January 2012- St. Grigol of Georgia
That same year, his country was occupied by Soviet Russia and Grigol went to continue his studies in Germany. He received his PhD in History in 1927 from the University of Bonn and served there as an Associate Professor of History from 1927 to 1932. He quickly become known as an expert on Georgian history and culture. In 1931, he was tonsured as a monk, and then a priest.
Fr. Grigol founded the Church of St. Nino in Paris while lecturing at the Sorbonne. He began a Georgian language journal and published a Georgian scientific review. In 1933 he was appointed Professor of Patristics and Church History at the Faculty of Orthodox Theology of the Warsaw University in Poland. Fr. Grigol discovered numerous important manuscripts of Georgian Christian history in Romania, Bulgaria, Greece, Italy, Germany, and Austria.
The invasion of Poland by German troops in 1939 made Fr. Grigol’s position precarious. He demonstrated solidarity with the Jews who were being persecuted and he helped them however he could. He did not hesitate to visit the imprisoned Polish Metropolitan Dionysios. These activities were viewed with suspicion by the Nazi occupiers and Fr. Grigol’s ecclesiastic and scientific activities were brought to an end in 1942 when he was arrested by the Gestapo and sent to Auschwitz.
In Auschwitz he befriended a Jewish prisoner who had a large family. The man was suspected of killing a guard and the Nazis made the entire barracks strip before herding them out into the snow until someone would confess to the killing. Fr. Grigol stepped forward and took the blame, in order to save his friends life. The Nazis set their dogs on him, then doused him in gasoline and set him on fire. Grigol Peradze was canonized by the Georgian Orthodox Church in 1995. St. Grigol pray for us.
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