Venerable Sabiana, Abbess of the Samtskhe Monastery

The nuns of Georgian monasteries have historically been outstanding in their diligence. God entrusted them with the special duties of ceaseless prayer, fasting, needlework, and the raising of orphans. Nuns have been regarded as vessels of sanctity and wisdom, and even royalty would

kneel before them.

Many Georgian noblemen would send their children to nuns to be brought up in the Christian Faith. According to the great church figure George the Lesser, when the parents of St. George of the Holy Mountain decided to have their first-born daughter, Thekla, raised by nuns, they sent her to the “worthy and holy” Sabiana, who at that time was abbess of the Samtskhe Tadzrisi Monastery in southern Georgia.

St. Sabiana welcomed Thekla and raised her as though she were her own natural daughter.

Before long Thekla’s brother, the seven-year-old George, was also brought to the monastery, and St. Sabiana spent three years educating and instructing him in the spiritual life.

Further information on the life and labors of St. Sabiana has sadly not been preserved. But as the Holy Gospel according to St. Matthew attests, the tree is known by his fruit (Matt. 12:33). The high level of monastic life during St. Sabiana’s abbacy and the pious lives of her spiritual children attest to the great spiritual heights she attained.