January 14, 2021

The Tomb of Saint Nina in Bodbe Monastery

According to Georgian tradition, Saint Nina (or Nino), having witnessed the conversion of Georgians to the Christian faith, withdrew to the Bodbe gorge, in Kakheti, where she died in 338 on 14 January. The cause of her death was "fever and chills", which in modern terminology corresponds to malaria. Grieving over the death of the Enlightener of Georgia, King Mirian III (r. 284-361) decided to take the Saint to Mtskheta and bury her in front of Cathedral of Svetitskhoveli, where the tunic of Christ (allotted to Georgian Jews after the Crucifixion) was buried. However not even two hundred men could move the small coffin in which Nina was carried. Because of this the corpse of the Saint was buried in Bodbe, and the whole kingdom mourned for her for thirty days. King Mirian had a church built at the site of Nina's burial, which later became a convent. Before passing away King Mirian said to Queen Nana, “You, Nana, if God grants you enough time, divide the royal treasury into two and sacrifice half of it to the tomb. Let this place be honored unto the ages.”