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July 31, 2019

Saint Arsenius, Bishop of Ninotsminda (+ 1082)

St. Arsen of Ninotsminda (Feast Day - July 31)

Arsenius (Arsen) of Ninotsminda was an ascetic who labored in the 11th century. History tells us that he was a brilliant translator, writer, calligrapher, and theologian, and indeed one of the greatest Church figures of his time.

Saint Arsenius was tonsured a monk in Jerusalem, and after some time he returned to Georgia, where he was consecrated Bishop of Ninotsminda. But the venerable Arsenius longed to lead a life of solitude, so he approached King Davit Kuropalates for permission to resign from the bishopric and settle at a monastery. The king honored Arsenius’s request, and the pious man set off for the monastery with John Grdzeslidze, a man of letters and another great figure in the Church.

When the news of his decision reached Iveron Monastery on Mount Athos, Saints John the Iberian and Euthymius of Athos invited the fathers to Mount Athos, and the next year Arsenius and John arrived at the Holy Mountain. There they assisted Saint Euthymius in his translations of the Holy Scriptures and many theological books.

Saint Arsenius labored fruitfully at Iveron Monastery for many years and reposed peacefully at an advanced age. He was buried on Mount Athos in the Church of Saint Symeon the Stylite. Saint George of the Holy Mountain later translated his relics to the ossuary of the monastery’s katholicon next to Saint Euthymius.