|Sts. David and Tarechan (Feast Day - May 18)|
By Archpriest Zakaria Machitadze
The holy martyrs David and Tarichan were born to Vardan and Tagine, pious Christians and relatives of the king. Vardan died while his sons were still young, and Tagine’s pagan brother Theodosius seized all the family’s possessions.
Concerned that the brothers would eventually claim their legal inheritance, Theodosius resolved to convert his sister and nephews to his own creed. “Leave behind the faith of the crucified Christ and receive mine and I will adopt your children,” he told Tagine. But Tagine firmly guarded the family against her brother’s evil intent. “It is enough that you have seized my sons’ estate,” she said. “But you cannot seize the inheritance they will receive from their Father in heaven!”
Theodosius was thwarted by his sister’s resoluteness. So instead, he tried to convert his nephews directly. He called them, embraced them warmly, and tempted them with sweets. “Now you are my sons, and everything I have belongs to you,” he told them. “Trust me like obedient sons of a beloved father. Turn from the faith of your father, and I will show you a better way!”
After a brief silence, the holy youths answered, “We are perfectly content with our father’s faith and will remain loyal to this faith until the day our souls depart from our flesh. We are prepared to suffer everything for the love of our Lord and Heavenly Father!”
Theodosius dared not try to sway his nephews since he feared the revenge of the Christian community, so he left them in peace and plotted to murder them in secret. But Tagine sensed that danger was near and escaped with her sons to the region of Tao in the south.
From his spies Theodosius learned that the brothers were now herding sheep at the top of a mountain, and he ordered an ambush. But the brothers heard the noise and saw the armed soldiers before they attacked. David rejoiced upon seeing his uncle and ran toward him, but Theodosius stabbed him before he could embrace him. The holy martyr released his staff from his hand, and when it fell to the ground it was miraculously transformed into a large tree. Two hundred years later a group of Christians chopped the tree down and divided the holy wood among themselves.
Having just witnessed his own brother’s murder, Tarichan raced toward the village of Divri for help. But his pursuers overtook him, stabbed him to death, and ran off. When they returned to Theodosius, they saw that God had punished him by taking away his sight. The soldiers were stunned, and they could neither utter a word nor move from the place of this miracle. After some time Theodosius’ eyes filled with bitter tears, and he was finally moved to repentance.
At first Tagine denounced her brother in a rage, and those who heard the cries of the inconsolable mother wept along with her. But while she was stroking the lifeless bodies of her sons, Theodosius turned to her, saying, “On you has shone the Inextinguishable Light from the Unapproachable and True Light, the Eternal Light. Pray to the holy martyrs that the Lord have mercy on me and make me, the unworthy, worthy of the seal of Christ, the All-merciful God, Who came into the world. Indeed, He is the One True God!” When Tagine heard these words, she recognized that God had received her sons as a holy sacrifice. Filled with new joy, she told her brother, “May God forgive you the murder of my sons!”
Then she took a piece of the earth that had been stained by her son David’s blood and anointed her brother’s eyes. Immediately his sight was restored.
This happened in the year 693. As a witness to the sanctity of His martyrs, our God, Who loves mankind, illumined their bodies with a radiant light each evening when night fell.
Theodosius repented before the catholicos himself. He was baptized into the Christian faith and erected a church in honor of his nephew Saint David. The mayor of Divri took Saint Tarichan’s holy relics and built a church over them in his name. Blessed Tagine began a new life in the village of Tadzarani and later reposed there.
From The Lives of the Georgian Saints.