Commemorated on May 27
Saint Basil, the son of King Bagrat III, lived in the 11th century and labored at Khakhuli Monastery (in southwestern Georgia, present-day Turkey). He was a major figure in the spiritual and educational life of southern Georgia.
The famous 19th-century scholar Prince John Bagrationi describes St. Basil in his work Kalmasoba: (the tradition of monks journeying throughout the land to collect alms for the Church. In his book Prince John follows a fictional monk traveling throughout the country on kalmasoba. With this literary device he describes the contemporary situation, the life of the people, diverse branches of knowledge, and Georgian literature and folk culture, creating a veritable Georgian encyclopedia.) “Basil Bagrationi was highly educated in philosophy and theology. He was fluent in several languages and translated many books. He was the composer of many distinguished rhetorical works. Perfected in the monastic life and in the spiritual learning of the Church, our Holy Father Basil was known among the people as the ‘Jewel of the Georgian Church.’”
The 18th-century historian and geographer Prince Vakhushti Bagrationi examined the cultural development of Georgia during the rule of King Bagrat IV in his book The Ancient History of Georgia, and Basil is among the major Church figures he mentions: “The great translators of the time were Basil, son of Bagrat.…” In his work The Life of St. Giorgi of the Holy Mountain, Giorgi the Lesser recalls the pious laborer of Khakhuli Monastery: “The great Basil, son of King Bagrat III, shepherd and enlightener of our country at that time.”
St. Basil eventually moved from Georgia to Mt. Athos and labored there until his death. It was there that he composed his “Praises to Holy Father Ekvtime.”
© 2006 St. Herman of Alaska Brotherhood.