The Holy Martyr
Suchias and his 16 Georgian Companions were illustrious dignitaries who served at the court of the Albanian (Hagbanite) ruler
(i.e. “Caucasian Albania” on the present day territory of Azerbaizhan).
Escorting the Albanian ruler’s daughter Satenika, wife of the Armenian
emperor Artaxar (88-123), Saint Suchias and his sixteen companions arrived in Artashat, the ancient capital of Armenia (the
city was later destroyed by the Romans in the year 163).
Preaching there at the time was a Greek Christian named Chrysos, who had been enlightened and ordained
by the holy Apostle Thaddeus (August 21). The Georgian dignitaries came to believe in Christ the Savior, and they resolved
to devote their lives to the service of God. All seventeen of the newly-converted followed Chrysos into Mesopotamia. When
Bishop Chrysos baptized them in the waters of the Euphrates, they were permitted to behold the Lord of Glory, Jesus Christ.
The future martyrs set up a cross
at the place of their Baptism and named it the “Cross of the Annunciation.” Bishop Chrysos gave the newly baptized
new names: the eldest was called Suchias (replacing his old name Bagadras), and his companions were named Andrew, Anastasius,
Talale, Theodoritus, Ivherion, Jordan, Kondrat, Lukian, Mimnenus, Nerangius, Polyeuctus, James, Phoka, Domentian, Victor and
Chrysos suffered a martyr's death, Saint Suchias became the spiritual leader of the brethren. All soon resettled in a wild
locality on Mount Sukaketi, not far from the mountain village of Bagrevandi. Here the former dignitaries led very strict ascetic
lives. The scant mountain vegetation served as their food, and they drank from a cold spring of water.
The new ruler of pagan Albania, Datianos,
learned that his former officials had accepted Christianity and had gone into solitude. He sent his associate Barnapas with
a detachment of soldiers to persuade them to return to court and return also to their former faith. Barnapas found the saint
and his companions and entreated them to return to their former way of life, but keeping their vow of service to God,
Saint Suchias and his companions refused all entreaties.
Then by order of Barnapas, Saint Suchias and his companions were stretched out and nailed to the
ground, and then burned. After this, their bodies were dismembered and scattered all about Mount Sukaketi, from which the
martyrs received also the title the “Mesukevians” (more correctly, “Sukaketians”). This occurred in
the year 123 (by another account, in the year 130; although an Athos manuscript of the eleventh century from the Iveron monastery
gives the year as 100).
The holy relics of the martyrs remained incorrupt and unburied until the fourth century, when they were placed in
graves and consigned to the earth by local Christians (the names of the holy martyrs were found written on a cliff).
The Holy Hieromartyr Gregory,
Enlightener of Armenia (September 30), built a church on this spot and established a monastery. And afterwards, a curative
spring of water was discovered there.