Thirty-five thousand Persian soldiers marched toward Georgia in the year 1795. The Georgian king Erekle II (1762-1798) and his two thousand soldiers declared war on the invaders as they were approaching Tbilisi. The Georgians won the first skirmish, but many perished in the fighting. The enemy was shaken and was preparing to flee the battleground, when several traitors reported to Aqa Muhammed Khan that King Erekle had lost nearly his entire army. This betrayal decided the fate of the battle: the one hundred fifty soldiers who remained in the Georgian army barely succeeded in saving the life of King Erekle, who had willed to perish on the battlefield with his soldiers.
All of Tbilisi was engulfed in flames. The plunderers murdered the people, set fire to the libraries, destroyed the print shop, and vandalized the churches and the king’s palace. They slaughtered the clergy in an especially cruel manner.
Unfortunately, history has not preserved the names of all those martyrs who perished in this tragedy, but we do know that a certain Metropolitan Dositheus of Tbilisi was killed because he would not abandon his flock. While the invaders simply killed most of the clergymen, from Saint Dositheus they demanded a renunciation of the Christian Faith. They commanded him to defile the True and Life-giving Cross of our Lord. But the holy hieromartyr Dositheus endured the greatest torments without yielding to the enemy, and he joyfully accepted death for Christ’s sake. The invaders slaughtered Christ’s devoted servant with their swords.
Saint Dositheus was martyred on September 12 in the year 1795.