Ketevan, Queen of Georgia

Ketevan, Queen of Georgia
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  • Item #: X182
Passion of Queen Ketevan September 22 To the mother of Teimuraz, the Queen Dowager Ketevan, whom Shah ?Abbas held as hostage he offered her the chance of adopting Islam and entering his harem. On her refusal, she was cruelly martyred at Shiraz on September 22nd, 1624. The following account of her Passion is translated from a contemporary report from the Angustinian missionary fathers in Persia addressed to the Papal See; the original text was first published in 1910 by the late Father Michael Tamarati. After Queen Ketevan was conducted to Shiraz, Brother Ambrose, who was then in that town, entered into contact with her and also with all the members of her household, who numbered about forty. They used to come to Mass at Brother Ambrose's church, and showed a great leaning towards the Catholic religion. Queen Ketevan sent to tell Brother Ambrose that she wished him to confess all her retinue (luring Lent; on the day of his patron saint, St. Augustine, she sent him from her chapel and oratory some pictures, candlesticks and carpets to adorn the church, as well as one of her men who could model wax, to make candles and tapers. While Brother Ambrose was entertaining great hopes of harvesting the fruit of his fatigues through the con-version of these persons, the King of Persia sent certain of his minions to Shiraz; they were instructed to tell the Georgian queen in his name to become a Muhammadan, and that he would take her as his wife and give her great riches. If she refused, they were to put her to death with great torments. The queen replied that nothing on earth would make her abandon the faith of her Saviour, our Lord Jesus Christ, nor her chastity, which she valued more than all the treasures in the world. The officials begged her again not to expose herself to suffer such tortures, and to have pity on her tender flesh; but nothing could shake her constancy. When they saw this, the officials, after striving in vain to persuade her, told her to prepare to suffer the torments, and she asked for permission to say her prayers. This being granted, she entered her chapel, went down on her knees and prayed our Lord God to accord her His grace, to give her strength to suffer all these tortures for His holy faith. When she had committed herself to God's keeping she went out and told the minions that they might do what the king had commanded. The officials begged her afresh to have pity on herself a weak woman, and not to condemn herself to so miserable a death. The queen replied that they might give up trying to persuade her, for it was time wasted. The officials had already lit a great fire and inserted iron pincers into it, which were now as hot as the fire itself. They stripped the queen from her neck to her walst, and taking the red-hot pincers, they tore away the flesh from her delicate body with great cruelty, until at last the queen fell half dead to the ground, though continuing to invoke our Lord God with the greatest courage and fortitude. When she had fallen to the ground, they picked up the whole brazier and threw it on her body, anti finally put her to death by strangling her with a bowstring. It is to he believed that this queen is partaking of God's glory in heaven, for although she belonged to the Greek rite, (Orthodox) she was most cordially disposed towards the Holy Catholic Church and to all the Latins, showing them every mark of affection and helping them as much as she could. She lived on such good terms with us that it is impossible to believe that she was ill-disposed to the Holy Catholic Church. A rumour was current among the people of her country that her tomb was enveloped in an aura of shining light.
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