St. George Matskevereli of Georgia

A few biographical details about Saint George of Atsquri have been preserved in the writings of the famous 10th-century Georgian hagiographers George Merchule and Basil of Zarzma.

Saint George of Atsquri lived at the end of the 9th and the beginning of the 10th centuries. A member of the aristocratic and pious Shuartqeli family, Saint George was raised and educated in the environs of Georgia’s renowned Opiza Monastery in Klarjeti.

Four years after the death of the great feudal lord George Chorchaneli, Saint George succeeded him as ruler of the Samtskhe region. At that time a bitter conflict arose over who was the rightful heir to Chorchaneli’s inheritance.

While serving as the chief political leader of Samtskhe, Saint George also directed the region’s spiritual life, wisely administering the ancient Atsquri diocese for many years. According to tradition, the diocese of Atsquri was founded by the holy Apostle Andrew the First-called, who left there the “Not-Made-By-Hands” icon of the Most Holy Theotokos (known as the Atsquri Icon of the Mother of God) as an offering to the Georgian Church.

Though his literary works have not been preserved, Saint George is also commemorated as a great writer of the Church.

In his book The Life of Saint Grigol of Khandzta, Saint George Merchule notes that Saint George of Atsquri made some of the most significant contributions to the biographical writings on Saint Grigol of Khandzta. Saint George of Atsquri was a close companion of Saint Serapion of Zarzma. He was present at his burial and contributed much to the

hagiographical writings on his life and works.