'eroz and the Mt'ewulik' to accept the faith. But saint Nino stopped him, saying: "The Lord did not come with sword and bow, but with the Cross and the Gospel." A bishop, together with Nino and a prince, went to Tsrbin, Chart'al, T'xela, Tsilkas, and Goramaghr. But [the people] did not accept the word of the Lord. They descended into Zhalet' and Ertsoyt' and preached there. Those people listened and were baptised. The P'xats'ik' left their country and went to T'oshet'i and to the present there are many mountaineers who are idol-worshippers. Saint Nino went to the country of Aghbania/Aghuania to preach to P'eroz. She stopped near the border of Kuxet'i and became ill there. Rev, the king's son, and his wife, Salome, who were at Ujarma, came to see [Nino]. They king heard [about her illness] and sent the bishop to take her to Mts'xet'a, but she did not want to go. So the king and his wife, and Peluzhavr Siwnik' and a [60] multitude of the people went to her. Seated around her, they wept. [Nino] gazed up at heaven with unblinking eyes, full of joy. Then the queens said to her: "Holy mother, as we heard from you, hosts of prophets [prophesied the coming of] the Son of God. He had twelve Apostles and seventy-two disciples, yet none of them was sent to us, excepting your holiness. Now tell us the details of your birth and upbringing. Saint [Nino] said to them: "Why do you want to learn about a poor wretched maid-servant of Christ who is to be called to Him and to my mother, forever? I have related to Salome, daughter of the Armenian king [Trdat], a brief account of my coming here. Bring parchment and ink and write down what she tells you. Furthermore, you yourselves know whatever else you have heard and seen. May the Lord's peace be with you. I entrust to you the priest Yakob who shall be bishop after Yohannes, by the calling of the Spirit." Then she bade bishop Yohannes perform mass, and she communed in the divine mystery. Entrusting herself to the Heavenly King, she was perfected in Christ. [Nino] was buried at that spot in the three hundred and thirty second year of the Resurrection of the Lord, in the year 5832 of Adam's expulsion [g67] from Paradise, and in the fifteenth year of Nino's sojourn in K'art'li.

Now king Constantine wrote a letter to Mirian, and freed his son Bak'ar (Bahk'ar) who had been his hostage. He wrote: [61] "I, the emperor Constantine, a new servant of Jesus Christ (by Whom I was freed from the captivity of satan), have sent your son to you, Mirian king of Iberia, so that our Lord serve as a pledge between us, [and] so that you obey us, [and] so that He drives the deceiving dew from your borders." Now Mirian and the lad's mother, Nana, and the entire land rejoiced in the glory of God. After this [Mirian] completed the church of the bishop's see and filled it with adornments. In these days his son Rev [II] died, having lived thirty-four years. The same year king Mirian himself grew ill. He summoned his son, placed the crown on the cross and thence on [his son's] head, recommending to him the faith and habits of piety. And he said to his wife: "Go dwell at the tomb of saint Nino and remain there. Build a church and honor the place. Divide our belongings into two and distribute them to the poor. Now I am going to the place I came from. I thank God Who turned my darkness into light, death into life and failure into success. Endeavor to destroy the remaining idols. May the almighty Lord be with you." And with that, he went to sleep. The next year queen Nana reposed in the Lord [g68].

Chapter 12.

The Armenians did not allow Bak'ar to rule, for they wanted to enthrone the son of Trdat's daughter [Salome]. Bak'ar took [62] refuge in Iran, giving the country to them. To P'eroz he gave from Shamshoylde to the head of Ashots'k'. Similarly he sent protests to Byzantium ("Greece") and mustered troops from all parts. He fought the Armenians in Jawaxet', driving them out [g69]. Then Bak'ar reigned [Aspacures II/Varaz-Bakur I, 363-365], through the might of the Byzantines and Iranians. He obtained a document from Salome and her son stating that they would not seek the throne unless Bak'ar's line was extinguished. He gave them Kuxet' and set him up as prince of Risha. He himself remained firm in the faith and converted many of the Caucasians to Christianity. He built a church at Tsilkan and increased the clergy and deacons. He died in peace and was buried near his brother. Then his son, Mirdat [Mithridates/Mihrdat III, 365-380, diarch 370-378], ruled.

