Augustine Sokolovski

In the last days of July, almost simultaneously with St. Olga, the Church celebrates the memory of St. Golinduc of Persia. The saint was a great righteous woman of the Persian Church. There were so many events, signs, and sufferings in her biography that, if holiness were not a gift of grace, but the result of circumstances, perhaps these exploits and gifts, even individually, would be able to give birth to the Kingdom of Heaven for many saints. To paraphrase Maxim Gorky (1868-1936) in the words about melancholy in "Old Woman Izergil", "there was so much holiness in her days that very many could live with it".

Golinduc is the saint of great exceptions. She is one of the very few who was honored with a peaceful death, but in ancient sources she is called a martyr. The evangelical aspiration to the mission and the fruit of preaching allows, in accordance with the ancient terminology of holiness, to call her equal to the apostles.

Like a postmodern novel, the circumstances of her biography are both plausible and surprising. They are united like figurines in a matryoshka, where a smaller one, but no less precious in its god-like defenselessness, soon opens up behind the big one. In addition to his life, prominent historians of that time also speak about Saint Golinduc of Persia.

According to her life, the saint lived in the second half of the 6th century in Persia. As the wife of a high-ranking Zoroastrian priest, she experienced a spiritual crisis. Perhaps it was connected with the circumstances of that time, since it was at that time that the Iranian shahs began a policy of distancing the highest clergy from the throne. Previously, the high priest was the second person in the state after the Shah. Now he has become one of many.

As happens in the biographies of the chosen ones of grace, God in a vision pointed out to Golinduc the need to find a Christian priest and be baptized. In baptism, the girl was named Mary.

At that time, names did not change in baptism. But such a new Christological name was a confession that faith was born in the heart of Golinduс, like the event of the Annunciation, exclusively from above.

The ancient Church believed that the method of grace overcomes circumstances, and God in Christ can give faith to any person of his, called the Holy Spirit, hypostatic omnipotent power. Therefore, the miraculous conversion of Golinduс, conveyed by the biographer, should be taken not as some kind of allegory, but a full-fledged confession of this doctrinal truth, now forgotten by many.

At the denunciation of her husband, she was arrested. Mary was then a convert and was going through a neophyte period. As a result, the Zoroastrian priest accused his wife of being too keen on asceticism and refusing to live with him. Golindukha was arrested. Initially, she was treated with care. By persuasion, they tried to return her to Zoroastrianism. But for Mary, this was impossible, since the ancient Christians considered the Zoroastrians to be pagans who worshiped the Holy Fire. In accordance with ancient terminology, they were called fire worshipers.

Shah Khosrow I (501–579) ruled Iran from 531. Although it was he, who distanced the high priest from being close to the throne and made the Zoroastrian clergy "only" one of the upper classes, the ruler waged war with the Eastern Roman Empire, Byzantium. Under him, Persia reached a great power.

He kept Christians in subjection and persecuted because they, being educated people, and inhabiting cities, could turn their eyes towards Byzantium. Therefore, according to the vita, the shah himself took a direct part in the Golinduc case. As a result, for refusing to renounce Christianity, she was imprisoned for 18 years. It is noteworthy that such a term in some modern countries is considered a full-fledged replacement for life imprisonment, which, being in fact such, is not called by name. The Middle Ages was a cruel time.

Hormizd IV (540-590), who succeeded Khosrow in the kingdom on July 1, 579, replaced the religious policy of his predecessor. In its anti-Roman policy, but tried to equally rely not only Zoroastrians, but also Christians. A sign of this "new thinking" in external affairs was the permission to visit a noble Christian "prisoner of conscience" languishing there in prison. Mary was visited by the Ambassador of Constantinople, Aristobulus. But the circumstances that were smiling did not become the smile of God.

The messenger taught Golinduс how to sing psalms. Usually, the language of the Christians in Persia was Syriac. In response, the Persian guards apparently suspected her of obtaining secret information and accused her of espionage. To prove her innocence, she had to renounce Christianity.

Recall that since the adoption of Orthodox Christianity by Constantine the Great (+337) as the official confession of the Roman Empire, Persia saw Christians as foreign agents and potential enemies of the state. The multitude of Persian martyrs is a great tragic testimony to this. Subsequently, this prompted the Persian Church to take the path of secession and official confession of "Nestorianism." It was recognized as heresy in Byzantium, After that, the Orthodox, who commemorated the Orthodox patriarchs on the territory of Persia, fell upon new persecution and suffering.

