Venerable Michael of Parekhi

Saint Michael of Parekhi was a native of the village of Norgiali in the Shavsheti region of southern Georgia. He was tonsured a monk in the Midznadzori Wilderness.

Fr. Michael journeyed to Khandzta Monastery, and with the blessing of the brotherhood, he built a small chapel and dwelling for the monks nearby. Built in a cave on the side of a cliff, St. Michael’s establishment was difficult to reach (the new monastery was called “Parekhi,” or “Cave”). God was pleased with his good works, and He granted St. Michael the gift of working wonders. In a divine revelation, St. Michael was instructed to send his disciples Serapion and John to the region of Samtskhe. There they established a beautiful monastery in the village of Zarzma.

After some time Father Michael abandoned his cell and settled at the top of a large boulder. Once the devil caused him to stumble off the rock, but the Lord protected him and he remained unharmed.

Frightened by the incident, Michael sent his disciples to bring St. Gregory of Khandzta, and he related to him all that had happened. The blessed Gregory assuaged his brother’s fears, erected a cross on either side of Michael’s cell, and told him, “These two crosses of Christ will protect you, and the mercy of the Most Holy Trinity and the Precious Cross will be upon you.”

St. Michael lived to an old age, and he was buried at Parekhi Monastery. Many faithful pilgrims who have visited his grave have been healed of their infirmities.

According to Basil of Zarzma, St. Michael’s disciples wrote accounts of his labors, wisdom, and miracles after his repose, but these works have unfortunately not been preserved. What we know about the life of St. Michael of Parekhi was preserved in the hagiographical writings of the 10th and 11th centuries.