As I have already told you, Assyrian fathers came to Georgia in the 6th century in order to spread and strengthen Christianity among people. You already know that father David was one of the Assyrian fathers, who lived on Mtatsminda Mountain in the beginning. However, after non-believers accused him of impregnating a woman, he moved to the desert with his pupils – Dodo and Lukyane. At first, they lived in the cave. Later they founded the monastery on this place.
David Gareja is one of the cave towns in Georgia, which is located on the territory of Kakheti Region. The first monastery is called David Gareja Monastery Complex. At the same time, his pupils Dodo and Lukyane also founded the other monasteries nearby.
According to the legend, anybody, who wanted to live and work in this monastery, had to pass a very difficult exam. He would be given a very strong axe and this person had to cut out the cave in the cliff and live separately for 2 years. One, who was strong enough to live in such difficult conditions and keep praying all the time, could consider himself as a member of the main monastery. However, those monks who overcame this challenge, they have stayed in their places and founded their own monasteries.
Nowadays, there has been discovered 19 monasteries in the desert, from which 4 is located on the territory of Azerbaijan.
The church, which stands here, is built in the 9th century. Here are buried father David and both of his disciples. There is a small stone on the grave of Saint David. The original one is kept in Sioni Cathedral in Tbilisi.
There is a very interesting story related to this stone: Once Father David decided to travel to Jerusalem to pray there on the saint places. However, when he approached the entrance of the city, he did not count himself worth for entering there. That’s why he just took three stones and returned back.
That night the Bishop of Jerusalem saw an angel in his dream, who told him that one saint father came to Jerusalem from Georgia and he is taking the whole holiness of Jerusalem with him. The Bishop followed after Father David and asked him to return back two stones. That’s why Saint David took only one stone with himself and left two of them in Jerusalem as the Bishop asked him.
Because of this story, we believe that in Georgia there is 1/3 of holiness of Jerusalem. Many miracles are connected with this stone and people also say that, if you visit David Gareja Monastery Complex three times in your life, it will be the same grace as to go to Jerusalem and pray there once.