Equal to the Apostles
How can St. Nina Intercede for us?
St. Nina was a symbol of faith who called the people of Georgia to Christ at a very young age. She was the disciple of the Mother of God.
We can call upon her for strength in undertaking a large task and in times of sickness, as well as for intercessions in conversion, and unity of all people in Christ. As college students we are working to discover our place in life and God’s plan for us. Her relationship with Christ and the Theotokos was led by her trust in their protection and love even through her uncertainty.
As we attempt to discern our calling in our early years of adulthood we can call upon St. Nina for guidance and aid in taking on new responsibilities and trusting in God.
Pray to Her
O all-praised and wonderful equal of the Apostles Nina. truly great adornment of the Orthodox Church and great boast of the people of Iberia, thou who didst enlighten the whole land of Georgia with the divine teachings, and with apostolic deeds didst defeat the enemy of our salvation, by labour and prayer thou didst plant there a vineyard of Christ and increase its fruit many-fold Celebrating thy holy memory,
We approach thy holy image and with reverence kiss the miracle-working cross, the highly praised gift to thee from the Mother of God, which thou hast encircled with thy clear hair, and tenderly ask thee, as our constant intercessor: protect us from all evil and sorrows, and from the opponent of piety guard thy flock which hath been saved by thee, and beseech our all-good God and Saviour, before Whom thou art now standing,
That He may grant us peace and many years, and that the Lord may bring us into His kingdom, where all the saints praise His holy name, both now and ever and unto the ages of ages.
Prayer to St. Nina found at http://www.sentiericona.it/public/icone/?p=15975
Learn her Troparion
O handmaid of the Word of God, who in preaching hast equaled the first-called Apostle Andrew, and hast emulated the other Apostles; O enlightener of Iberia and reed-pipe of the Holy Spirit, holy Nina, equal to the Apostles: Pray to Christ God to save our souls. (Tone 4)
The Life of St. Nina
At fourteen, Nina asked her teacher about the location of Christ’s robe; Nina felt that such an important relic could not have been lost. Her teacher told her that it was in Iberia (now Georgia), a land not yet completely illumined. When the apostles had drawn lots to determine who was to preach where, the Theotokos had received the lot for Iberia, but she had been held back from going and was assured that someone would later enlighten it.
In a dream, the Theotokos came to Nina and urged her to preach the gospel in Georgia.
The blessed Nina was overwhelmed at the thought of such a great responsibility and answered, “How can I, a fragile woman, perform such a momentous task, and how can I believe that this vision is real?” So, the Most Holy Theotokos presented her with a cross of grapevines saying, “Receive this cross as a shield against visible and invisible enemies!”
When she awoke, Nina was holding the cross in her hands. She dampened it with tears of rejoicing and tied it with strands of her own hair.
The patriarch, her uncle, was delighted with the news of her vision. He eagerly gave her his blessing.
When she arrived in Georgia and saw that the Georgians still worshiped the false idols, she was saddened and prayed to the Lord, “O Lord, send down Thy mercy upon this nation…that all nations may glorify Thee alone, the One True God, through Thy Son, Jesus Christ.”
Suddenly, a violent wind began to blow and hail fell from the sky, shattering the pagan statues.
Wherever Nina went, those who heard her preach converted to the Christian Faith in great numbers.
Saint Nina was taken captive by the Georgians, and while in captivity, she lived a very devout life praying unceasingly night and day. This drew the attention of the Georgians, and to all who asked her about her way of life, she preached the word of Christ. When she healed by her prayer a woman’s sick child, the report of her came to the ears of the Queen of Georgia, who was herself afflicted with an incurable malady. She asked that Nina be brought to her, but Saint Nina declined out of modesty, so the queen commanded them to carry her to Nina. Saint Nina healed her immediately, and the queen returned home in joy.
When she extolled Nina and her faith to the king, he did not listen. But while hunting in the forest, he was covered with an impenetrable darkness in which he lost his way, became separated from his men, and fell into despair; he made a vow that if Christ should deliver him, he would worship him alone. The light of day straightway shone again, and the king fulfilled his vow. He and the queen were instructed in the faith by Saint Nina, and they with the whole Georgian nation became Christ’s.
Through Nina’s acts of love for Christ and courage to do what was asked of her at such a young age, the King of Georgia, who had planned on killing all Christians in his land, was also converted to Christ.
After preaching to and converting many Jews and pagans, Nina learned the story of Christ’s robe. A Jewish woman named Sidonia had clasped the robe to her breast and had died. No one could take the robe from her, and it was buried with her. A cedar, now part of the royal garden, was said to have grown from her grave. Nina knew from her visions that the ground was holy.
Nina died in the early fourth century, after she had seen Christianity spread throughout Georgia.
Icons of Saint Nina are written with her holding her grapevine cross, the pledge of her relationship with the Theotokos. Saint Nina is called Equal-to-the-Apostles because she preached the gospel in Georgia. Since the 17th century, iconographic tradition has revealed the scroll which she received in her second vision. Her title, her cross, and her scroll are the manifestations of her working with God to spread His word and to bring into His fold a new land.
Saint Nina reposed in Georgia, and this king built a church dedicated to Saint George over her grave.
Feast Day: Jan 14th
- St. Nina was only fourteen years old when she received her call. What was a critical moment in your life growing up? Reflect on this moment. How did you see God working in your life and how did this shape you into who you are today?
- Much was asked of St. Nina. She herself did not feel equipped. What is a time where you did not feel equipped for the situation you were in? How did you work through it? What did you learn from this experience?
- St. Nina showed Christ’s love to so many who had never experienced it before.. Have you ever met someone who showed you Christ? What was this person like for you? What role did they play in your life?