June 16, 2021

Saint Dodo of Gareji (+ 623)

A companion of Saint David of Gareji, Saint Dodo was born around 532 and belonged to the royal family Andronikashvili. He was tonsured a monk while still a youth, and was endowed with every virtue.

An admirer of poverty and solitude, he labored as a hermit at Ninotsminda in Kakheti.

Having heard about the miracles of David of Gareji, Saint Dodo set off for the Gareji Wilderness to witness them himself. The venerable fathers greeted one another warmly and began laboring there together.

After some time, Saint David became deeply impressed with Dodo’s devotion to the Orthodox Christian way of life, and he proposed that he take with him some of the other monks and begin to construct cells on the opposite mountain, known as the Dodo Horn.

The brothers built cells and a church to the Theotokos and began to labor there with great ardor. Before long the number of cells had reached two hundred. Saint Dodo isolated himself in a narrow crevice, where there was barely room for one man. Day and night, winter and summer, in the heat and the cold, he prayed with penitent tears for the forgiveness of his sins, the strengthening of the souls of his brothers, and the bolstering of the Orthodox Christianity throughout the country.

Once Saint David miraculously healed the son of Prince Bubakar of Rustavi. In return, the grateful prince donated food and other necessities to the monks of Gareji Monastery. Saint David took part of his contributions and sent what remained to Saint Dodo. He advised Bubakar to have Saint Dodo baptize him, and Saint Dodo joyously baptized Bubakar, his sons, and all his suite.

Saint Dodo labored to an advanced age in the monastery he had founded and reposed peacefully in 623.

His spiritual sons and companions buried him in the cave where he had labored, and a church was later built over his grave.

The annual feast of Saint Dodo is celebrated on the Wednesday after the feast of the Ascension of the Lord.

In 1881, under the leadership of Mikheil Sabinin, the sacred relics of Dodo of Gareji were transferred to the Lavra of Saint David due to the deplorable condition of the Dodo Monastery.