To begin with, I’ll tell you few words about Saint Nina. Thanks to her, almost (!) final implementation of Christianity in Georgia had happened. The Georgian Orthodox Church considers this woman to be Equal-to-the-Apostles. However, it is worth mentioning that paganism took place even after Nina, so Christians had to make an effort to eradicate paganism from the country.
Icon depicting Saint Nina
Well … First of all, I offer not to start debate about paganism and Christianity. So if you want to argue about it, I can tell you that I am not adhere to any particular confession of faith, I am only a historian and my task is to tell about the facts as close as possible according to the “ancient manuscripts”.
Well, once there used to be «13 Syriac fathers.» They were saint fathers from Syria. One of them, ascetic John of Zedazeni had a vision, in which the Virgin ordered to go to the Iberian with 12 men and spread Christianity there.
To be honest, when I studied in university, the information about the appearance of an angel of God, who notified the living one about the long-awaited visit of another, was confusing for me. Apparently, it is all because of unexplored phenomenon as a «Christian intuition.» But somehow, Evlavy (catholic of Mtskheta) in Iberia was aware of the coming of 13 fathers.
He met them at the entrance to the church (I will explain once more: thanks to St Nina, in Iberia there were Christian churches and the ancient inhabitants of Iberia had already known the word «Christianity» and they even nominally believed, however, there still were a number of pagan traditions, superstitions and sacrifices on this land). 13 Syriac fathers were barefoot and in sackcloth, but they spoke to Evlavy in Georgian language. Also it is worth mentioning, that Evlavy before their arrival learned Syriac (even during those times diplomacy in Georgia was at a high level :).
In general, the saint fathers came to the agreement. John chose Mtskheta as the place of their permanent dislocation. He ordered his disciples to go round the whole Iberian and convert to Christianity as many people as possible. Also he told them to sanctify the sources to make the water holy; to gather people; to build monasteries; to withdraw and destroy pagan idols.
Parsman, the king of Iberia, was on the side of the preachers and even provided them with means.
The apostles went around the whole Georgia and even were at the North Caucasus. They built a lot of monasteries, converted people to Christianity; destroyed the hideous custom to sacrifice babies to gods. Many of them settled in different places of Iberia and began to train future priests by teaching fundamentals of Christianity and Greek language.
It happened in the 6th century AD, 400 years before the Christening of Russia. Since then the Georgian / Iberian Orthodox Church is the oldest in Europe, and all the waters of natural origin, including rivers, lakes, mineral springs of Georgia and Borjomi have become saint 🙂
Keep it in mind when you are making another sip of mineral water in the morning 🙂