Passages From the Life of St. Nino
Exerpts from the old theological journal:
"Studia Biblica et Ecclesiastica",
Vol. 5 (undated), 1903, Oxford, Clarendon Press.
The text of these passages was kindly provided by Mr. Alan Gasser

This book contains Marjorie Wardrop's completion of her brother James Oliver Wardrop's work, in the translation of "Life of St. Nino" from Sabinin's and Taqaishvili's standard (19th-century) Lives of Georgian Saints, entitled, respectively, "Sakart'hvelos Samot'hkhe" (Georgian Paradise) and "Akhali Varianti Tsm. Ninos Tzkhovrebisa" (New Version of the Life of St. Nino). (The book also contains an Armenian version of the same mythic stories, regarding the "orphan/servant"-woman who brought Christianity to Georgia in the 4th century.)

Passage 1: When Nino was twelve years old, her parents sold all they had, and went away to Jerusalem. On reaching the holy city, Zabulon [her father, as it was previously established], having been blessed by the patriarch, left his wife. He clasped his daughter St. Nino to his breast, wetting her face with the torrent of tears which flowed from his eyes, and said:

"My only daughter! I leave thee an orphan, and confide thee to thy Father who is in heaven, the God of all beings, for He is the Father of orphans, the Judge of the widow. Fear not, my child, imitate the love of Mary Magdalene and of the sisters of Lazarus for Christ. If thou lovest Him as they loved Him, He will give thee all thou askest of Him."

When he had spoken thus, he gave her a kiss of eternal farewell, and went away beyond Jordan, with men who had become savage for God's sake, and who dwelt apart from the world, but God the omniscient Creator knew the place of their sojourn.

Passage 2: "The Raising of the Honourable Cross" [in which Nino's incipient religion gains ground rapidly]

When the king and queen, with their children and all the people, were baptized, there stood, on the top of an inaccessible rock, a tree, exceedingly beautiful, and of a sweet smell. It was a wonder-working tree, for beasts wounded by arrows came to it, and when they ate of its leaves, or of the seed fallen to the ground, they were healed, even if they came wounded unto death.

This seemed a great miracle to these sometime pagans, and they told Bishop Ioane about the tree. The bishop said: "Lo! in truth, from the beginnin this land hath been set apart by God for His service. This tree has been planted by God for this present time, for even now has the grace of God shone forth on Kart'hli; and from this tree shall be made the worshipful Cross which all the multitudes of Kart'hli shall worship."

And Rev, the king's son, and the bishop, and many of the people went and cut down the tree, and took it, with its branches, and ten times ten men carried it, covered with its branches and leaves, into the town. The people gathered together to see it, because of its greenness and leafiness in the days of summer ["winter" was intended, according to almost every other manuscript] when every other tree was dry. Its leaves had not fallen, and it was pleasant to the smell and fair to look upon. They set the tree up on its root, at the southern door of the church, where the breezes wafted abroad its fragrant odour and opend the leaves; the sight of it was beautiful, as we are told that the tree planted in Eden was fair. It was felled on the twenty-fifth of March, on a Friday, and the tree stood there thirty-seven days, and its leaves did not change colour; it was as if it stood from the root to the topmost branch in a stream, until all the trees of the forest were clad in floiage, and the fruit trees were in bloom. Then on the first of May they made the (three) crosses, and on the sevent they raised them, under the protection of the king, with rejoicing, and by the will of all the people of the city, who were in the church.

[a number of fiery crosses and starry crown miracles then ensue]

Passage 3: [being a portion of a letter of extradition from one emperor to another, in pursuit of a beautiful, but chaste Martyr, Riphsime by name, who has hidden in the wine presses near Emperor Number 2's digs]

Be it known to thee, my brother and ally, that the sect of Christians, from whom formerly we have suffered, have again insulted our majesty and outraged our kingdom. They serve a certain dead man who was crucified, and worship a piece of wood, esteeming it a glory to die for their Lord; they fear not the Jews, but they fear Him who was slain and crucified by them; they insult kings and contemn the gods, and they even venerate not the sun, moon and stars, but say all was created by the Crucified; and they flee from the world, fathers and mothers forsaking one another, separate while yet living. Although I have threatened and tortured them they increase more and more. But it came to pass that I saw the portrait of one of this sect, a young maiden, and I resolved to take her to wife; but her heart had no desire even for the love of the king. She looked upon me as loathsome and unclean, and fled secretly from me; and they are come into the bounds of thy land. Therefore, [etc.]