Saint Shushanik

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Saint Shushanik (Susanna)
Martyr Queen
Born 440
Died 475
Tsurtavi, Georgia
Honored in
Georgian Orthodox Church
Eastern Orthodox Church
Armenian Apostolic Church
Eastern Catholic Churches
Feast October 17

Saint Shushanik (Armenian: Շուշանիկ, Georgian: შუშანიკი) (born Vardeni Mamikonian c. 440-475) was an early medieval Christian martyr of Armenian origin who was murdered by her husband Varsken in the town of Tsurtavi, Georgia. Since she died defending her right to profess Christianity, she is regarded as a martyr. Her martyrdom is described in her confessor Jacob’s hagiographic work. The hagiography details extensive resistance to forms of imprisonment, isolation, torture and cruelty by Shushanik.

Shushanik was a daughter of the Armenian supreme military commander (sparapet) Vartan Mamikonian and married to the prominent Mihranid feudal lord (pitiakhsh) Varsken, son of Arshusha II. Varsken was in opposition to Vakhtang I Gorgasali, King of Kartli, and took a pro-Persian position, renouncing Christianity and adopting Zoroastrianism. He killed his spouse after she refused to submit to his order to abandon her Christian faith. Varsken himself was put to death by King Vakhtang in 482.

Shushanik has been canonized by the Georgian Orthodox and Apostolic Church and is venerated by the Armenian Apostolic Church. Her feast day is celebrated on October 17.

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