Commemorated on November 30
Saint Peter was the first catholicos of Georgia. He led the Church of
Kartli from the 460s through the beginning of the 6th century.
According to God’s will, St. Peter inaugurated the dynasty of the chief
shepherds of Georgia.
It is written in the biography of Holy King
Vakhtang IV Gorgasali that the king was introduced to Peter, a pupil of
St. Gregory the Theologian, during one of his visits to Byzantium, and
he became very close to him. At that time he was also introduced to the
future catholicos Samuel.
The close spiritual bond of the holy
king and the catholicos, combined with their concerted efforts on behalf
of the Church, contributed immeasurably to the establishment of
friendly political relations between Georgia and Byzantium and the
proclamation of the autocephaly of the Georgian Apostolic Church.
returned to his own capital, King Vakhtang sent an envoy to Byzantium
to find him a wife. He also sent a request that the hierarch Peter be
elevated as catholicos and that the priest Samuel be consecrated bishop.
He pleaded with the patriarch to hasten the arrival of Catholicos Peter
and the twelve bishops with him.
The patriarch of Constantinople
approved King Vakhtang’s request to institute the rank of catholicos of
Georgia. Since the Georgian Church was still under the jurisdiction of
Antioch, Peter and Samuel were sent to the Antiochian patriarch himself
to be elevated. The autocephaly of the Georgian Church was proclaimed
upon the arrival of the holy fathers in Georgia.
St. Peter ruled
the Church according to the principle of autocephaly and established a
form of self-rule that would later help to increase the authority of the
Georgian Apostolic Orthodox Church.
The mutual respect and
cooperation of the catholicos and the holy king laid the foundations for
future, harmonious relations between secular and Church authorities in
Georgia. Their example defined the authority of the Church and a
national love and respect for the king.
Peter accompanied Holy
King Vakhtang Gorgasali to war with the Persians in 502. It is written
that “the fatally wounded king Vakhtang summoned the catholicos, the
queen, his sons and all the nobility.” St. Peter heard the king’s
last confession, granted the remission of his sins, presided at his
funeral service, and blessed the prince Dachi (502-514) to succeed him
as king of Kartli.
Holy Catholicos Peter led the Georgian Church with great wisdom to the end of his days.
St. Samuel ascended the throne of the Apostolic Orthodox Church of Georgia in the 6th century, after the holy catholicos Peter.
St. Peter, Samuel was a native of Byzantium. He arrived with Catholicos
Peter in Georgia as a bishop, at the invitation of King Vakhtang
Gorgasali and with the blessing of the patriarch of Constantinople.
At that time Svetitskhoveli in Mtskheta was the residence of the catholicos.
the repose of Catholicos Peter, Samuel succeeded him, and King Dachi
“bestowed upon him the city of Mtskheta, according to the will of King
Vakhtang.” St. Samuel led the Georgian Church during the reigns of King
Dachi and his son Bakur. He initiated construction of Tsqarostavi Church
in the Javakheti region.
What we know of St. Samuel’s activity
paints him as a pastor who demonstrated great foresight and cared deeply
about his flock. He was also a close acquaintance of the holy martyr
St. Samuel faithfully served the Autocephalous
Church of Georgia and labored to strengthen the Christian Faith of the
Georgian people to the end of his days.
The Holy Synod of the
Georgian Apostolic Orthodox Church canonized the holy catholicos Peter
and the holy catholicos Samuel on October 17, 2002.
SAINT OR FEAST POSTED THIS DATE 2012(with 2011's link here also and further, 2010, 2009, 2008 and even 2007!)
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