წმინდა-ქეთევან-დედოფალი


1624 წლის 13 სექტემბერი, შირაზი, მოწამეობრივი აღსასრული წმიდა დედოფალ ქეთევანისა. აღწერილი თვითმხილველი პორტუგალიელი ბერის ამბროზიო დუჟანჟუჟის მიერ  

In 1614 Shah Abbas informed King Teimuraz that his son would be taken hostage, and Teimuraz was forced to send his young son Alexandre and his mother Ketevan to Persia. As a final attempt to divide the royal family of Kakheti, Shah Abbas demanded that the eldest prince, Levan, be brought before him, and he finally summoned King Teimuraz himself.

The shah's intentions were clear: to hold all of the royal family in Persia and send his own viceroys to rule in Kakheti. He sought to eliminate King Luarsab II of Kartli as well, but Teimuraz and Luarsab agreed to attack the Persian army with joint forces and drive the enemy out of Georgia.

Shah Abbas sent his hostages, Queen Ketevan and her grandsons, deep into Persia, while he himself launched an attack on Kakheti. With fire and the sword the godless ruler plundered all of Georgia.

The royal palace was razed, churches and monasteries were destroyed, and entire villages were abandoned. By order of the shah, more than three hundred thousand Georgians were exiled to Persia, and their homes were occupied by Turkic tribes from Central Asia. Hunger and violence reigned over Georgia.
After they had spent five years exiled in Shiraz (Persia), the princes Alexandre and Levan were separated from Ketevan and castrated in Isfahan. Alexandre could not endure the suffering and died, while Levan went mad.
Queen Ketevan spent ten years in prison, praying for her motherland and loved ones with all her might and adhering to a strict ascetic regime. Constant fasting, prayer and a stone bed exhausted her previously pampered body, but in spirit she was courageous and full of vitality. She looked after those assigned to her care and instructed them in the spiritual life.

After some time Abbas resolved to convert Ketevan to Islam, and he announced his intention to marry her. He asked that his proposal be conveyed to her the same day she was informed of the fate of her grandsons. As a condition of their marriage, Abbas insisted that Ketevan renounce the Christian Faith and convert to Islam. In the case of her acquiescence, Imam Quli-Khan was to respect and honor her as a queen, and in the case of her refusal, to subject her to public torture. The alarmed imam begged the queen to submit to the shah's will and save herself, but the queen firmly refused and began to prepare for her martyrdom.[2]

Queen Ketevan was robed in festive attire and led out to a crowded square. Her persecutors subjected her to indescribable torment: they placed a red-hot copper cauldron on her head, tore at her chest with heated tongs, pierced her body with glowing spears, tore off her fingernails, nailed a board to her spine, and finally split her forehead with a red-hot spade.

St. Ketevan's soul departed from her body, and the executioners cast her mutilated body to the beasts. But the Lord God sent a miracle: her holy relics were illumined with a radiant light.

A group of French Augustinian missionary fathers, who had witnessed the inhuman tortures, wrapped Queen Ketevan's body in linens scented with myrrh and incense and buried it in a Catholic monastery.

Some time later the holy relics of Great-martyr Ketevan were delivered to her son, Teimuraz, King of Kakheti.

Teimuraz wept bitterly for his mother and sons and buried the relics with great honor in the Alaverdi Cathedral of St. George.

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