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Covenant of God with Line of David (Principles of legitimacy according to Old and New Testaments)
Gaioz Mamaladze


Covenant of God with the Line of David (Lineage of Jesse, David, Solomon, Bagratids) or the Discourse of Monarchic Legitimacy in the Old and New Testaments

The Old Testament’s approved principle of succession to the throne was patrilineal. The same applied to the family name. The chosen people of God of the Bible, the people of Israel followed an identical standard: “and Jesse [was] the father of David the king. And David was the father of Solomon by the wife of Uri’ah, and Solomon the father of Rehobo’am, and Rehobo’am the father of Abi’jah, and Abi’jah the father of Asa”, etc (Old Testament provides multiple similar examples).

The New Testament, too, legalizes the line of descent through males only.

Georgians, as the chosen people of the New Testament, applied a similar approach. This was the people to whom God gave as kings the chosen line of the Old and New Testaments, the line of David (i.e. of Jesse, David, Solomon and further the Bagratids):

“Iak’ob begat Ioseb, husband of Mary and brother of K’leop’a. K’leop’a begat Naom, Naom begat Sala;… Aser begat Isak’. Isak’ begat Dan, Dan begat Solomon. Solomon begat seven brothers”, including Guaram – the first eristavi of the line of David in Georgia – and his six brothers).

Matrilineality cannot be found either in any listing of Davidian or Bagratid descendants, or any version of the Old or New Testaments, or in the Georgian Chronicles. This concerns both Israel and Georgia. There is not even a single example of a woman succeeding to the throne in the texts.

Those of Queen Tamar and Queen Rusudan are no good in using to try to prove the opposite. In fact, Tamar’s father, King Giorgi had his nephew and the only male heir, Dimitri castrated (killed) to enthrone his own daughter.

Tamar married David Soslan, one of the Bagrationis by blood and name and the lineage was maintained on.

One may argue that, on the other hand, Tamar’s first husband was not related to the Bagrationi family and should the Georgian dynasty have continued through his line, the succession would have been matrilineal, just like it is common in Russia.

However, this is not so. Russia is the only country in the world where the succession to the throne can be matrilineal. In Europe, for instance, should a woman be enthroned, this would bring about a change in the dynasty (see my article on Changes in European Royal Dynasties i.e. Differences between Georgian and European Royal Heritages). Russia, as a whole, is a unique phenomenon and thank God that Georgia is not Russia.

The truth is that the first marriage was forced unto Tamar. Those facilitating the whole affair failed to take into account the principles of legitimacy set forth by the Old and New Testaments. I believe it was a true work of God that a family not belonging to the line of David, not distinguished by the New Testament, an unconsecrated family was unsuccessful in getting hold of the Georgian throne.

Yes, it was by no means a coincidence that George the Rus turned out sterile. He failed to produce an issue before his expulsion from the country. Had he succeeded in having a child, the latter would not have been evicted from Georgia.

Describing the first invasion of George the Rus and the story of his declaration a king by several Georgian traitors, the unknown author of the History and Eulogy of Monarchs cries out in despair: “What a horrible thing and a wonder, exceeding human understanding! And who was it who wanted to sit on the throne of the descendants of David, the prophet?”

Rusudan’s example is moreover inconsequential as she was a temporary ruler. This is how the historian relates the will of Lasha-Giorgi: “… feeling the approach of his end, King lasha summoned all the distinguished nobles of his kingdom and entrusted them with his sister, Rusudan, telling them with tears in his eyes: “Knowing well of the blameless devotion of the royal family to you, people of Georgia, and trusting in God, I charge you with my sister, Rusudan, for you will have to make her a queen, as it has been the custom of your ancestors. serve h

er faithfully and protect by your courage the royal throne from the spite of its enemy. for though she is not a man, but a woman, she is not lacking the wisdom and the knowledge for governing a state. you, the distinguished people of this kingdom, should know and remember the grace, generosity and homage of my blessed and well-remembered mother, glorious among the Kings. And, if such is the will of God, my sister, too, will be favored with your respect. Now I pray to you before God to make her the Queen, my successor. And my sister Rusudan, and that I say before God for everybody to hear, I entrust with the commission of bringing up my son david, and when he achieves the ability to rule and becomes a capable warrior, let her make him the king, or make him a monarch and the heir to my kingdom. And though he is small yet, if the lord wishes him to grow up, he, I believe, will become quite worthy to reign, for he is stately of body, and fine of face.”

Rusudan was instructed to bring up David the son of Lasha and cede the throne to the prince when he came of age. However, Rusudan conceived to have her nephew killed and enthrone her own son. God hindered the plan which would mean extinction of the valid Bagrationi line and enthronement of the line of Sultans of Erzurum in Georgia (Rusudan’s husband, Ghias Ad-Din was the son of a Sultan of Rum), and saved David the son of Giorgi (the future David Ulu) from the captivity that had lasted for years.

The son of Lasha was deemed dead in Georgia and thus, everyone consented to the accession of the son of Rusudan. The latter was consequently sent to the Khan’s court to obtain recognition as heir apparent (according to the treaty between Georgians and Mongols, the Khan, as a sovereign, was to approve future Georgian kings).

Upon finding out that David the son of Giorgi-Lasha was alive, Georgian nobles immediately set out for the Sultanate of Rum to free and return him to Georgia. Following his return, he was taken to the Horde to receive official recognition.

At the Mongol court David the son of Rusudan was supported by his playmates: the son of Makhujag of Gurk’li, Bega, the son of Grigol of Surami – the eristavi of Kartli, and the amirejib Beshken.

The group of the other contender’s advocates included Sargis of Tmogvi, ‘an experienced man, a philosopher and rhetorician’, Aghbugha, the son of Varam of Gaga, and the son of Shanshe, Zachariah Mkhargrdzeli.

