Abu of Tbilisi
Saint martyr Abu of Tbilisi, +790 (8/21 January).
Abu (in georgian transcription - Abo) was highborn Arab, born in Baghdad, and, according to his biography, "excellent connoisseur of mohammedan books" - Qur’an and Law. We do not know, why ca. 775 he had fled from home to distant Georgia (emirate of Tbilisi), together with only just rescued ruler by Kartli Nerses as one of his attendants. This blast was rather a tribute to his youth.
On arrival to Georgia, Abu, how the author his life reports, still a moslem, "has deserved love and respect of the whole people". Probably this young Arab was a person of scientific habit of mind: he studies Georgian language and proceeds to the serious study of Bible and Christianity on the whole. He attends the Divine Liturgy, perceives its meaning. He talks with educated Christians. All this gradually convicts Abu to decision to embrace the christianity as a single true religion. It is very important for us that in his converting both heart and mind were participating.
For the time being Abu, like Achmed, does not declare himself a Christian. At this time political circumstances change and newly deposed Nerses with 300 servitiors leave Kartli and set off to Chazaria.
There Abu accepts baptism.
Meantime Stephen, a nephew of Nerses, was elected in Kartli as ruler, pleading to caliph for his uncle's return. Nerses (and Abu) return to Georgia. For three years he openly professes and preaches about Christ in Arabic quarters of Tbilisi and nobody does not venture to cause him ills. However hostility to "apostate" amongst influent muslims relentlessly rises.
In december 785 the saint first was arrested and thrown in dungeon. After several days, on solicitation of ruler Stephen, he was freed. However the saint was not free for a long time. His foes inform kadi that Abu was born moslem and already later converted in christianity, so on this base they asked repeatedly for his arrest. Having heard about this delation, some Christians alert saint beforehand, and offered to escape, but the saint peacefully answered to that:
“I am ready for Christ, not only to torments, but also to death