Born in Cappadocia in the early 4th century, Saint Nina was related to Saint George and Saint Juvenal, the Patriarch of Jerusalem. From an early age, she felt a divine calling and was deeply spiritual. According to Georgian hagiography, the Virgin Mary appeared to her in a dream, granting her a cross made of grapevines, which she bound with her hair. This cross became a symbol of her mission and is now recognized as the Grapevine Cross or the Georgian Cross.
Guided by divine visions, Saint Nina made her way to Georgia to spread the message of Christianity. At the time, paganism was the dominant religion in Georgia. With her deep faith, persistence, and the miraculous healing of Queen Nana of Iberia, Saint Nina rapidly gained a following. Her influence culminated in the conversion of King Mirian III, paving the way for the Christianization of Georgia in 337 AD.
Beyond her evangelistic endeavors, Saint Nina performed numerous miracles and healings, further solidifying her reputation as a holy woman blessed by God.
Saint Nina retreated to the Bodbe Monastery in the Kakheti region, where she spent her last days in prayer and solitude, eventually reposing in the Lord around 338 or 340 AD. She was buried at the monastery, which has since become a significant pilgrimage site for Georgian Orthodox Christians.
The Georgian Orthodox Church commemorates Saint Nina on January 14 (January 27 in the Gregorian calendar) every year. Her impact on Georgian culture, spirituality, and history is monumental. She's not just a saint; she is considered the "mother" of Georgian Christianity.
The life and mission of Saint Nina of Georgia serve as a timeless testament to unwavering faith, courage, and the transformative power of Christianity. Her Grapevine Cross remains a cherished symbol of the Georgian Orthodox Church.
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A beautiful new English edition of the Life of St. Nina, Peer of the Apostles and Enlightener of Georgia, published by the Sisters of St. Nina's Monastery with the permission of the Bodbe Convent of St. Nino in Georgia, site of St. Nina's tomb. Richly illustrated by Georgian artist Nino Peradze, the full-color images of every page follow the many steps taken by Saint Nina on her way in heeding the call of the Mother of God, following Christ, and preaching the Gospel to an entire nation. Join her in continuing this mission of love and hope by learning her story and watching it unfold unto this day.