The author of the 100 Years’ Chronicles writes: “Sargis of Tmogvi firmly opposed Narin David and those who were brought up with him, saying: “It is not proper for a woman’s offspring to sit on the throne, which is a place of the son, an autocratic king – the son of a man.” But they answered: “Though Narin David is a woman’s offspring, the crown-bearing Rusudan was a Queen who had succeeded her brother Giorgi; for this reason Narin David is also a king.”

Although Rusudan was a temporary king, one to reign before David the son of Lasha reached adulthood, some of the dignitaries considered the Queen’s son to possess kingly qualities (which also shows the mercantile interests his playmates should have had). Thus, they prevailed and had the Mongols recognize Narin as the ‘king junior’.

Georgian principles of royal legitimacy are expressly evident in Sargis’ words. On the other hand, that Rusudan was also a king was a solid argument. Moreover, her son was the first to arrive at the Horde when the son of Lasha was still considered dead and the Mongols, who had given an oath to Rusudan, were unwilling to slight him with their actions.

For this reason, the Mongols recognized both Davids, stating, however, that “…the priority in honor and superiority was to the son of lasha, for the reason of his being the son of Lasha as well as his seniority.” Hence the names: David Ulu, the son of Lasha (the Senior) and David Narin the son of Rusudan (the Junior).

The Chronicles also bring up another point of view, according to which Narin was not given the kingdom but fled and became a king in Western Georgia. However, the historian immediately adds he himself does not believe it.

It i

s noteworthy that David Narin, who, as we read, possessed wonderful personal qualities, was also a very good king.

Unfortunately, his lineage broke off after as few as three generations, which must also have been the will and work of God.

From this point forward, neither the united kingdom of Georgia, nor those of Kartli, Kakheti, Kartl-Kakheti or Imereti have witnessed a woman on their thrones. Nor has the lineage passed forward through a woman, be it a mother or grandmother. And this is especially true for the Bagrationis.

Furthermore, it was legal for an illegitimate son of a king or heir apparent to succeed to the crown, even when he had a legitimate half-sister. This was the case with King Aleksandre the Fourth of Imereti. Illegitimately born, he had two legitimate half-sisters, but he was the one who ascended the throne.

Legitimacy of the Georgian monarchy is based on the Testament of God, while that of European monarchies is not. European laws have been set forth by humans. It does not matter for Europeans what lineage their king represents as their dynasties do not take start from the line of David and neither are their countries a new Israel.

There is an old testament to the people who recognized the truth, the people believing in one God, the God’s chosen people of Israel. And there is a new testament to the knowers of  the truth, those distinguished by God, a new Israel, Christians. And Georgians are surely a people who do deserve the title of New Israelites among all other Christians.

And there is also a testament to the descendants of David: 

19I have laid help upon one that is mighty; I have exalted one chosen out of the people. 20 I have found David My servant; with My holy oil have I anointed him. 21 With him My hand shall be established; Mine arm shall also strengthen him. 22 The enemy shall not exact from him, nor the son of wickedness afflict him. 23 And I will beat down his foes before his face, and plague them that hate him. 24 But My faithfulness and My mercy shall be with him, and in My name shall his horn be exalted. 25 I will set his hand also over the sea, and his right hand over the rivers. 26 He shall cry unto Me, ‘Thou art my Father, my God, and the rock of my salvation.’ 27 Also I will make him My firstborn, higher than the kings of the earth. 28 My mercy will I keep for him for evermore, and My covenant shall stand fast with him. 29 His Seed also will I make to endure for ever, and his throne as the days of heaven. 30 If his children forsake My law and walk not in My judgments, 31 if they break My statutes and keep not My commandments, 32 then will I visit their transgression with the rod and their iniquity with stripes. 33 Nevertheless My loving kindness will I not utterly take from him, nor permit My faithfulness to fail. 34 My covenant will I not break, nor alter the things which have gone out of My lips. 35 Once have I sworn by My holiness that I will not lie unto David. 36 His Seed shall endure for ever, and his throne as the sun before Me.” (Psalm 89, 19-36)

What Psalm 89 tells us is that a covenant is given to David by God that his seed and throne will endure forever, a statement found elsewhere in other psalms too. Therefore, David’s seed or, in other words, his progeny (seed usually refers to his male descendants) will reign to the end of this world. If they forget God’s word, they will be punished, but Lord will not forget his covenant. And, if they keep just and walk the way of God, they will be blessed.

It is as obligatory for the chosen people of the Testament (both Old and New) to hold on to God’s law, as it is unavoidable for the chosen line of the Testament (kings of Old and New Testaments) to stay blessed with God’s justice and hence, legitimate.

No person can change the legitimacy set forth by the covenant of God. This is something neither Queen Tamar’s nobles, nor George the Rus, nor Queen Rusudan could succeed at. This must truly be the God’s will.

 


მამული, ენა, სარწმუნოება

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114 აგვისტოს აღინიშნება შემოყვანება პატიოსანთა ძელთა ცხოველმყოფელისა ჯვარისა უფლისა. 1897 წლის ბერძნული ჟამნის ცნობით, კონსტანტინოპოლში უძველესი დროიდან არსებობდა ჩვეულება ქალაქის ქუჩებში უფლის პატიოსანი ჯვრის შემოტარებისა, რისი მიზეზიც იყო აგვისტოს თვეში ადგილობრივ მკვიდრთა შორის სნეულებათა ხშირი გავრცელება.
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31 ივლისს (13 აგვისტოს) მართლმადიდებლური ეკლესია აღნიშნავს წმიდა იოსებ არიმათიელის (I) ხსენების დღეს.
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