Rajden the First-Martyr

Saint Rajden the First-Martyr also known as Saint Razdhen of Tsromi (d. 457, feast day: August 3) was a Persia-born Christian saint and martyr in Georgia, who died during the oppression of Christian Iberia (E. Georgia) by the Persian Empire.

According to a metaphrastic story of the 12th century, he was a Persian noble and tutor of princess Balendukhta who married, ca. 446-9, the Iberian king Vakhtang I. Together with her, Rajden resettled in Iberia. Soon he became an advisor to the king and converted into Christianity.

In 456, king Peroz I of Persia demanded that the Iberians joined his expedition against the Byzantine Empire. King Vakhtang refused to comply and a Persian army attacked the country. The forces were uneven and the Iberians suffered defeat. Rajden, who headed a defence of the Armazi fortress at the capital Mtskheta, was captured alive and sent to the Persian court. After a brief imprisonment, he was handed over to the Persian governor of Tsromi, Georgia. He was ordered to renounce Christianity, but Rajden refused. Subjected to extensive tortures, he was finally crucified and struck by several arrows.

His relics were later transferred to a Nikozi Church near the town of Tskhinvali.

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