26 May 2017

Arab Christian Saints: Saint Abo of Tiflis


In this day of Islamist violence and the violent Islamic repression of Christianity in many Islamic nations, it is clear to me that we who follow the Lord Jesus the Messiah should be seeking the intercession of the ethnic Arab saints as we pray.

For most of us it is a very difficult thing to name even one ethnic Arab saint much less an ethnic Arab Christian saint who converted from Islam.

I admit I had great difficulty thinking of any ethnic Arab saints when my father first brought up this topic. Every name that came to mind was either a Syriac Christian or a member of another ethnic group that had been overtaken by the Arabs.  But then a name came to mind ... Abo the Arab also known as Saint Abo Tibileli.

Holy Martyr Abo the Perfumer of Tbilisi
Saint Abo Tibileli
Saint Abo of TiflisAbu al-Tiflisi in Arabic— was both an ethnic Arab and a convert to Christianity from Islam.  He preached the Christian Gospel in the streets of Tiflis (Tbilisi) when it was under Arab control, and he was martyred there by the Arab Muslim government.

Let us seek Saint Abo's intercession for the unmasking of Islamist terrorists and their networks of terror, and let us ask him to pray to the Lord for the conversion of every Muslim and every Arab.

Saint Abo first lived in Baghdad and was by profession a maker of fine perfumes.  There is a brief biography on Wikipedia that is a good place to start in learning about this great saint and martyr: link.  But, dear Reader, you will learn a great deal more by visiting the website of the Orthodox Church of America and reading its article on Saint Abo (link) and the article on OrthodoxWiki: link.

Today he is the patron saint of Tbilisi, the capital city of the Republic of Georgia.  It was in Tbilisi (when it was under Arabic rule) that Saint Abo was denounced by Arab Muslims for having converted to Christianity. He was martyred for his faith in Jesus Christ on the 6th of January A.D. 786.

"Georgia is called Mother of the Saints, some of these have been inhabitants of this land, while others came among us from Time to time from foreign parts to testify to the revelation of our Lord Jesus Christ." from The Passion of Saint Abo

Next in this series: Saint John of Damascus also called Saint John Damascene

All  Holy Saints and Martyrs of the Arab People, pray for us to the Lord of Hosts.