Saint Shushanik

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Saint Shushanik (Susanna)
Martyr Queen
Born 440
Died 475
Tsurtavi, Georgia
Venerated in Georgian Orthodox Church
Eastern Orthodox Church
Armenian Apostolic Church
Eastern Catholic Churches
Feast October 17 (Eastern Orthodox), September 20–26 (Armenian Apostolic and Eastern Catholic)

Saint Shushanik (Armenian: Շուշանիկ, Georgian: შუშანიკი) (born Vardeni Mamikonian c. 440–475) was a Christian Armenian woman who was tortured to death 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 oldest extant work of the Georgian-language literature. The hagiography details extensive resistance to forms of imprisonment, isolation, torture and cruelty by Shushanik.

Shushanik was a daughter of the Armenian military commander Vartan Mamikonian and married to the Mihranid ruler(pitiakhsh) Varsken, son of Arshusha II. Varsken was a defiant vassal of Vakhtang I Gorgasali, King of Kartli (Iberia), 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 483.

Shushanik has been canonized by the Georgian Orthodox Church and is venerated by the Armenian Apostolic Church. Her feast day is celebrated on October 17 in Georgia and Tuesday between September 20-26 in Armenia.

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