After Yohannes, Yakob became bishop, and after him the kat'oghikos of Armenia, Nerses, ordained his own deacon, Yakob, as bishop of Iberia and sent him there. King Mihrdat, a man who believed in God, was a builder and embellisher of churches. In his day they started to take fragments from the column which we mentioned earlier, and the king did not stop this. Mihrdat died and his son Varzabak'ar [Aspacures III/Varaz-Bakur II, 380-394] ruled. The latter had two wives: the daughter of Rev [II], who bore him Mihrdat and Trdat; and the granddaughter of P'eroz [of Gugark'] [g70], [63] who bore him P'arsman. Varaz-Bakur, an evil man lacking in faith, did nothing worthy of recall. Now in his day [and] in the time of the king of Armenia, brave Trdat's son Xosrov, the military commander of Iran came to the borders of Armenia and Iberia and demanded taxes from them. Xosrov ordered the Iberian king to send inhabitants of Caucasus, Leks and Ossetians, to fight the Iranians. But that coward Varaz-Bakur, filled with fear, hid himself in the valley of Kuxet'. The Iranians came and built a fortress opposite Mts'xet'a at the gate of Tiflis. When the Iberians sought peace, [the Iranian commander] demanded Aghbania/Aghuania and Movkan, "for it is Iranian," he said, "and K'art'li where you were born should be sufficient for you, sons of a maid-servant; furthermore, you must pay taxes to the Xosrovunik." Which is in fact what [the Iberians] did, abandoning Aghbania and Movkan to the Iranians and becoming tributary. The Iranian army departed. In the same period the Byzantines raided, capturing T'oxark' and Klarjk', from the sea to Arsion. Only K'art'li, Heret' and Egris remained under Varaz-Bakur. After a short time he died, leaving small boys [as heirs] [g71]. The princes enthroned Trdat [Tiridates, 394-406], Trdat the Great's daughter's son, from the land of the Armenian king. He was a good, devout, and wise man who put an end to the Iranian assaults, built churches, and increased all spiritual and physical benefits. He freed Risha and built a church there. After the [64] repose of bishop Yakob, he appointed Eghia in his place. He built Nekaria, and then died leaving a good name. Then P'arsman [II, Pharasmanes II, 406-409] reigned. Finding aid from the emperor he resisted Iran; however, he died after a short while. Then Rev's grandson Mihrdat [IV, Mithridates IV, 409-411] ruled, an insolent, senseless man who did not pay taxes to Iran. So the Iranian king dispatched the commander Up'rib against them. Mihrdat went against them in Gardaban, was seized by them and the troops were beaten. The Iranians entered K'art'li, pulled down the churches, and established fire-temples everywhere.

Now after three years, when the Iranians were occupied fighting their enemies in the East, the Iberians lifted their heads and enthroned Mihrdat's son Arch'il as their king [A.D. 411-435]. He did away with the fire-temples in the land, taking refuge in the holy Cross. They expelled the Iranians and warred against them with Byzantine aid. Consequently the Iranian lieutenant in charge of Aghbania/Aghuania, Movkan, and Atrpatakan [g72] came against [Arch'il] with a great force. But Arch'il, also taking along a great force, went before him to Berdahoj and expelled them through the power of the holy Cross. Entering Aghbania/Aghuania, he captured them and returned with great delight. He sent messengers to the entire country, saying: "It was [65] not through our strength or wisdom that we vanquished the Iranians, but in the name of the blessed Trinity and by the might of the Cross of Christ our God. Now be firm in the faith and glorify God the great." When all heard this they blessed the holy Trinity in Its glory, and renovated the churches. Now since the Iranian king was warring with India, the Sindians, and Ethiopia, he was unable to [fight] Iberia. Arch'il's son, Mihrdat, a brave and successful [warrior] destroyed and demolished the Iranian regions, but was unable to capture fortresses or cities. The military commander of Aghbania/Aghuania, Barzabot', gave his daughter in marriage to Mihrdat, and so they made peace between them. Arch'il gave Shamshoylte and its entire theme to his son. And Mihrdat's wife believed in Christ and was baptised. Her name was Sakduxt, and she built the [church] of st. Sion in Shamshoylte.

As for the episcopacy, after Eghia it was held by Yunan, followed by Grigor, Barsegh and then Mushid, who was an Iranian. The latter was insufficiently pious of the Lord; quite the contrary, he secretly held magianism. He neither preached nor encouraged the people to piety, but rather wrote books on the study of magian doctrine. Arch'il and his son were unable to find out about [his leaning] but subsequently the bishop Mik'ayel discovered and wrote about it.

[66] Arch'il piously reposed in Christ, and his son Mirdat [Mithridates/Mihrdat V, 435-447] ruled, a virtuous man like his father. He had a daughter, named Xorandze [g73], yet they requested a male child from the Lord. After four years a son was born to him who was named Varazxosrovt'ang in Iranian, or Vaxt'ang in Georgian. They rejoiced exceedingly, gave to the poor, and thanked God. The lad grew and the spayapet Sayurmak nourished him. Mihrdat died when Vaxt'ang was but seven years old. The child's mother Sakduxt was terrified that her father would try to avenge her apostasy from magianism and the destruction done to Iran by her husband, Mihrdat. So she gave up the boy and went to her father, beseeching him to forgive her for what had happened. And Barzabat' said to her: "All the damage done is forgiven you. But now return to your home, and I shall implant the Iranian faith in Iberia and I shall secure things so that [people] may willingly choose what pleases them, either our [faith] or the Iberian." He immediately dispatched a fire-attendant to Mts'xet'a and a chief priest, named Bink'aran. They came and resided in Mogt'a. Then Sakduxt ruled the realm according to her father's will until he died. His son, Varaz-Bakur, Sakduxt's brother, took his place. The spayapet Sayurmak also died and his position was taken by Jewansher. Now the chief-priest [67] tried to convert Iberia to his own faith. But no one paid attention to him, excepting a few insignificant people who ruined their own lives. In this period bishop Mushid died and his place was taken by Mik'ayel who was from the Byzantines and who, by his diligence, kept prominent people in the true faith [g74].


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