St. Tamara the Right Believing
Despite her youth, she reigned so wisely, prudently and courageously that the time of her reign is known as the Golden Age of Georgian history. She was also noted for her profound piety. Continuing the initiatives of her grandfather, the holy Emperor St. David III the Restorer, she promoted the growth of Christianity throughout Georgia, and built churches and monasteries.
After her coronation, she convened a local council to correct problems in church life. When the bishops had assembled from all parts of her kingdom, she, as had Saint Constantine at the First Ecumenical Council, honoured them as if she were a commoner and they were Angels of God. She called upon them to establish righteousness and stop any abuses. Her humble words were: "Do away with every wickedness, beginning with me, for the prerogative of the throne is in no wise that of making war against God."
In 1204 the governor of the Ruma sultanate, Rukn-en-Din, sent a demand to the Empress Tamara that Georgia abandon Christianity and accept Islam. The Empress Tamara refused this demand, and in an historic battle near Basiani she led the Georgian army in defeating a coalition of Moslem rulers.
The wise rule of St. Tamara won her the love of her nation. She spent the final years of her life in the Bardzia Cave monastery. She had a cell, connected with the church by a window, through which she could offer up prayers to God during church services. She died peacefully in the year 1213, and was numbered among the Saints.
The holy right-believing Queen Tamara of Georgia is commemorated twice during the year: on May 1 (14), the day of her repose, and also on the Sunday of the Myrrh-Bearing Women. Her name is very popular among Georgians and Orthodox Christians of the Near East.
Apolytikion to St. Tamara:
“Let the mountain-tops and vales of Georgia sound with songs of praise to laud Tamara as the vessel of wisdom, the smiling sun, the sword of truth, the conversion of infidels, the most harmonious reed-pipe of Jesus Christ, and our fervent intercessor before the King of Kings, entreating Him to grant great mercy unto us.”
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