For a long time, Golinduс was subjected to incredible torture and torment. They did not receive any political confessions from her and could not force her to renounce Christ, and therefore they sentenced her to death. At the very moment of the execution of the death sentence, as once in his distant youth at the moment of her conversion, or even as in the biography of Dostoevsky, God Himself spoke again in the life of the saint. By the force of an inexplicable confluence of circumstances, which Golinduc herself considered undeniably miraculous, she was able to escape.

Thus, like the truth about the gift of the grace of faith, in the biography of Saint Golinduс the explanation of another ancient article of faith became visible. According to Scripture and ancient Creeds, Jesus resurrected on the third day. This day is that moment of time that has come when the deceased is finally and irrevocably dead. The third day is also the time when all human hope is lost and God Himself begins to act. In other words, we are dealing not with a chronological, but a theological biblical understanding of what is happening in biography and history. Christianity is permeated with dogmas. The holiness of the saints, by the hand of the divine artist, becomes their living icon, which ultimately reveals its life-giving foundation, whose name is Jesus the Lord. "God is the Creator of heaven and earth," says the Creed. It is important to remember that in the original language, the word "creator" also means poet.

Medieval theologians believed that Christ is a life-giving, living dogma. In this sense, the saints, in their biographies and gestures, made visible parts of this living Truth, which, once and for all, entered the history of all people. In this sense, it would be interesting to ask which of the truths of Scripture and ancient Symbols personified the biographies of certain saints. As the life of Golinduс is - grace and abandonment in a paradoxical, incompatible combination.

After her release, Maria went into hiding in the border areas of the two Empires, where, in the prototype of modern refugee camps, she preached Christianity to pagans and other non-believers. The fruits of her preaching, written by experience, were apostolic. By that time, grace had endowed her, once a baptized prisoner, with prophetic gifts. At a time when all circumstances impelled her to only hide from the executioners of the death sentence and devote herself exclusively to asceticism, the holy wife preached Christ.

In 590 Shah Hormizd was killed in a military mutiny. By the power of Byzantine arms, with the personal participation of the emperor Mauritius (539–602), a new shah, Khosrov II Parviz (570–628), was brought to the throne in 591. A special mission during the enthronement of the shah was carried out by a relative and confessor of the emperor, Bishop Dometian of Melitene (564-602). He tried to convert the Shah to Christianity. But this surprising in its audacity attempt failed.

Dometian was unable to convey the treasure of faith to the heart of Khosrov, but it was during this mission of his that he learned about Saint Golinduc and himself had a long conversation with her. Thanks to this meeting, the details of her life have come down to us. The saint soon died. Before that, she made a pilgrimage to Jerusalem. Not far from the city of Nisibis, famous for its ancient saints and theological school, she passed away to the Father.

There was a great prophecy in this parting gesture of the saint. A few years later, the last war in their mutual history began between Byzantium and Persia (602-630). There was a great prophecy in this parting gesture of the saint. Soon between Byzantium and Persia, the last in their mutual history began, the "thirty years' war" (602-630).

In 602, Mauritius was killed by rebels. Khozrov started the war because of the deposition of the legitimate ruler by the Byzantines, and also for the sake of revenge for the murdered emperor who had done him a great favor.

Soon Jerusalem was sacked by the Persians, the Holy Cross and the Christians were taken captive, many were killed, the shrines were destroyed. In the course of confrontations, the Empires exhausted each other, and Islam soon came to the vacant place. The Persian Empire was destroyed, Byzantium lost two-thirds of its lands forever.

If the saints could be compared with each other, then Golinduс is undoubtedly similar to the Enlightener of Georgia Equal-to-the-Apostles Nino (+335). With the great difference that, due to human malice, she was destined to spend most of her life in prison and suffering. In this she is like the great writers and poets, including Andrei Platonov (1899-1951). He wrote very little, but extremely brilliant, simply because the powers that be doomed him to "life imprisonment as an artist" through a ban on publishing. Golinduc was not left even a few years to preach the gospel.

The saint is like the great poets in another respect. Without a doubt, she was truly a great universal saint. Her name, according to various sources, translated from Persian means "beautiful flower" or, better, "daughter of roses." How can one not recall the name of the famous band "Guns and Roses".

Nowadays, the saint, so modern to us in the vicissitudes of her life, remains in oblivion, or, worse, is subjected to ridicule, simply because, in the liturgical calendars, her name, which, in Slavic languages without translation, sounds strange and even absurd, no one has translated. In times of universal oblivion, let us not forget that the ability to cry, as well as to smile, remains with a person, even when she is no longer with us.